Worrying growth of Christian nationalism exposed in the pulpit, on the election campaign

In recent days, several disturbing expressions of Christian nationalism have surfaced in the news, which is both a disturbing trend and a reminder of the dangers of equating political identity with religious identity. Unfortunately, Christian nationalism seems to be creeping into our political discourse with increasing ease.

A Baptist pastor in Tennessee drew national attention when he called on his congregation’s Democrats to leave, falsely proclaiming “you can’t be a Christian and vote a Democrat in this nation,” and accusing Democrats of being “demons” who “hate this nation”. You can watch an excerpt from his sermon here. Pastor Greg Locke has already made news for organize a book engraving, attend the insurrection rally on January 6, and calling Hillary Clinton a “satanic church high priestess.”

Choosing a side in the chair during an election campaign would be problematic enough. This compromises 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status (Americans United asked the IRS to investigate Locke’s church tax-exempt status in light of his statements, and video from last weekend shows Locke claiming he already disbanded it). But, choosing partisan sides also risks his prophetic voice and dividing the congregation. Demonize – literally! – political opponents during a sermon is particularly offensive. Like tennessian opinion writer LeBron Hill explained in response“Yes, you can vote for a Democrat and be a Christian.”

In Georgia, a gubernatorial candidate went so far as to completely reject the separation of church and state, proclaim at a campaign stop, “The Church Runs the State of Georgia. … We decide what happens. Kandiss Taylor, whose campaign slogan was “Jesus, Guns, Babies”, also made headlines when she rented the “sacrifice” made by Native Americans “so that we would have the freedom” to “worship Jesus freely that we have today”.

Meanwhile, the one-party candidate for governor of Pennsylvania says those who believe, like him, that the 2020 presidential election was illegitimate, “have the power of God with us.”

“It’s the season of Purim”, [Doug Mastriano] said at a March event in Lancaster, referring to the Jewish holiday celebrated in the Book of Esther. “And God has turned the tables on the Democrats and those who oppose what is good in America. It’s true.”

the Philadelphia plaintiff calls Mastriano “the quintessence” of the resurgent Christian nationalist movement.

This election season, expressions of Christian nationalism seemed to become increasingly brazen and unfiltered. The pernicious belief that God supports your political views and opposes your rivals is as dangerous as it is false. We saw all too well, on January 6, 2021, how these views can lead to violence and undermine democracy.

It demands a clear and consistent response from Christians committed to religious freedom for all. To lend your voice, visit Christians Against Christian Nationalism and sign the statement condemning Christian nationalism as a “distortion of the gospel of Jesus and a threat to American democracy”.

And, if you have any questions about the tax laws that apply to all 501(c)(3) organizations – which include most churches – BJC has a helpful one-page guide that provides a general overview of activities. permitted and problematic under the tax. partisan campaign code.

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