Last month’s column was about white Christian nationalist’s impact on national politics. Their numbers in Congress have steadily increased since Barack Obama was first elected president. According to the Freedom from Religion Foundation, “More than a quarter of the members of Congress taking shelter for their lives while a seditious mob rampaged through the heart of our democracy ended up siding with the insurrectionists to try to deny Joe Biden his lawfully won presidency.”

The members of Congress who voted not to certify the results of the most secure national election in the nation’s history were voting to disrupt and destabilize America’s democratic process. Eight senators who voted not to certify the election results are white Christian nationalists who place a greater fidelity to their religious beliefs than their oath to protect the Constitution. The public statements of the two senators below reveal their rejection of the nation’s secular Constitution and reflect the views of most Christian nationalists in Congress.

While speaking to students at Liberty University, a Christian university founded by Jerry Falwell (a founder of the Moral Majority), Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, claimed the rights we enjoy in this country come from his God. With this statement, Cruz shows his total disrespect for those who fought and died not only to have those rights but to defend them. Remember, freedom is not free. Apparently, Cruz believes by committing our lives to his God, we will have and keep all the rights we have today.

Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, is one of the most overtly white Christian nationalist members of Congress. At a “Pastors and Pews” event in Kansas City, Missouri, Hawley proclaimed allegiance to his God supersedes his oath to defend the Constitution. Unfortunately, what Hawley said is too long, convoluted, and bizarre to quote in its entirety. In essence, Hawley noted: Jesus Christ is the only God who has risen, is seated on the throne, and is Lord over all. As believers, we are charged to take the lordship of Christ into the public realm to transform our society to reflect the gospel truth of Jesus Christ.

Racism is at the core of white Christian nationalism. The white supremacist’s strategy is to gerrymander a minority of Black voters into predominately white districts to nullify the Black vote. In Rucho v. Common Cause (2019), the (then) five conservative Christian nationalists on the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gerrymandering for political reasons was beyond their reach, even if the Black vote wouldn’t be counted in any meaningful way.

As historian Heather Cox Richardson wrote, Steve Bannon, President Trump’s one-time chief of staff, told Politico last year that enflaming racism was how Republicans would take back Congress: “I see 50 (House Republican) seats in 2022. Keep this up (and) I think you’re going to see a lot more emphasis from Trump on Critical Race Theory and (from) DeSantis and others. People who are serious in 2024 and beyond are going to focus on it.” Richardson commented: “For those determined to regain power, disruption and destabilization are the order of the day.”

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However, most Christians are not white, racist, Christian nationalists. Far from it. On the contrary, most people who identify as Christian follow Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, where he proclaimed the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

One opposition group is Christians Against Christian Nationalism. Their position is, “As Christians, our faith teaches us everyone is created in God’s image and commands us to love one another. As Americans, we value our system of government and the good that can be accomplished in our constitutional democracy. Today, we are concerned about a persistent threat to both our religious communities and our democracy — Christian nationalism.”

Three Christians Against Christian Nationalism statements of belief that I, as an Atheist, identify with are: “People of all faiths and none have the right and responsibility to engage constructively in the public square,” “One’s religious affiliation, or lack thereof, should be irrelevant to one’s standing in the civic community,” and “Government should not prefer one religion over another or religion over nonreligion.”

I encourage people of all faiths and none to take the responsibility of opposing Christian nationalism wherever it raises its ugly head.

Tom Waddell is president of the Maine Chapter of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. He welcomes comments at [email protected] and ffrfmaine.org.


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