Controversy has recently broken out over a CCN article that spoke of an “imposter Christianity” taking over America and about white Christian nationalism.
Kristin Du Mez of Du Mez CONNECTIONS writes that Christianity is defined by those who follow it, with extensive disagreement on individual faith. Many complaints about the CNN article involved the narrative characterizing white Christian nationalism as anything other than actual Christianity, while others were angry that the article appeared to be smearing Christianity.
Du Mez continues:
So, is white Christian nationalism real Christianity, or is it a distortion of true Christianity?
Both, depending who’s asking and who’s answering.
As a historian of American Christianity, there’s an easy answer:
Yes, this is American Christianity.
De Mez contends that the dominance of White Christian privilege, “was woven into the very fabric of our nation from its very inception;” she contends that many American Christians still interpret their faith through an implicit lens of “slaveholder religion.” De Mez also writes that Christianity had spent the previous 1,000 years “wedded to imperial power” even before America was founded.
Which isn’t to say that this is the whole of American Christianity. To insist that it is, is to erase the many expressions of Christianity that have contested this particular form of Christianity. Consider, for example, the prophetic tradition that has characterized much of African American Christianity across the centuries. Nor is it the whole of global Christianity. As a historian, it isn’t difficult to acknowledge that both of these things are true.
It is important to note, however, that this isn’t just a conversation among historians. It’s also a conversation among Christians, and that internal conversation is an important one. This is the “matter of theological debate” that I refer to in my tweet. For Christians, it is appropriate, even necessary, to make a case for which version of Christianity is closer to what we hold to be the defining truths of our faith tradition.
Read the full article here.