3rd ANNUAL STANDOUT AGAINST CHRISTIAN NATIONALISM
WILLIAMSTOWN – The First Congregational Church of Williamstown invites the public to its 3rd Annual Standout Against Christian Nationalism on Saturday, January 6, 2024, from noon to 1 p.m. – the anniversary of the 2021 assault on the Capitol.
The standout will be on the front lawn of the church, located at 906 Main Street in Williamstown.
“Christian Nationalists want their beliefs to be the official national religion that governs our laws, our education, and our families,” says church deacon David Langston. “They would end the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion, and as Christians and as citizens, we stand in opposition to forsaking both Christian teaching as well as the Constitution.”
“The threat of Christian Nationalism has been growing over the past several years and has received a boost with the election of Rep. Mike Johnson as Speaker of the House,” said Betsy Burris, Church Moderator. “Johnson, who is second in line to the Presidency, actually claims that ‘[t]he separation of church and state is a misnomer’ and defines his ‘worldview’ as ‘the Bible.’  That may be his personal perspective, but it is wholly inappropriate for a public official serving a diverse democracy,” Burris noted.
“As a Christian church that rejects the Christian Nationalists’ definitions both of church and state, we encourage congregations in the Berkshires to stand up against the dangerous influence of people like Speaker Johnson and all those who support the Christian Nationalists’ abuse of the teachings of Christianity,” urged Sherwood Guernsey, church activist. “Reclaiming Christianity as a religion of love and equity, inclusiveness and justice, is the job of congregations like our own,” added Guernsey.
Please join us at the church at noon on Saturday, January 6, to register your protest against the Christian Nationalism movement in our country – or urge your own congregation or organization to do so.
UCC National Statement about January 6, 2021
FCC Williamstown Statement on Christian Nationalism
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:
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?
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.
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.
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.
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We invite you to share your comments, questions, or feedback
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,