Al Jazeera Out of Qatar Explores Christian Nationalism in the United States

Al Jazeera is a well known English speaking news service in the Middle East. Recently they explored Christian Nationalism in the United States by interviewing Katherine Stewart. Stewart has published and written about the Christian right in politics. This post just pushes this Al Jazeera interview. 

“Christian nationalists have betrayed what might have been their strongest suit. Christianity, as most people understand it, has something to do with loving our neighbours. But leaders of this movement have thrown in their lot with a bunch of selfish economic reactionaries who tell us we don’t owe anybody anything.”

Katherine Stewart 

For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done.

Psalm 92:4 

Al Jazeera is a news channel located in Doha, Qatar which is in the Middle East. Qatar is a peninsula off the Arabian Peninsula in the Persian Gulf. It was one of the first English speaking news channels in the Middle East and has quite an influence. From time to time I will watch Al Jazeera. When Osama Bin Ladin was killed in May of 2011 the first news channel I turned to was Al Jazeera to see what perspective they would give.  This blog believes in diversity and at looking at things from different perspectives. That said the other day I was reading Al Jazeera for news and I noticed an interview they did with Katherine Stewart. Katherine Stewart writes about Christian nationalism and evangelicals and politics and is based out of New York City. Her newest book about evangelicals and politics is called, “The Power Worshipers: The Dangerous Rise of Christian Nationalism.” This blog is going to encourage people to read Al Jazeera’s interview of Katherine Stewart. You can read that interview in, “The Power Worshippers: A look inside the American religious right.” 

 

27 thoughts on “Al Jazeera Out of Qatar Explores Christian Nationalism in the United States

  1. There is nothing wrong with nationalism, whether Christian Nationalism, White Nationalism, Atheist Nationalism, Black Nationalism, or just CONFUSED Nationalism. As long as your loyalty is to the United States of America, there is no need for an adjective or an adverb, because it’s just NATIONALISM. It’s not a dirty word. My mamma would NOT wash my mouth out with soap for using that word. Oh, but today, that would be considered ABUSE, huh? Abuse for which would need some bureacrat taking mamma to jail for using soap in a child’s mouth. We have some serious disloyal Amercians. Why do people want to come here so badly, when those who are here hate it so much?

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    • There is nothing wrong — as long as YOUR Nationalism is the one on top.
      Hold the Whip or Feel the Whip, nothing in-between.

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      • Did you ever go to high school, HUG? Did you have loyalty to your own high school football team? Winners or losers, you were still loyal, right? You can’t tell me that nationalism isn’t normal. It’s in our DNA as humans.

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    • As Christians, our first loyalty is to Christ – and His commandments are often in conflict with the demands of nationalism. Nationalism of necessity places one people as most important in the world. Christ teaches that all people are equally important, and to treat others as less important – whether because of their skin color, place of birth, genitals, or whatever – is a sin.

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      • That’s a typical response to those who oppose man’s government. HIS COMMANDMENTS are a single commandment. Love your neighbor as yourself. That is not in conflict with our laws at all. And, if Paul is representing jesus, Roman’s 13. Who carries the sword and why? Did Israel have borders? Why? Did God tell abraham what those borders would be, and for whom? Was that man’s idea, or God’s? Did God expect them to defend their borders? Why have a military, by your logic?

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      • “Why have a military, by your logic?”

        Which is why, for much of early Christian history, participation in government, and especially the military, was strongly discouraged. As representatives of Christ, it is far more fitting that we love our enemies rather than kill them.

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      • Christ teaches that all people are equally important, and to treat others as less important – whether because of their skin color, place of birth, genitals, or whatever – is a sin.

        What should a country do differently (in the context of nationalism) in order to avoid this sin? Maybe instead of giving EITC to only Americans, we should allow anybody worldwide to file taxes with us and receive EITC?

        Which is why, for much of early Christian history, participation in government, and especially the military, was strongly discouraged.

        Are you saying that Christians should opt out of politics? What if, hypothetically, Christians were to become a majority (as postmillenialists believe is inevitable) — should we allow ourselves to be ruled by a smaller and smaller group of nonChristians, and then once we are all Christians, we become an anarcho-libertarian paradise like the time of Judges?

        Personally, I think moving in the general direction of anarcho-libertarian paradise is not a terrible idea. A great many wrongs have been perpetrated by strong governments. The less power that a group of people has over another group of people, the less harm that first group is able to commit. A weak central government in some ways makes the question of nationalism moot.

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      • I am saying that politics, especially in the present day, are perilous waters to sail. The demands of Christ (love our enemies, eschew wealth) are not obviated by living in a prosperous republic – in fact, they may be greater, because we have more power to implement them than Roman citizens did. The biggest problem I have with American Christian nationalism is that, on the whole, it sides with the haves and the powerful over the have nots and the marginalized. It is more concerned with sexual matters than economic (whereas the Bible’s priorities, taken as a whole, are the exact opposite). It shows almost no empathy, let alone understanding, of those who oppose it. In short, the salt has lost its flavor, and is now resorting to legal and sometimes physical force to bring in the Kingdom – which, again, is the exact opposite of how Christ did it.

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      • At the last super, jesus gave a list to God’s apostles of things they need, for after jesus leaves. One of those items were swords. What are swords used for? Anyway, their response was, we’ve got two swords, too which jesus said, that’ll do. Swords kill, don’t they? Defense. From who? Killing is not a sin, unless malice is involved, then it’s murder. Murder is a sin. I’m in total disagreement with wondering that he states that nationalism is unhealthy. It’s not unhealthy. What he espouses is a borderless world, universalism, and THAT is dangerous. As a veteran of the US Navy, I oppose your stance, as well as Wonderings stance, too.

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      • I speak of things in the bible. You should read it sometime, instead of listening to fundamentalists and Catholics. Best selling book of all time. Christianity exists outside of the cult’s that you’ve experienced. I can’t believe you had an interest in Mormonism at one point. Another cult. How do you get yourself into this mess is beyond me.

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  2. I had half a comment written expressing my disagreement when I realized that I didn’t really disagree. When I read nationalism, what I think of is patriotism – saying the pledge of allegiance, prioritizing one’s own country ahead of other countries in areas where they conflict, and so on – but that’s not all that nationalism is limited to. Patriotism is fine for a Christian because Christ and Country are in different categories, and Christ comes first.

    Wikipedia’s definition of nationalism:

    Nationalism is an ideology and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation (as in a group of people) especially with the aim of gaining and maintaining the nation’s sovereignty (self-governance) over its homeland.Nationalism holds that each nation should govern itself, free from outside interference (self-determination), that a nation is a natural and ideal basis for a polity

    There’s a lot in there that’s not objectionable. Self-governance and self-determination don’t conflict with the teachings of Jesus. A nation being a natural and ideal basis for a polity is also quite reasonable.

    “Promoting the interests” is where things become interesting. There are some easy cases that we can certainly say we should avoid, like preemptive war. But there are a lot more gray areas that could be interesting to talk about. If another country is trying to attack a particular subset of your country’s industry by subsidizing their own country’s industry, how should a country “that is run in a Christian way” react? Is it OK for a “Christian” country to subsidize their own industry to gain economic advantage over another? If a neighboring country is oppressing one of its ethnic minorities, how should a country run by Christians respond? Under what situations is it OK for one country to try to get another country to do something?

    It may have been G. Gordon Liddy who wrote a controversial book arguing that nations do not need to conform to Christian ethics, and that it’s OK to play dirty tricks with intelligence agencies or whatever because the greater good is taking care of the people of that country. I am not convinced, but I think this is the “Christian nationalism” that is being reacted to.

    I have great respect for Christian pacifists, but I think if they ran a country in the same way that they run their lives, it would quickly be conquered, if not by another country then by criminals setting themselves up as warlords. One of the legitimate responsibilities of a country is, within reason, promoting the peace and safety of its members. Passing just laws and enforcing them fairly (would be a good start).

    Does it unfairly (un-Christlike-ly) prioritize the citizens of one’s own country to prevent immigration of criminals? I read a funny alternate history novel once where the US developed in an ultra-libertarian way, and when the country was being invaded, one of the characters responded, horrified, “Are you proposing that we restrict immigration?”

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      • Indeed, that is kind of the point of my comment. Do you have any thoughts about in what specific ways nationalism is not healthy? I like Eeyore’s comment about nationalism putting one’s own people ahead of others. What is the alternative to that?

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      • If nationalism is unhealthy, then America needs to withdraw from all OLYMPICS, and Americans need to stop chanting, USA USA USA USA at all professional wrestling entertainment when, say, the IRON SHEIK wrestled back in the 70’s. But you wouldn’t know anything about that, huh?

        Dude, what was the last night club you went to, to dance your ass off, with a girl on a date? You spend way too much time on this stuff, when you should be dating.

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      • Nationalism is used to subjects and divide. The Japanese used nationalism in their campaign in Asia in WW 11. Patriotism is love of country and is far healthy. Patriotism doesn’t divide people group and pit one against each other. The way we responded to Pearl Harbor and 9-11 was patriotic and not nationalistic. Likewise participating in the Olympics is patriotic and not nationalistic.

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      • HUG,

        We had a saying in the military.

        LEAD, FOLLOW, OR GET OUT OF THE WAY.

        In spite of all the hatred towards Trump, he’s getting the job done. He’s leading.

        Career Politicians don’t care about people.

        Example. THE DREAMERS. Trump wants Obama’ executive order rescinded SO THAT Congress will legislate it. Congress don’t want to. They celebrate that the DREAMERS are STILL in limbo status.

        But all the Trump haters do, is falsely accuse racism, when they don’t have a clue.

        And instead of demanding Trumps tax returns for money earned before becoming a politician, how about seeing the tax returns of politicians who got rich while being a public servant?

        Yes, I’m loyal to the United states. There is no better nation on the planet. I’ve been to more countries around the world that most people only dream of going to, and since i can boldly and honestly say that America is the best, I’m a nationalist, and i don’t apologize for it. So y’all can kiss my ass! Nationalism is dangerous? What an ignorant and stupid statement.

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    • “Does it unfairly (un-Christlike-ly) prioritize the citizens of one’s own country to prevent immigration of criminals?”

      Ok, weed out the blatant criminals. That leaves 95+% of immigrants whom we must decide to welcome, as is Biblical, or not.

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      • Ok, weed out the blatant criminals.

        I assume by “weed out” you mean “turn the other cheek”, right? If we agree that it’s OK to exclude some people from immigration, then that changes where I thought the dividing line was. Maybe we should accept all of them, including criminals, because, as a rich country, we can afford to imprison them in more humane conditions than their home countries often are able or willing to. But, what if unlimited immigration means that in the long run we import a bunch of people who are opposed to unlimited immigration, and who then vote to shut it down?

        A lot of policies fall into the category of prioritizing one’s own nation’s people over those of another. If it’s actually sinful to do that, then I don’t think we can get away with saying “except for the criminals.” If we were to really follow in Jesus’ footsteps, we’d give our lives so that criminals could find eternal life. It seems to me that a nation can’t quite behave in a perfectly Christlike manner (obviously ours could be a lot more Christlike before things got bad). In order to maintain peace and public order, a nation has to be willing to use violence against evildoers.

        The biggest problem I have with American Christian nationalism is that, on the whole, it sides with the haves and the powerful over the have nots and the marginalized.

        Maybe I’m just not familiar with Christian Nationalism. When I hear that phrase, I think of a church I attended growing up that would occasionally have a patriotic service with flags and the national anthem, recognition of veterans, and stuff like that. I can’t picture them doing anything but helping the marginalized; that particular church had tons of ministries for the poor, even to the point of letting homeless people spend the night there. I assume most of them are Trump supporters now but I am not aware of politics ever being preached from the pulpit. Can you point to some examples of siding with the haves against the have-notes? I assume that someone like Jeffries has said plenty of Christian Nationalist things but I am not sure how common he is.

        I’m interested in figuring out examples of nationalism-related policies that I shouldn’t support because I’m a Christian. Since people are so good at rationalizing, though, I’m not confident that I will be able to change my mind.

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      • Paul, an apostle, a Roman citizen, being beaten, and he’s like, whoa, dude, I’m a citizen, you can’t beat me, and they were like, we bought our citizenship, and Paul said, ya, well i was born here. So the beating stopped.

        What’s my point? Citizenship has its privileges. Illegal aliens are not undocumented immigrants, for example. But, it’s all in the twist of wording to make unlawful things to mean something more Christian like, that we are to aide and abet a criminal? Sorry guys, I’m all about law and order, not to circumvent the law so that Christians can have phony piety of charity to the lawless.

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