Speaking Out Against Christian Nationalism

UCC National Statement about January 6, 2021

UCC national leaders condemn insurrection in  racist takeover of the U.S. Capitol

FCC Williamstown Statement on Christian Nationalism

Reaffirming Christian Values and Our Democracy-Berkshire Eagle Ad January 20, 2021

October 17, 2021 FCC Second Hour on Christian Nationalism

Message from Rev. John Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, with 3 strategies to counter Christian nationalism:

  1. A good story beats a good argument. What are stories that have potential to shift hearts and minds in order to insert into the public narrative a progressive Christian voice?

  2. A changed life is more effective than a changed law.  “How the UCC changed my life” stories are the best way to enter the marketplace of ideas, so let’s share them.

  3. Love is the most effective antidote to fear.  Fundamentalism thrives on fear, so let us articulate a way of being church that is centered on love.

Here are some visual images that illustrate why we are alarmed by Christian nationalism, which is a clear and present danger. We are still learning more about what happened in our nation’s capital on January 6 and just how close we were to an outright constitutional crisis.

FCC has engaged with the issue of Christian nationalism in the following ways:

  • Berkshire Eagle Ad on Inauguration Day following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol Building

  • Hosted discussion of webinar by Christians Against Christian Nationalism entitled “Democracy Under Siege: Responding to Christian Nationalism”

  • Organized a panel discussion in March: “Christian Nationalism: How It Harms Us All – an Interfaith Discussion”

  • Second Hour breakout discussion groups about the U.S. flag in the sanctuary, with recommendation shared to church council.

Highlights from October 17 breakout room discussions:

We were impressed by the wide endorsement of this statement, which included 16 Baptist churches (not Southern), National Council of Churches, and Evangelical churches.

We need to be aware of the power of the Christian nationalist movement and address it with thoughtful and concerted action.

  • Christian nationalism is not aligned with the gospel of Jesus, as he exemplified it through his life.

  • Christian nationalism poses a real danger to those in our country who are of non-Christian faiths.

  • Christian nationalism undermines our pluralist democracy and the separation of church and state.

What should the church do about CN, which is OUR problem to address?

  • Practice Christianity (reclaiming it with a progressive voice)

  • Change the narrative about Christianity

  • Speak out and tell our own story

  • Use stories (and poetry, art, letters to the editor, podcasts) to illustrate how love expressed by Jesus through all his teachings has made a difference in our lives.  CN stories about Jesus being a powerful leader and controlling person is not Christianity.

Breakout room participants overwhelmingly supported bringing the statement by the Christians Against Christian Nationalism (https://www.christiansagainstchristiannationalism.org/statement) to the Church Council’s Nov. meeting to ask for its endorsement on behalf of FCC in order to take a public stand against CN.  Individuals may also sign the statement and are encouraged to do so.

FCC Interfaith Discussion on Christian Nationalism

Moderated by Rev. Mark Seifried, interim pastor at First Congregational Church Williamstown.  Panelists included Imam Bilal Ansari, Faculty Associate of Pastoral Theology, Director of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program at Hartford Seminary; Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church, USA; Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ; Rev. Sheila D. Sholes-Ross, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Pittsfield; and Rabbi Pamela Wax, Spiritual Care Coordinator at Westchester Jewish Community Services, White Plains, NY.

 

Additional Resources

Democracy and Faith Under Siege: Responding to Christian Nationalism

Skin in the Game – How Antisemitism Animates White Nationalism by Eric Ward

New Survey Shows 3 In 5 White Evangelicals Say Joe Biden Wasn’t Legitimately Elected from NPR (11min)

 

We invite you to share your comments, questions, or feedback

(organizer@firstchurchwilliamstown.org) about this issue as we continue to educate ourselves about Christian nationalism and actions we may take to oppose it.

To join our “Speaking out against Christian nationalism” listserve,