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Faithfully examining the intersection of white supremacy and Christian nationalism

Randall Balmer, an Episcopal priest and historian, along with Jemar Tisby, a history professor and author, discussed white Christian nationalism during a webinar hosted by Faithful America. They highlighted how this ideology deviates from the teachings of Christ by prioritizing political power over prophetic witness.

Balmer and Tisby emphasized the intertwined nature of white supremacy and Christian nationalism, noting its impact on American society, particularly in attempts to reshape education and uphold hierarchical structures reminiscent of pre-Civil War Southern plantations. They explained how proponents view their mission as divinely inspired, despite its departure from true Christian principles, and discussed its threat to democracy and the witness of the church. Additionally, they addressed the complexity of some Black Americans endorsing the ideology while acknowledging its inherent racism.

Baptist News Global:

“Our friends at Christians Against Christian Nationalism say that Christian nationalism gives cover to and helps propagate white supremacy. Ultimately, we use both terms depending on the context, but they are the same,” said Empsall, an Episcopal priest and executive director of Faithful America, an online Christian social action community.

The white supremacy in Christian nationalism manifests in numerous ways, including in nationwide legislative efforts to ban the teaching of Black history and Critical Race Theory in public schools and universities, he said. “Even when we just say, ‘Christian nationalism,’ not ‘white Christian nationalism,’ it’s vital that we still point out the racism inherent to Christian nationalism in the American context.”

After the Civil War, many Southerners pined for the days when society was more orderly, people knew their places and no one was agitating for justice and equality, Tisby said. “There’s some reminiscence of that in this idea of MAGA, Make America Great Again. Implicit in that idea is to make society an ordered hierarchy like it used to be, to make sure everyone knows their place and oh, it just happens that wealthy white men tend to be on top in that society.”

White Christian nationalism also poses a danger to Christianity and the American church, Tisby added. “It’s a threat to the witness of the church today because of the way it’s repelling people from Jesus. It’s causing folks to run away from the church because they look at white Christian nationalism and they think, if that’s what Christianity is about, they want nothing to do with it.”

Read more here.


Image credit:
Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

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