Christianity on Steroids

Christianity on Steroids

I have been reading a great deal lately about something called Christian Nationalism. None of its commentators seem to know how to explain or describe it. It seems almost to be a hydra-headed concept. To start with, America was founded by many people who called themselves Christians and other religious groups, such as William Penn’s Quakers who founded the eponymous Pennsylvania, which opened its borders to all faiths, including Jews. Unwelcome in most places, Catholics had their own state in Maryland, the home of America’s first notable Catholics, the Charles Carrol family.

But as America continued to develop, two distinct religious forces started to emerge. I am talking about the WASPs, an acronym for White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, people mostly from Great Britain. Their base was the upper Atlantic coastal region. The other power structure controlled the Southern states and they were various forms of Baptists, Methodists and other spin-off versions.

The overt Christian character of religion in the U.S. started to substantially change in the 19th century with the rise of Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, whose followers sought to eliminate God as the Creator of the universe. As Christianity slowly lost its grip on the country’s religious imagination, Progressivism, which has evolved into a godless humanistic kind of religious faith, established a beachhead.

Over the course of the last century, Progressivism’s legions have invaded every viable institution in this country. This has all morphed into a near-complete change of American culture that has undermined human rights and religious liberty. We now endure a biased judicial system, which has created extra-constitutional moral laws of its own. 

Time Magazine chimed in on this subject last year with an article, entitled,The Roots of Christian Nationalism Go Back Further than You Think, written by Robert B. Jones, a specialist in white supremacy. He wasted no time in drawing a nefarious connection between white Christian nationalism, Trumpism and Make America Great Again. Pulling no punches, he called this amalgamation, a toxic blend of ethno-religious identity politics…reflected in the religious symbols participants carried at the U. S. Capitol insurrection on January 6th.            

He lays the roots of this at the foot of Christopher Columbus, calling his voyage of discovery, one of the most fateful but unacknowledged theological developments in the history of  the western Christian Church. He makes Columbus’ discovery of America sound like a sinister plot to warp the indigenous peoples of the world.

Then just what isThe Christian Nation? According to Wikipedia, Christian nationalism is a type of religious belief that is affiliated with Christianity. This is essentially a tautology that underscores the amorphous quality of a nearly meaningless term. A robust love of country or any kind of patriotism isn’t Christian nationalism. The term seems to have been overused and has really never been defined with any clarity. Countries as diverse as Russia, Canada, Scotland and South Africa have at one time declared themselves to believe in Christian Nationalism. 

No country better underscores how complex this idea is better than the United States. The Christian Liberty Party and the American Redoubt Movement, which were both organized and inspired by members of the Constitution Party, are late 20th century examples of political tendencies, which are rooted in Christian Nationalism. 

I remember the Constitution Party which held its National Convention in St. Louis a year before the 2000 election. It produced a presidential ticket that included Howard Phillips and Joseph Sobran as its candidates. Phillips was the Party’s founder and Sobran was a brilliant columnist, who Bill Buckley had fired years before from the National Review. Phillips was Jewish and Sobran, a devout Catholic. Joe was a friend and my favorite Catholic writer who wrote for the Wanderer until his death in 2010. I was an at-large delegate who attended the Convention, which lacked the usual canned excitement and hoopla of our major party conventions. 

I do not remember any special emphasis on anything that could be remotely called Christian nationalism, a term that is relatively new to me. But I do remember like all third parties, their goal was to replace one of the majors, which is usually the Republican Party.

Today, most Christian nationalists belong to the aforementioned Republican Party and are generally Evangelicals, to whom former President Donald Trump has had a tremendous appeal, despite his moral failings and legal problems. Some of the more prominent supporters from this group include congresswomen, Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene. Both these women and several other members of this group have been gratuitously attacked by members of the Left for their so-called radical religious and political views.

Former presidential candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has received fierce criticism for his appeal to this group. They have attacked him because in Florida he has promoted a civics curriculum that states that not all the founding fathers were for a strict separation of church and state. The Governor also favors the original interpretation of the Constitution, held by esteemed justices, such as the late Antonin Scalia and many other conservatives. The evolving Constitution, introduced by the infamous Warren Court in the seventies, has resulted in a de facto violation of the separation of powers, which we have seen play out in our daily newspapers for several years. 

Writing for USA Today, Daniel Darling opined, Christian nationalism is more nuanced than you might think, emphasizing his fears of Christian nationalists (who) have spawned a burgeoning subgenre of books, conferences and journal articles. He also cited a new documentary, God and Country, which was recently released and produced by Hollywood mogul and die-hard liberal, Rob Reiner who warns in ominous tones about the nationalists lurking around every corner.

I also cite another supporting point of view from the mainstream media, a February 26th op-ed piece in the New York TimesWhat is Christian Nationalism? This piece, written by David French, starts by excluding what Christian nationalism is not. He distinguishes the situation where one’s values and I would say virtues, have been shaped by Christian teachings. He says many changes in our history, such as the civil rights movement have been essentially generated and sustained by Christian principles.

He contrasts this with the thinking of many who believe Christian values should have a primacy in politics and law. This idea can manifest itself through ideology, identity and emotions. He believes that if they were ever to take hold it would both upend our constitution and fracture our society. He also quotes sociologists Samuel Perry and Andrew Whitehead who define this idea as a cultural framework that blurs the distinction between Christian identity and American identity, viewing the two as closely related and seeking to enhance and preserve the nation.

French then moves on to something called the National Conservatism: A Statement of Principles, published by a coalition of right-wing writers in 2022. He cites one particular statement.Where a Christian majority exists, public life should be rooted in Christianity and its moral vision, which should be honored by the state and other institutions, both public and private.

He cautions that this is contrary to the First Amendment and would compel a deference to Christianity on both religious minorities and the nonreligious. He adds that Christian nationalism isn’t just rooted in ideology but also…in identity, the belief that Christians should rule. This is the heart of the Seven Mountain Mandate, a dominionistic movement energizing from American Pentecostalism, which he calls Christian identity on steroids.  

To demonize this thinking and prove how radical this group is, he cites Donald Trump’s chief spiritual adviser Paula White and Tom Parker, the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who wrote a concurring opinion on its recent I.V.F. decision, which I believe rightfully declared fertilized ova as being human beings. This exposes what he really thinks and maybe fears. Then French plays his ace in the hole. If re-elected, Trump, who is not a devotee just might fill his key posts with such extremists

Daniel Darling did mention the work of Patrick Deneen, author of such books as   Liberalism Failed and Regime Change. Deneen is part of a group of Catholic thinkers who espouse what is commonly called Catholic integralism. If anything it is a necessary step to rescue America from choking to death on the foul ideas that have undermined our basic Constitutional system that had worked, until the radical Left, led by the Clintons, and Barack Obama and his political stooges such as the current president.  

The truth is that Christian nationalism is many things to many people. It is not a dark conspiracy to remake America into a Theocracy. Personally, I do not think it is a viable idea. This country will never move away from its separation of church and state. But what the Christian nationalists can really accomplish is to move the line of separation back to the middle of the road, which the founders had established, because right now Big Government and the Left have attempted to eliminate moral values, most of which have come from the Bible and other Christian teachings that had been embedded in our rule of law. 

I think Christian nationalism can also be construed as some sort of unified attempt to counter the drift to a purely Marxist faith and an eventual autocratic government that makes C. S. Lewis a prophet for his predictions that the Left was working tirelessly to completely eliminate the Christian faith from the public marketplace. Many others, such as Baptist scholar, Andrew Walker, underscore this when he challenged the Left to convince me that your skepticism about Christian nationalism isn’t just a cover for wanting Christians out of politics and out of power.

This lends credence to the belief that the term is being used to try to discredit the movement to stop the Woke philosophy which has nearly destroyed the institution of marriage and caused gender confusion to the point that a Supreme Court justice nominee could not define what a woman was. It is a last-ditch attempt to return normalcy, sanity and common sense to a culture that has drifted into a slough of confusion and corruption.

If ever this country was a purely Christian nation and that view is entirely debatable, the argument can easily be made that America in the 21st century is a Marxist society, where materialism and atheism hold a dominant control over our basic cultural institutions, including many churches, federal and local governments, schools and media outlets. 

The controlling forces have already unleashed their activists to discredit this Christian reaction before it even gets out of its starting blocks. These diehard Christians are already being called Christian Supremacists, linking them withWhite Supremacy. Even their nomenclature sounds familiar,The Christian Nation. Ever hear of the Arian Nation and I do not mean the gangs in prison? One of Hitler’s goals was to establish it as a kind of religious nationalism.  

The critics of any kind of religious influence remind me of a fellow who attended my Bible Study group in St. Louis that resulted in my essay, The Cross and the Flag, which appeared on this site just after 9/11. I had worn a pin I bought after a Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral while visiting my hometown. He looked at my pin which depicted a small cross and an American flag, leaning on each other at a 45-degree angle and said it made him very nervous.  

I thought the pin was the perfect symbol for what makes this country great. We need a free country but without a strong religious faith, that would virtually be impossible. It was George Washington who first pointed out this perfect mixture in a General Order from his New York Headquarters in 1776, which read in part, The blessings and protections of Heaven are at all times necessary but especially so in times of public distress and anger. He hoped that every officer and man will endeavor so to live, and act as becomes a Christian Soldier defending Rights and Liberties of his country.

This is a view that still rings true today, though the Woke forces would condemn it as religious chauvinism. If Washington could revisit New York today, he would shutter at how decadent it has become. I think this is true of most of our major cities.  

It would also be instructive to revisit the reports of Bill Maher’s scolding of the middle class for whining about the Biden economy to illustrate just how far our cooperation between church and state has fallen. He said that the distress is all in our heads. His proof of just how good we have it, was to cite the facts that you can see pictures of naked women whenever you want…a nice-sized TV costs 60 bucks…we got next day shipping, stuffed-crust pizza, legal weed, GPS and porn on the phone…

So to imply that Christianity is on steroids and that Christian nationalism is any threat to a trashed culture is like beating a horse that is already in chains. If anyone acts as if he were on steroids, it is people like Bill Maher, a true Sybarite Supremacist.

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Written by
William Borst