When People React to Their Imposed Agenda, Liberals Call It “Christian Nationalism”

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When People React to Their Imposed Agenda, Liberals Call It “Christian Nationalism”
When People React to Their Imposed Agenda, Liberals Call It “Christian Nationalism”

Whenever the extreme left is in trouble, it labels the other side as extremists. One such label is Christian nationalism.

The expression is now being used to mischaracterize the Christian right. Its meaning is so elastic that it can be used to suit any occasion. It is vague enough to include any Christian engaged in the culture war. It has just enough punch to insinuate a threatening agenda.

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Recently, the term made headlines again, being trotted out by those who foresee the danger of an imagined theocracy of Christian supremacists who would govern America based on the Bible.

Alabama’s Tom Parker Opinion

Chief Justice Tom Parker triggered the new attack with his concurring opinion on the recent 8—1 Alabama Supreme Court decision on embryo personhood. The outspoken Methodist chief justice supported his opinion by citing God, Scripture, Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas and others.

The February 16 decision was enough to unleash outrage from leftists and moderates. Washington Post associate editor Ruth Marcus penned a column titled: “Welcome to the Theocracy.” The more moderate New York Times columnist David French immediately attacked the opinion as an ominous development.

Mr. French said he had no problems with people being Christian or even bringing their beliefs to the public square. However, they must not advocate deference to Christianity in the body politic. Christians should not seek to return America to its Christian roots, even if done through logical and gentle persuasion.

A Vague Religion Is Ideal

Mr. French’s attitude recalls the comment of the late Sen. Eugene McCarthy, who once said there are only two kinds of religion that are permitted in America: Strong beliefs that are vaguely expressed or vague beliefs that are strongly expressed.

These liberals think Christians should be free to believe what they want, just keep it vague and ineffective. They can strongly desire their salvation but not make it a program for everyone else.

Mr. French’s main criticism of strongly-believed, strongly-expressed Christianity is that it turns into Christian identity politics. Christians end up wanting to change all society and convert the world. Imagine that.

The Seven Mountain Mandate

He joins many others who are critical of Justice Parker’s support for the Seven Mountain Mandate promoted by the Pentacostalist dominionist movement. This mandate holds that Christians should get out of the prayer closet and seek to exert dominion in seven key societal institutions: the family, the church, education, the media, the arts, business and government.

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Liberals consider this desire to take back the culture intolerable since any Christian domination would reduce non-Christians to second-class citizens. These liberals call for more than a separation of church and state. They demand separation of church and culture.

If these liberals had their way, Christians would be fated to lose the culture war since all religion would then be reduced to a personal feel-good thing for the weak of character—a typical liberal characterization. Ultimately, that is what liberals want.

The Nature of Christianity

There are two things wrong with these recent criticisms of left-labeled Christian nationalism.

The first involves a gross misunderstanding of the nature of Christianity itself.

Christianity is an identity religion. By Baptism, the person is reborn in Christ and ontologically changed. The person and the Christian form a single unity. Christianity is not a pastime, a hobby or an interest. It is part of who one is. This Christianity manifests itself in all that Christians do—in all (seven) fields.

Christianity is also, by its nature, expansive. Joyful Christians tend to spread the “good news” of the Gospel to everyone so that others might also share in their joy.

Indeed, Christ gave His disciples the Divine Commission to go and teach all nations, baptizing them. Christians are called to change society—all society, every society. They pursue this goal with charity and zeal, respecting the free will of individuals. Wherever Christianity has gone, its charity has transformed nations and peoples.

Christians are also called to denounce sin and injustice. They cannot remain silent in the face of iniquity. Thus, Christians create conditions favorable to the practice of the Faith and the benefit of all society, not just its Christian portion. They oppose sins and obstacles that prevent the practice of virtue.

Changing Society for the Better

Faithful Christians change society for the better. They will necessarily influence the seven key societal institutions and seek to change them. They have always zealously done so. To ask them to do the contrary is to ask them to stop being real Christians.

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Indeed, American history has long reflected this dominant Christian influence in the public forum. For example, with English jurists Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780) and Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634), religious references in the nation’s legal tradition date back to colonial times. The Christian influence in the other Seven Mountain domains is undeniable in the country’s birth and development.

That’s why Christians must affirm their Faith strongly and unapologetically. If they follow the liberals’ advice to practice a vague and toned-down Christianity, the result will be skin-deep Christians unable and unwilling to defend what they believe. The Church will become a sentimental collection of souls seeking feel-good spiritual experiences, not Faith. All will be reduced to selfish individuals who do not care about the good of their neighbors or truly love God. This policy would make all things liberal—even Christianity.

The Double Standards of Liberalism

The second problem with those now criticizing what they label Christian nationalism is that they do not subject their own avowed ideology—liberalism—to the same rigid standards of irrelevancy.

A simplified definition of liberalism is an ideology that demands the right to feel, think and do whatever the unbridled passions desire. Liberalism has other elements that define it, but it always results in removing the restraints that Christian civilization imposes on these passions.

Over the decades, liberalism has eroded the Christian values that keep order in society by doing exactly what it accuses sincere Christians of wanting to do—influencing and dominating societal institutions. It is just one more example of liberals’ egregious projection. However, there is a difference. Those who subscribe to liberalism impose their agenda on society. They do not propose it.

Liberal Tyranny

Those who uphold the ideology of liberalism make no effort to express their strongly held beliefs vaguely. They have established themselves well inside and dominate the seven key societal institutions. There is no concern for the Christians who rightly complain of being reduced to second-class citizens at school board meetings and library hearings.

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Liberal tyranny has now reached a postliberal phase where even the will of the democratic majority must be sacrificed on the altar of wokeness and identity politics. Institutions, such as schools, must accommodate the outlandish behavior of anyone who identifies as something else and demands rights. Companies like Bud Light’s Anheuser-Busch will opt to lose $1.4 billion rather than apologize to its vast consumer base for the single comment of Dylan Mulvaney’s promotion of transgender activism.

Christians have no choice but to defend moral principles and challenge these disordered acts that undermine the common good. This is not a theocracy but a return to those perennial principles that undergird the Christian order.

This is not “Christian nationalism” but Christians fighting for the common good—or better, affirming that there is an objective good and an objective evil. They affirm the reality of a loving God who exists despite the absurd denials from liberals. They strive to uphold standards of morality and decency in a world that glorifies the contrary.

Mr. French’s call for a vaguely held Christianity is consistent with his demand that everyone take a seat at his postliberal table, including the porno-drag queens whose indecent story hours he so passionately defends.

Indeed, it is not Christians who are creating theocracies but liberals like Mr. French and Ruth Marcus who build and defend the dictatorship of relativism and imagine caricatures of what they suppose a Christian order to be. These imaginings would mimic the liberal tyranny now imposed upon the nation since liberals can only think in terms of their own power structures bereft of Christian charity, virtue or grace. These liberal fantasies are unchristian.

The Breakdown of an Order

Meanwhile, the liberal order is breaking down as the last moral restraints are discarded. A new postmodern disorder is rising that breaks all the old rules of engagement.

In the face of ever more radical moral outrages, reacting Christians are supposed to pretend they do not see the results of broken families, shattered communities and empty churches that litter the social landscape.

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This new postliberal disorder would destroy all existing narratives that order society. It would be a phantasmagoric meeting place of clashing wills and passions. It will lead to a postmodernity described by Czech poet Václav Havel, where “everything is possible and nothing is certain.”

Americans act well when striving in every way they can for the opposite: a Christian America that trusts in God.

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