Christians against Christian Nationalism Falters, a Tired Trope

More than a month ago the Baptist Joint Committee, a left-leaning group that tends to object to religion in the public square, trumpeted a new movement of “Christians against Christian nationalism,” complete with a “petition” of sorts and a website. The site explains Christian nationalism as something that

demands Christianity be privileged by the State and implies that to be a good American, one must be Christian.

Those views are advocated in the mainstream by almost… no one. In their FAQ, they have the obvious question “Can you give some examples of christian nationalism?” to which they provide none — except to say

Christian nationalism in the hands of extremists can lead to acts of violence, such as the shootings at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and Chabad of Poway synagogue near San Diego, California…

The inclusion of those incidents with the prior description is illogical (as well as contrary to public accounts of both incidents). In any case, any person would oppose shootings at churches and synagogues, “Christian nationalism” notwithstanding.

The statement, then, comes across like an appeal to oppose punching strangers in the face. In theory, everybody should sign it — or nobody should, because it is meaningless.

To date, it seems many agree with the latter. Initially announced with more than 10,000 signatures, the current petition has just over…10,000 signatures. It appears to have gone nowhere.

The endorsers of the petition likely undermined their own cause by including church/synagogue shootings in their examples. For example, the Baptist Joint Committee (which organized the petition) is on record supporting the government requiring Christians in business to take actions contrary to their faith. BJC considers appeals to religious exemption to be promoting Christianity as “privileged,” allowing Christians the right to discriminate when no one else can.

But the BJC can’t seriously put Masterpiece Cakeshop and the Charleston Church shooting in the same category… can they?

In recent years, there are two tools organizations have used to effectively achieve social change in America: They use the sacrifice of military service, and they use examples of mass violence.

In the past couple of years, religious liberty — for all — has seen some significant gains. But because that came with protections for Christians as well as minority religions, it seems to have motivated some to resist.

If they have to paint people like Masterpiece Cakeshop with the same brush as mass murderers to achieve their ends, it seems they’re happy to do so.

This is the same basic tactic Michael “Mikey” Weinstein uses, claiming there would be “blood in the streets” if religious liberty was exercised. He has been shown to be wrong time and again, but he continues to warn of maiming, death, and destruction in the wake of religious freedom — because only a threat of such magnitude could ultimately result in the restriction of human liberties protected in the US Constitution.

It’s pathetic, but ultimately predictable. And given society today, if left unchecked, it might just work.