February 22, 2024

‘The Blessing and the Curse’: Christian Nationalism and the War for the West

The “Christian nationalism” hysteria is a matter of two religious beliefs battling for supremacy over the Western world.

By S.A. McCarthy

Christians have suffered much throughout history: from the massive persecutions wrought by the likes of Nero and Diocletian to the mass murders executed by Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin to the discrimination and harassment governments and corporations level against Christians today — but few things are quite so annoying as non-Christians lecturing informed, educated, faithful Christians on what they think Jesus’s words meant. More often than not, the interpretations non-Christians offer of Christ’s teachings contradict Christ’s teachings, or at least leave out the parts that non-Christians object to.

For the past several years, left-wingers have decried the Christian teachings they don’t like (such as “marriage is between one man and one woman” and “don’t kill unborn babies”) as “Christian nationalism” in an obvious attempt to keep Christians from being Christian in the voting booth.

Famed filmmaker and left-wing activist Rob Reiner has seemingly devoted the twilight years of his career to this effort. The director of “The Princess Bride” recently debuted his latest film, a documentary entitled “God and Country,” which purports to tackle the issue of “Christian Nationalism.” The documentary features interviews with Christianity Today editor-in-chief and avowed Donald Trump critic Russell Moore, former National Review writer-turned-same-sex marriage advocate David French, “Veggie Tales” co-creator Phil Vischer, and other prominent critics of Christian nationalism.

In an interview regarding his new film, Reiner said of Christian nationalism, “To me, this is a dangerous path for this country to go down and for the world [to] go down, which is authoritarianism, the idea that it’s my way or the highway, and that you’re even willing to resort to violence to get your own way.” He added, “We saw this exemplified on January 6. That, to me, is setting the tone for something that could be much, much worse down the road.”

After noting that he is not a Christian (Reiner has described himself as both an agnostic and an atheist), the actor and filmmaker proceeded to define what his own personal definition is of Christianity: “Love thy neighbor, do unto others as he would have have [sic] done unto you. That’s what I took away.” He continued to say that Christian nationalism is “completely antithetical to the teachings of Jesus,” explaining, “Jesus was about peace and love and helping thy neighbor and those less fortunate than ourselves. And I thought that was something that we should all aspire to. So to me this movement is going totally opposite the teachings of Jesus.”

In case his lack of anything even approaching coherent theology and constant harping on the “threat” of Christian nationalism didn’t make it clear, Reiner is a hardcore Democrat. Far from being a practicing Christian interested in saving American Christianity from the “poison” of Christian nationalism — or a lifelong Republican concerned over the future of the Party — the mouthy filmmaker has supported Hillary Clinton’s and Joe Biden’s presidential campaigns and has been a vocal proponent of everything from same-sex marriage to abortion.

Reiner’s argument against Christian nationalism is more succinctly and less invectively put by “God and Country” director Dan Partland. The documentary director said, “The problem is the intertwining of a Christian identity with a political identity such that it can be hard to tell where one ends and the other begins.” Although Partland did note that “having one’s faith inform one’s political beliefs is not the problem,” Christians are still left asking what’s wrong with subjecting their political beliefs to their faith? In fact, one of the goals of the practicing Christian is to subject and conform every aspect of his life to the Christian faith. St. Paul instructs us, “Do not conform yourselves to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

When left-wingers, liberals, and even some self-professed conservatives deride or deprecate “Christian nationalism,” what they are really opposing is orthodox Christian morality and sentiment in the public square. Reiner’s interpretation of the gospels differs little from the pleasanter teachings of Buddha, the kindlier-sounding maxims of communism, or the agnostic-cum-esoteric hippie platitudes which accompanied the Sexual Revolution.

In short, Reiner is advocating a form of pantheism, the belief that all religions and belief systems are really saying the same thing — warping Christ’s teachings, of course. Partland, on the other hand, is advocating a subtle form of idolatry, placing one’s political position above one’s faith, stipulating that one’s faith may “inform” but ridiculing the suggestion that one’s obedience to Christ must be absolute.

Both arguments have the same aim and, if accepted, result: keeping Christian morality and sentiment out of the public square. Reiner, Partland, and their ilk have no qualms about pushing their own political objectives as dictated by their morally relativistic, libertine philosophies, but once Christianity enters the arena, they will balk and whine and call voting according to one’s religious principles a “threat to democracy.” Indeed, the documentary “God and Country” derides Christian nationalism as a “threat to democracy.” That is one of the most ridiculous and pernicious claims of the Left — after all, if a majority of voters choose to cast their ballots in accord with Christian teaching, is that not democracy at work?

The aim of those who lash out against “Christian nationalism” is not to preserve democracy but to save their pluralistic, incohesive, morally bankrupt ideologies from the existential threat posed to it by Christian morality, even Christian morality exercised via democratic means. Pornography, abortion, hook-up culture, the LGBT agenda, the destruction of the nuclear family — all of these things and many more stand in stark opposition to Christian morality. These are the idols, the sacraments of the Left.

The “Christian nationalism” hysteria is not a matter of leftists sincerely fearing the advent of a theocracy or having concerns that fundamental freedoms may be lost forever; it is rather a matter of two religious beliefs battling for supremacy over the Western world. One of those religions upholds the slaughter of the unborn, sexual decay, and narcissistic selfishness as its proudest tenets; the other preaches life, love, forgiveness, repentance, self-sacrifice, and salvation. As God said through His prophet Moses, “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life…” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.

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