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Christian Nationalism: Examining the Demonization

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton
The Truth Network Radio
February 12, 2021 7:00 pm

Christian Nationalism: Examining the Demonization

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton

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February 12, 2021 7:00 pm

Because some held Christian flags and crosses at the Trump rally in Washington D.C. on January 6 and because a melee at the U.S. Capitol ensued, the conclusion now pushed by the mainstream media and politicians and religious leaders on the left is that “Christian Nationalists” are homegrown terrorists threatening our democracy.

But what exactly is Christian Nationalism? It’s being used as a catch-all pejorative—a word expressing contempt—for those who breached the Capitol, but by extension, any and all Christians—including evangelicals—who want biblical values integrated into civil life and polity.

The reasoning goes, “You’re a Christian, you voted for Trump, Trump is a white supremacist who made baseless claims of election fraud and incited an insurrection which threatened our democracy; thus, you are a Christian Nationalist supporting white supremacy, sedition, and election denialism. You are dangerous to democracy and need to be marginalized, monitored, and suppressed. You are the enemy of the state and the people.”...

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Christian nationalism examining the demonization. That is the topic we'll discuss today right here on the Christian Worldview radio program where the mission is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

I'm David Wheaton, the host, and our website is thechristianworldview.org. Well, thank you for joining us today on the program as we talk about Christian nationalism. Now, because some people held Christian flags and crosses at the Trump rally in Washington, D.C. on January 6th, and because a melee at the U.S. Capitol ensued, the conclusion now pushed by the mainstream media and politicians and religious leaders on the left is that, quote, Christian nationalists are homegrown terrorists threatening our democracy. But what exactly is Christian nationalism? It's being used as this catch-all pejorative, a word expressing contempt, for those who breach the Capitol, but by extension, beyond that, any and all Christians, including evangelicals especially, who want biblical values integrated into our civil life in polity in America.

So the reasoning goes like this. You're a Christian. You voted for Trump. Trump is a white supremacist who made baseless claims of election fraud and incited an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, which threatened our democracy. Thus, you are a Christian nationalist supporting white supremacy, sedition, and election denialism. You are dangerous to democracy, and you need to be marginalized, monitored, and suppressed.

You are the enemy of the state and the people. That's how they see it. Now, even professing Christians are piling on. Tish Harrison Warren wrote in Christianity Today, quote, the responsibility of yesterday's – this is back on January 7th, she wrote this – the response of yesterday's violence must be in part laid at the feet of those evangelical leaders who ushered in and applauded Trump's presidency. It can also sadly be laid at the feet of the white American church more broadly, unquote.

Did you get that quote? Greg Frazier today, professor of political studies at the Masters University and author of the book The Religious Beliefs of America's Leaders, joins us to explain Christian nationalism and to what degree the American founders of this country envisioned biblical values to be integrated into public policy. And then the interesting question of, well, how will Jesus Christ reign someday?

Will he be a Christian nationalist integrating biblical values into the kingdom he reigns over? That all coming up on the program. But before we get to those topics, I think it's important to understand the basis, the pivotal event for why this is all being brought up now and being pushed so much. It really goes back to, obviously, the Trump presidency, how much the left absolutely hated him and his viewpoints. But also, it really specifically goes to what took place on January 6th at the US Capitol with the melee and riot that took place that particular day. That event is being used as a pretext for the marginalization, the accusations that Christian nationalists are the biggest threat we have in our democracy today. And so recently, Tucker Carlson, the host on Fox News every evening at 7pm Central Time, went over the Capitol riot and what actually took place there, and even went into the fact that how the George Floyd death last summer here in the Twin Cities in Minneapolis has been used, again, as a pretext for advancing leftist causes and how so many false claims and lies have been integrated into these narratives that are being brought out. So this is a longer soundbite, but I think it's really important to understand with regard to these accusations of Christian nationalism as being the biggest threat to our democracy, because it's all based on what took place in that Capitol riot on January 6th, along with the allegations of election fraud that Donald Trump was speaking about that day. Here's Tucker Carlson. On January 6th, supporters of Donald Trump swarmed the Capitol building.

Some forced their way inside. And Washington has never been the same. It may never be the same. As a result of what happened on January 6th, your descendants will live in a very different country. It was a pivot point in our history looking back. Some in Congress have compared that day to 9-11. The Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has likened it to Pearl Harbor, the day that spurred America's entry into the second world war.

Every day we hear new and more florid comparisons from Democratic partisans. But last night, CNN outdid all of them. Chernobyl? The Bhopal disaster? The Irish potato famine?

No. What happened on January 6 was worse than any of that. It was, CNN told us, very much like the Rwandan genocide. The idea of otherizing people is something I think we saw a lot of over the last four years.

I mean, we've seen a lot over the last decades, but it's so easy to otherize people, to make people other than American, other than patriotic, other than human. And we've seen it in Bosnia. We've seen it in Rwanda, where radio was telling people that, you know, who were telling the radio listeners that Tutsi were cockroaches for, you know, getting them ginned up for genocide. The Rwandan genocide, that's what it was like. Keep in mind that close to a million people were murdered in Rwanda in 1994.

That's about 70 percent of all ethnic Tutsis in the country. Entire towns were hacked to death with machetes. They were set on fire, crushed alive by bulldozers. Hundreds of thousands of women were raped.

It was one of the most horrifying crimes in human history. OK, so there's the opening to his monologue that night saying how this January 6th riot during the time President Trump was making his allegations of voting fraud. This was, he said, a pivot point in American history. And you think, well, wait, now this this riot at the Capitol really wasn't much of a riot. Yes, a few people died.

And he's going to get into that in a second. The story's behind them. But the Capitol wasn't burned down. People dissipated the same day. This wasn't a takeover of government.

How did it get to the point of being compared to the most momentous, dangerous events in U.S. history? How does a country recover from something like that, from a genocide? Well, first, obviously, you punish the guilty quickly and severely. In our case, you impeach him.

But then and this is more important, you said about reordering your society from top to bottom to make certain nothing like that ever happens again. So you purge the military. You suspend basic civil liberties. To emphasize the point, you send troops to the Capitol. You tear down the old. You destroy all vestiges of the past in order to save the future. That's what's going on now. That is what's exactly what taking place now. All the purging on social media platforms.

If you don't if you post something that's not consistent with the group think of today, you are just taken off those platforms. I mean, the amount of free speech in this country, the freedom to speak has been completely diminished, taken down since this Capitol riot on January 6th, because, again, they believe that that was a fundamental threat to the existence of America, what took place. Now, they may not believe it, but they're going to use it to try to gain and control more power in this country. Tucker continues.

But hold on. Before we remake America to prevent future genocide at the Capitol, maybe we should know a little bit more about the crime that occurred on January 6th, if only to understand the justification for overturning our lives permanently. What exactly did happen that day?

Simple question. You may be surprised to learn how little we know even now. In fact, it's remarkable how many of the most basic questions remain unanswered more than a month after the fact. Let's start with the headline of the day. Five Americans died on the Capitol grounds on January 6th. You've heard that, you hear it incessantly, including from Republican office holders, five dead. But that doesn't really tell you very much.

It's the details, as always, that matter. Who were these people and how did they die? That's how you understand what actually happened.

So with that in mind, here are the facts as of tonight. Four of the five who died that day were Trump supporters. The fifth was a Capitol Hill police officer who apparently also supported Donald Trump. Why is this relevant? Of course, the political views of the deceased shouldn't matter.

But unfortunately, in this case, they do. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and many other elected Democrats claim the mob was coming for them that day. Yet the only recorded casualties on January 6th were people who voted for Donald Trump. OK, now here's where it gets interesting about who actually died and how they died.

Very different than what we've been told by the media, who is trying to turn it into the next catastrophe, murderous riotous insurrection, sedition in history of the world. Yet the only recorded casualties on January 6th were people who voted for Donald Trump. The first among them was the 34 year old woman from Georgia called Rosanne Boyland. Authorities first announced that Boyland died of a, quote, medical emergency. Later video footage suggested she may have accidentally been trampled by the crowd. We're still not sure.

That's the best guess. The second casualty was 55 year old Kevin Greeson. Greeson died of heart failure while talking to his wife on a cell phone outside the Capitol. Quote, Kevin had a history of high blood pressure, his wife later said.

And in the midst of the excitement, he suffered a heart attack, end quote. The third was 50 year old Benjamin Phillips of Ringtown, Pennsylvania. Phillips was a Trump supporter who organized a bus trip to Washington for the rally that day. He died of a stroke on the grounds of the Capitol.

There is no evidence that Phillips rioted or was injured by rioters or even went inside the Capitol building. The force fourth person to die, the only person to die that day of intentional violence was 35 year old Ashley Babbitt, a military veteran from San Diego. Babbitt was wearing a Trump cape when she was shot to death by a Capitol Hill police lieutenant. Babbitt's death was caught on video, so hers is the best documented death that took place that day. And yet it is surprising how little we know about it.

Babbitt was shot as she tried to crawl through a broken window into the speaker's lobby within the Capitol. And that's essentially the extent of what we know. Authorities have refused to release the name of the man who shot her or divulge any details of the investigation they say they've done. We may never know exactly why this unnamed Capitol Hill police officer took her life. According to that officer's attorney, quote, there is no way to look at the evidence and think that he is anything but a hero. Of course, we can't actually look at that evidence because they're withholding it. We can't even know his identity. Killing an unarmed woman may be justified under certain specific circumstances.

But since when is it, quote, heroic when the dead woman has read QAnon websites? Republicans aren't asking that question. One Republican member of Congress from Oklahoma says he immediately hugged the officer who shot Ashley Babbitt.

You did what you had to do, the congressman said. But did the officer really have to do that? We don't know. It would be nice to know.

Maybe someone could ask. We do know that Ashley Babbitt was not holding a weapon when she was killed. Nevertheless, at the impeachment hearing this week, Congressman David Cicelyne of Rhode Island described what happened at the Capitol as, quote, an armed insurrection.

Watch. He incited an armed, angry mob to riot and inciting an armed insurrection against the United States government, an armed, angry and dangerous crowd, armed violence against the government of the United States of America. David Cicelyne is a former mafia lawyer from Providence, so presumably he knows what it is to commit a felony with a firearm.

Doubtless he does. There are no reports of rioters at the Capitol building that day discharging weapons or threatening anyone with a gun. Let me just break in here to say, yeah, what a great insurrection this was that no one had held any spaces of government with arms or tried to take over government. But again, that doesn't matter. You just lie about it. You make that event sound like it was we were on the precipice of losing our country and being taken over by whoever breached the Capitol that day.

We continue with Tucker. So what exactly is David Cicelyne talking about? Well, apparently he's referring to the death of Officer Brian Sicknick in the hours after the riot. The New York Times reported that Trump supporters had brutally beaten Officer Sicknick to death with a fire extinguisher.

The fire extinguisher apparently is the deadly weapon, the armed in the armed insurrection. OK, now I'm going to jump in here again, because this was so widely reported that this police officer had been murdered by these breaches, these rioters smashing his head with a fire extinguisher. I think we actually even reported that here on the Christian worldview because it was so widespread. It was just the accepted narrative. Well, the truth turns out to be very different than that. Now the news of Sicknick's death by violence was quickly picked up by countless other media outlets.

Cable television anchors repeated and then amplified it. Officer Brian Sicknick died after being hit in the head with a fire extinguisher during the hours long attack. They beat a Capitol police officer to death with a fire extinguisher. Officer Brian Sicknick died after being hit in the head with a fire extinguisher during the fight. He died at the age of 42 after he was bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher. Capitol Hill police officer beaten to death with a fire extinguisher by a white supremacist mob.

It's horrifying. And that is the story they were telling. It's a story they still are telling. That account forms the basis of the myth that Democrats have constructed around January 6th.

But in fact, the story they told was a lie from beginning to end. Officer Sicknick was not beaten to death, not with a fire extinguisher, not with anything else. According to an exhaustive and fascinating new analysis on revolver news, there is no evidence that Brian Sicknick was hit with a fire extinguisher at any point during the day.

None. No video, nothing. The officer's body apparently bore no signs of trauma. In fact, on the night of January 6th, long after rioters at the Capitol had been arrested or dispersed, Brian Sicknick texted his brother from his office. According to his brother, Sicknick said he'd been, quote, pepper sprayed twice and he was in good shape. 24 hours later, Officer Brian Sicknick was dead. How did Officer Sicknick die?

The head of the Capitol Police Union has said he had a stroke. No cause given. More than that, we still don't know. Sicknick's body was cremated immediately. Authorities have refused to release his autopsy. No one has been charged in his death.

No charges are pending. Whatever happened to Brian Sicknick was tragic, obviously, but it was also very different from what they have told us. They have lied about how we died. If you asked the regular person on the street how that police officer died, the narrative has been so firmly entrenched now that these breaches, these rioters beat him over the head with a fire extinguisher.

But of course, that is not true. And again, the reason we're playing this extended soundbite from Tucker Carlson's program is because the Capitol riot is made out to be the most dangerous momentous event in American history in the last, let's say, 50 years, comparing it to all these other huge events, Pearl Harbor, 9-11, and so forth. And also the claims that the election was fraudulent. All this is being used to say, well, who are the people doing this? Trump supporters, Trump's a white supremacist, Trump questioned the election, those who support him are white supremacists, they're election deniers, they rioted, they almost took over our democracy and therefore they need to be strongly tamped down and pushed to the margins of society or exterminated.

Back to Tucker's monologue. They've lied about a lot. For example, how did this riot start? Was it a spontaneous event incited by a reckless president on his way out in a fit of vicious peak? That's one version of the story. Or was the riot long planned? Was it a conspiracy? That's another version of the story.

Both cannot be true. That's important because Trump is being accused of inciting the riot. Well, if it was already planned beforehand, obviously what he said on that day didn't incite it. This weekend, the former chief of the Capitol Hill Police, Stephen Sund, claimed in a letter to Nancy Pelosi that there was no intelligence suggesting that a riot might be imminent at the Capitol. Apparently, The Washington Post has better sources than Chief Sund does. Days after January 6th, the newspaper reported that it was well known that a group of Trump supporters was headed to the city to cause trouble. The FBI almost certainly knew this. The feds likely had paid informers in the ranks of protesters. So if the authorities knew that violence might be coming to the Capitol, where was the necessary security?

It wasn't there. In some publicly available videos, Capitol Hill Police seem to be all but inviting rioters into the building. So what does all of this mean exactly? We're not sure what it means and we're not going to speculate. We do know for certain that the known facts of what happened on January 6th deviate in very important ways from the story they are now telling us, including the story they told us today in the impeachment hearings. And in many places, the known facts bear no resemblance to the story they're telling. They're just flat out lying. There's no question about that. Question is, why would they lie about this? That's a very good question.

And we'll get back to Tucker's answer to that question in just a minute. Great for those who don't have time to listen to the full 54-minute broadcast. Short takes can be heard at our website, podcast feed, and our social media pages on Facebook and YouTube. For more updates, program previews, and resources, be sure to sign up for our free weekly email by visiting thechristianworldview.org.

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You can also order by calling toll-free 1-888-646-2233. That's 1-888-646-2233 or visit thechristianworldview.org. Welcome back to The Christian Worldview.

Be sure to visit our website thechristianworldview.org where you can subscribe to our free weekly email and annual print newsletter, order resources for adults and children, and support the ministry. Now, back to today's program with host David Wheaton. But again, remember, what is going on here is you take the Capitol riot, you blow it way out of proportion, you impugn anyone who had anything to do with Donald Trump supporting him, you marginalize him as being a racist and election denier, and therefore you have this huge group of people who are the enemies of the state, and therefore if they do anything, now you have justification to clamp down on them as hard as possible. Now Tucker gets into the whole situation of the racial unrest last summer with George Floyd. The question is, why would they lie about this?

For an answer, think back to last spring. Beginning of Memorial Day, BLM and their sponsors in corporate America completely changed this country. They changed this country more in five months than it had changed in the previous 50 years.

How'd they do that? They used the sad death of a man called George Floyd to upend our society. Months later, we learned that the story they told us about George Floyd's death was an utter lie. There was no physical evidence that George Floyd was murdered by a cop.

The autopsy showed that George Floyd almost certainly died of a drug overdose, fentanyl. But by that point, facts didn't matter. It was too late. Cities had been destroyed along with the fabric of this country itself. Scores of people had been killed. Democratic partisans used a carefully concocted myth, a lie, to bum rush America into overturning the old order and handing them much more power.

It worked flawlessly. So why wouldn't they do it again? Again, that was Tucker Carlson of Fox News and a monologue he did recently on his program.

And I think it really put things in context for our topic today, because that was the launching point. January 6, the riot, the allegations of election fraud, those things have been the pretext for, well, who did this? Oh, these are Christian nationalists. These are evangelicals, the biggest voting bloc of those who have supported Donald Trump. They're the danger to democracy. They need to be demonized. They're the enemies of the state, not those who are actually trying to implement Marxism and socialism and burn down our country and eliminate our history and tear down statues.

Those people aren't dangerous. It's the Christian nationalists. And so now we're seeing all sorts of columns and press and media coverage coming out about these Christian nationalists. And there was a good example of this written in the Minneapolis Star Tribune recently, entitled Capital Siege Put Spotlight on Christian Nationalist. Okay, I want to read just a few paragraphs from this column because it's going to again, it's going to show how this term Christian nationalists is being stretched and broadened so much, not to maybe just some crazy extreme people who want, you know, to completely take over government and force people to, you know, profess Christ or something. But it's been stretched and broadened to really include anyone who wants to see Christian values, biblical values, integrated into public life. So the article starts up by saying this, Pastor Chick Chikalise stood in front of the altar last month wearing a black t-shirt with the words Democratic Platform.

Number one, murder unborn children, and number two, molest the survivors, Proverbs 24-11, which is deliver those who are being taken away to death, and those who are staggering to slaughter, O hold them back. And then he said, Democrat platform is, he asked the faithful in the pews of Calvary Chapel of St. Paul, Minnesota. Then he proclaimed the message on his shirt, citing the Proverbs verse that obligates believers to rescue those being led away to death or destruction. So began a Bible lesson accompanied by rhetoric reflecting growing stridency among a segment of Christians convinced that the nation's Christian heritage is under siege and must be restored, that the government has overreached its authority, even that the presidential election was stolen. That one paragraph exactly explains who these, quote, Christian nationalists are. Millions of people believe that, that government has overreached its authority, that Christian heritage in America is under siege, even that the presidential election was stolen. Even the t-shirt, I don't know what the man meant about molest the survivors, but murder unborn children of the Democratic Platform.

That's exactly what the Democratic Platform is about. There has been a Holocaust of 60 million plus unborn children murdered in this country intentionally through the unjust and unbiblical law of abortion, continuing with the column in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Often referred to as Christian nationalists, adherents range from those in the pews who simply embrace those beliefs to faith leaders who espouse conspiratorial views amplified by a network of clergy, media, think tanks, and politician.

Again, notice how broad this is. This isn't just maybe some people at the Capitol who rushed to the Capitol that day. No, it's conspiratorial views. There's a conspiracy topic we talked about a few weeks ago, and it's amplified by a network.

Here's the breath of it. Clergy, media, think tanks, and politicians all pushing Christian nationalism. Continuing with the column. Such voices have long been part of the religious landscape. But here's the event, the January 6th attack on the US Capitol, which was stormed by some insurrectionists with banners proclaiming, quote, Jesus saves and Christian flags and crosses has put a new spotlight on the movement and its ramifications. Now, I don't know the statistics, but how many people actually did break the law and storm the Capitol holding flags or banners that said Jesus saves or Christian flags and crosses? Was it one person?

Was it 10? I mean, how many people actually is it? But that is irrelevant to them. If it's just one person, well then the other 70 million that support biblical values in the public square are all implicated in being Christian nationalists. Continues to say, threats by white supremacists in our state continue to be serious, officials say. While not everyone is hardline, quote, these beliefs are accepted by millions of Americans, said Andrew Whitehead, a Purdue University religion researcher and co-author of Taking America Back for God, Christian nationalism in the United States.

Notice the leap here. Christians are not only for biblical values in government, but they're also white supremacists. The Reverend Darryl Nappan in a video blog posted days after militants stormed the Capitol. Militants, now again, the words chosen here, militants almost always implies having weapons, firearms. Again, like Tucker said, there was no one taking over government buildings with guns, holding space.

Only one person was shot was by a Capitol police officer. After militants stormed the Capitol, told followers at his Cornerstone Church in Alexandria, Minnesota to be ready to, quote, arm up and join citizens militias to, quote, protect our freedoms from groups such as Antifa and Black Lives Matter. He urged then President Donald Trump to declare martial law. Quote, the enemies against our country today are vast and wide, including the deep state, including Marxists and communists who want to see our country destroyed, said Nappan, this pastor. They are in opposition to our freedoms of assembly, freedom of religion, freedom to bear arms against tyranny, unquote. The article then goes on to say such conspiracy theories. Okay, it's a conspiracy theory that there's a growing Marxist and communist influence in our country. It's a conspiracy theory that there's threats to our freedom of assembly, coronavirus, freedom of religion, the ability to meet in church, freedom to bear arms against tyranny.

Those are completely accurate. But the Star Tribune and the mainstream media sees these as conspiracy theories. Such conspiracy theories are no longer limited to fringe groups, the article says. Nearly half of the 1000 Protestant clergy surveyed last fall by Nashville based LifeWay Research, a nationwide evangelical research firm, said they, quote, frequently hear church members repeating conspiracy theories about what's happening in their country, unquote. Again, notice the idea of if you believe that the country is becoming secularized, there's a restricting of the Christian faith in this country, you're believing a conspiracy theory because that's actually, even though don't believe your lying eyes, that's not happening. Continuing with the article, Christian nationalism, here we get to the definition, can be defined as, quote, a collection of myths, traditions, symbols, narratives, and value systems that idealizes and advocates a fusion of Christianity with American civic life, unquote, according to Whitehead and co-author Samuel Perry of the University of Oklahoma.

The movement is biggest in the South and Midwest, stronger in rural than urban America, they found. Key beliefs, now listen to this, key beliefs include political conservatism, the inerrancy of the Bible, and that the nation is on the brink of moral decay. So you're a demonized Christian nationalist if you believe, if you're politically conservative, if you believe in the inerrancy of scripture, and that the nation is on the brink of moral decay.

See, again, stretch this definition so wide to make a large group of people the enemies of the state. These views, the article continues, are commonly held by, oh, look at here, evangelical Christians to varying degrees. What sets ardent Christian nationalists apart is belief that God created the United States as a Christian nation, that US laws must reflect their version of Christian values, and that government has no right to interfere with their, quote, Christian liberties. This movement that they're describing, let's just say just Trump voters alone, 74 million, according to the last election, according to what we're told, voted for President Trump. And of that 74 million, a very high percentage was white evangelical Christians.

He got into somewhere like the 75 or 76% range of that particular demographic. And then he talks about the fact that Christian values, that the government has no right to interfere with their religious liberties. Yeah, that's exactly what the First Amendment of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights says, that Congress shall not interfere, basically, with someone's freedom to pursue their religious beliefs. That's exactly what our Constitution says.

That's what's made our country so great and so different than anywhere else in the world. Since the Capitol siege, as always goes back to that incident, some church leaders have scrubbed their media, such as NAPIN, whose, quote, arm up video was removed last month. Others found that Facebook scrubbed it for them. Oh, how nice of Facebook, including the Reverend Dale Witherington, director of the Minnesota Legislative Prayer Caucus, which supports lawmakers working to preserve the nation's Judeo-Christian heritage and religious liberties. Faith leaders, he said, have the duty to speak out. America's problems are the result of the failure of the church to do its job in raising up righteous people who are qualified to govern according to the principles given by God, said Witherington in an email. There is no line between church and state, he maintained in an online video.

That is not in the Constitution. Our nation was founded to glorify God and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, he told an interviewer. The Reverend Mark Kopka of Painesville, Minnesota, signed a statement condemning the movement, the Christian nationalist movement, as a quote, a threat to both our religious communities and our democracy, unquote. He said he once held Christian nationalist beliefs, oh, shame, shame, reinforced by a bubble of who?

Conservative Christian radio stations and his circle of friends. His parents who fled Nazi Germany disapproved of those beliefs, never forgetting Christian complicity in the nationalist fervor of the Nazi regime. You see the linkage there, that those people running the Nazis, where there was Christian complicity there. And so therefore, today, people who are complicit in the Christian nationalism are somehow like helping the Nazis.

Get it? Now you know why Christian nationalists are being demonized. You watch people praying at a cross before they go into the Capitol, and it's very disturbing, Kopka said. They have co-opted the faith to further their agenda, an agenda that has nothing to do with the Jesus in the Gospels. Kopka believes many adherents haven't thought deeply about the implications.

He hopes a storming of the Capitol will be a wake-up call about the potential dangers. Again, right back to the very beginning, it's the Capitol riot, the election denialism, the thinking that there's something wrong in this country, that if you think that there's something wrong, like this country is becoming less Christian, you're believing conspiracy theories, that America is not becoming more secularized. It's not marginalizing Christians. Marxism and socialism is not a thing to be concerned about. Conspiracy theories are nuts.

In other words, this is Red Level danger for America. The Christian Worldview with David Wheaton returns in just a moment. David Wheaton here, host of The Christian Worldview. For over 15 years, our mission has been to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. We pursue that mission on air through radio programs, in person hosting events, and online through audio, video, and print resources. We are an all-volunteer ministry, but have monthly operating expenses, the most significant being the cost of air time on the station, website, or app on which you hear the radio program. We are looking for monthly partners so that each station or website is supported by its own listeners.

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These bite-sized highlights are great for those who don't have time to listen to the full 54-minute broadcast. Short takes can be heard at our website, podcast feed, and our social media pages on Facebook and YouTube. For more updates, program previews, and resources, be sure to sign up for our free weekly email by visiting thechristianworldview.org or calling 1-888-646-2233. That's 1-888-646-2233 or visiting thechristianworldview.org. Thanks for joining us on The Christian Worldview. Just a reminder that today's program and past programs are archived at our website thechristianworldview.org. Short takes are also available and be sure to share with others. Now, back to today's program with host David Wheaton. As you read the comments to this column in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, you get a sense of how effective this demonization of these, quote, Christian nationalists has been.

I'll just read a couple of them. I guess these so-called Christians have never read the U.S. Constitution. Nowhere in it does it proclaim Christianity to be the official religion of the United States. It specifically says the government should not establish an official religion. That's true, but no one's making that claim that it should be the official religion. It's saying that it shouldn't be limited or restricted for ability to practice that religion, and there shouldn't be any laws against having the values of that religion, like in any worldview, integrated into public policy. Another commenter said, white Christian nationalists are the biggest danger to our democracy.

Here's a true believer. All about bigotry, bigotry, bigotry, fear, ignorance, fear, and bigotry. It's a cult, and the only hope for them is to be deprogrammed, maybe grief therapy in addition to therapy in general. We're in danger of this militant cult, and there's nothing, quote, Christian about them, whatever that description means in today's America.

And finally, one more comment there. I have said for years that Christian fundamentalism is a far bigger threat to the American way of life than Islamic fundamentalism. Just think about that statement for a second. The people who killed 3000 people in New York City in the Twin Towers, they are not as big a threat as people who believe in the fundamentals of Christianity. It truly is amazing to fathom how effective the liars are in this country, that the biggest threat to our country is those with Christian beliefs. So in preparation for this topic today, and again, our topic is Christian nationalism, examining the demonization of that particular term, I listened to a podcast from Christianity Today called Quick to Listen podcast, and they did a podcast on the growth, as they see it, of Christian nationalism. And the hosts are Christianity Today global media manager Morgan Lee, and editorial director Ted Olson.

We have all sorts of soundbites that we're going to play from this particular podcast to give you a sense of the fact that it's not only the mainstream secular media who's trying to demonize Christians in this country, but it's also those who I would call on the evangelical left as well, those at Christianity Today and other more non-orthodox, from a doctrinal standpoint, organizations and people. Just listen to the opening part of this podcast and don't miss the very beginning about who is actually sponsoring a Christianity Today podcast. This episode is brought to you by the upcoming PBS documentary, The Black Church, with host Henry Louis Gates Jr., Oprah Winfrey, John Legend, Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, and many more. The Black Church premieres Tuesday at nine, eight central. Tune in or stream only on PBS.

So just think about that for a second. PBS, government-funded liberalism, is supporting bringing this podcast from Christianity Today to you. And oh, by the way, this special they have on the Black Church is going to include Oprah Winfrey, who is anything but Christian. Here's the opening, though, of the podcast. As crowds lined up in front of the Capitol last week, Christian imagery was on display amidst the Trump, Pence 2020, and Confederate flags.

You would on memorabilia and Viking helmets. Protesters held crosses, Jesus save signs, and Jesus 2020 signs as well. As protesters crowded into the capital of steps across the street, someone blew a shofar while a woman sang peace in the name of Jesus, the blood of Jesus covering this place. One person even brought a Christian flag in the congressional chamber. The Atlantic's editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg covered the protest and interviewed a Texas resident who told him the country was falling apart and this dissolution restaged the end times. Here's the quote. It's all in the Bible, he said. Everything is predicted. Donald Trump is in the Bible.

Get yourself ready. This is also Goldberg's analysis. The conflation of Trump and Jesus was a common theme at the rally. Give it up if you believe in Jesus, a man yelled at me. People cheered. Give it up if you believe in Donald Trump.

Louder cheers. So in the aftermath of this capital attack, many saw a clear connection between the violence and Christian nationalism. As Tish Harrison Warren wrote for CT last week, quote, the responsibility of yesterday's violence must be in part laid at the feet of those evangelical leaders who ushered in and applauded Trump's presidency. It can also sadly be laid at the feet of the white American church more broadly. We wanted to define Christian nationalism and understand its rise in the white evangelical world. We also wanted to help church leaders who are trying to de-radicalize members of their own community.

Okay, so that's how it opened up. It doesn't sound much different really than just secular mainstream media saying that people are holding Christian flags and crosses and Jesus saves. And again, there's no specifics about who these people are. There's going to be extreme people who have even crazy beliefs, who profess to be Christians, of course.

That's not really what the issue they're trying to make though is. As you get into the podcast, as we're going to play sound bites, you're going to see that it's stretched to include just millions of basically everyday evangelicals, Christians in this country, anyone who supports political conservatism, anyone who voted for Donald Trump, because again, he's a white supremacist, he's a racist, he's an election denier, he's a conspiracy theorist. And so therefore, if you support that, you're part of this demonized Christian nationalism group. Okay, I mentioned earlier that Greg Frazier, the head of the Department of Political Studies at the Masters University, and the author of The Religious Beliefs of America's Founders, is going to join us. And we're going to get to the first part of the interview with him in this discussion on Christian nationalism. Greg, welcome to The Christian Worldview to talk about Christian nationalism. And to start off, I'd like to play a soundbite from this Christianity Today podcast on Christian nationalism, where Paul Miller from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, it's a Southern Baptist entity, a political advocacy group, gave a definition of it.

I'd like to get what you think of his definition. So I think it's easiest to try to define Christian nationalism by contrasting it with Christianity. Christianity is a religion, it's a set of beliefs about ultimate things.

It's importantly about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And it's drawn from the Bible from the Nicene Creed, the Apostles Creed. Christian nationalism is a political ideology about American identity. And it is a set of policy prescriptions for what the nationalists believe the American government should do.

And so it's not drawn from the Bible, it's drawn from political theory, from secular philosophy, and from their own version of history as well. I'm going to quote from Andrew Whitehead and Samuel Perry, they wrote a great book just out last year called Taking America Back for God, all about Christian nationalism. And they define it this way, they say, Christian nationalism is a cultural framework, a collection of myths, traditions, symbols, narratives, and value systems, that idealizes and advocates a fusion of Christianity with American civic life.

I think that's a great way of understanding it. Christian nationalism believes that American nation is defined by Christianity, and that the government should take steps to keep it that way to sustain and maintain our Christian heritage or our Judeo-Christian values or something like that. So it's not merely an observation about American history, it is a prescription for what America should do in the future, we should sustain and continue our identity as a Christian nation. That's Christian nationalism. Okay, Greg, so maybe you could simplify that, and give what you believe is a working definition that we can understand about Christian nationalism and why it's become such a hot topic right now.

I don't agree with everything Miller says, certainly. But I actually pretty much agree with his definition of Christian nationalism. It is the belief, basically, that the American nation is defined by Christianity, that America was founded as a Christian nation, and that the nation should, in a sense, favor Christianity, and that Christians have a special place in America, and that the government should protect that. Nationalism is the idea of distinct nation states around the world, versus something like globalism, where there's a globalized government that you see more in Revelation and Time scenario. Is nationalism itself God's intent for the world, based on, let's say, the example of Babel in Genesis? Yeah, I don't think Babel is really the biblical illustration of it, because at Babel, what God did was take people who wanted to be all united and have one language, and give them different languages, and make them spread around the world, which is what God had instructed man to do, to fill the earth. And man, based on his pride, wanted to overrule God and do his own thing.

And so God sort of made them scatter across the earth. But I don't know that there's any particular nationalism involved there. But biblically speaking, I would say nationalism is really reflected in Acts chapter 16, and verse 26, when Paul says, And God made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation. And so God did ordain, it's his plan, that men live in nations. And if you look at Isaiah, you look at Jeremiah, the prophets, God deals with nations, and he has a future for nations, and he establishes times for nations, you know, to Nebuchadnezzar, he says, you will rule your son and your grandson, and then your time will be up and another nation will rule. And so God works through nations, it's his plan that men live in nations. Greg Frazier today with us on the Christian worldview, professor of political studies at the Masters University, also the author of the religious beliefs of America's founders, we've had you on the program several years ago, for that very interesting book, the nationalism part of Christian nationalism, it sounds like you're saying is a biblical thing that there should be nations, according to what God said, in Scripture.

Now, the Christian part of it, that those nations have be based on Christian principles or values. It says in Proverbs 1434, righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. So there's an idea of God defines righteousness. And if there's righteousness in a nation, if those, the righteousness that God specifies in his word is integrated into a nation, that exalts a nation. But if there's sin, that's a disgrace to any people. Also, it says in Psalm 2, Now therefore, O kings, rulers, show discernment, take warning, O judges of the earth.

So that it's directed here towards political leaders, those in authority. It says in verse 11, Psalm 2, Worship the Lord with reverence, and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that's it, that He did not become angry, and you perish in the way. For His wrath may soon be kindled.

How blessed are all who take refuge in Him. So it's being directed here at rulers of the world, do homage to the Son, to Christ, lest you perish in the way. So the question here is, isn't it a God-honoring thing for a nation to have policies and politicians who work for biblical values in civic life?

Because that's what is said in a pejorative way about people who believe in Christian nationalism. The short answer to the first part of your question is yes, it is a God-honoring thing to have policies and politicians who work for biblical values. Righteousness does exalt a nation. God expects nations, if you look at the prophets, the minor prophets, etc. God expects nations to have a modicum of justice and obeying God's fundamental law, and He actually punishes nations and holds them accountable for violating that. And so yes, we want Americans, America to follow biblical values. Biblical values are God's values. We want to honor God. And so yes, we want to follow biblical values. And Miller identifies that as well. He says we ought to be working against abortion, and we ought to be working for other things as well.

That part of it is certainly true. But the thing about Christian nationalism is first of all, are you working for biblical values? Or are you working for values that you prefer politically, and then trying to find some verse in the Bible that you can pull out to support what you have already decided a conservative value, or a liberal value for that matter on the other side that you prefer? And so yes, we want governments and politicians and policies to work for for biblical values, but for all biblical values, and not to declare things that aren't biblical values, biblical values.

Okay, we're gonna stop it there for today. But we have much more coming up next week on this topic in part two on Christian nationalism. Many more sound bites from that Christianity Today interview, and also much more time with Greg Frazier.

But I just want to close the program today, reminding us that this scapegoating, this blaming of Christians for inciting problems in trouble in society is nothing new. Go back to the time of Christ, when he was arrested and brought before Pilate. Look what they said about him in Luke chapter 23. Then the whole body of them, this is the religious leaders, got up and brought him, Christ, before Pilate. And they begin to accuse him saying, we found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king. So Pilate asked him saying, Are you the king of the Jews? And he answered him and said, It is as you say. Then Pilate said to the chief priests in the crowds, I find no guilt in this man, verse five, but they kept on insisting saying, he stirs up the people teaching all over Judea, starting from Galilee, even as far as this place.

Just like we hear today for Christians today, they're stirring up, they're causing problems, they're inciting sedition and rebellion. This is nothing new. We need to stand firm because we do live in a changing and challenging America. But there is one thing we can count on and trust in. Jesus Christ and his word are the same yesterday, today and forever. Until next time, think biblically, live accordingly and stand firm. The mission of the Christian worldview is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. We hope today's broadcast encouraged you toward that end. To hear a replay of today's program or to sign up for our free weekly email or to find out what must I do to be saved, go to our website, the Christian worldview.org or call us toll free at 1-888-646-2233. The Christian worldview is a listener supported ministry and furnished by the Overcomer Foundation, a nonprofit organization. You can find out more, order resources, make a donation, become a monthly partner and contact us by visiting the Christian worldview.org, calling toll free 1-888-646-2233 or writing to box 401 Excelsior Minnesota 55331. That's box 401 Excelsior Minnesota 55331. Thanks for listening to the Christian worldview. Until next time, think biblically and live accordingly.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-25 02:43:35 / 2023-12-25 03:03:24 / 20

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