Since the assault on our capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, I have read and heard a good deal about “Christian” nationalism. The word nationalism by itself has the basic meaning of putting one’s country ahead of all others, especially in the realm of politics. It is a sort of “what is good for my country is good for the whole world” attitude. It can lead to a boasting sort of pride which looks down on other nations as inferior — whether in terms of its political system, its system of laws, its economy, its technology in numerous fields, its educational system, etc. The way I see it, one can be a Christian patriot without being a nationalist.
When the word “Christian” is added to nationalism this implies that any country which calls itself a Christian nation is specially favored by God above all other nations or countries. This can lead to a snooty pride which demeans all other belief systems and may excuse ungodly acts as sanctioned by God. For example, could a truly Christian nation enslave people for hundreds of years and still call itself Christian? If a democratic nation enacts laws which either impede or prohibit its citizens from exercising their right to vote, can it still be called Christian?
I believe there is such a thing as a nation strongly influenced by Christian principles such as compassion, honesty, justice and integrity. But when Christians and their churches promote a nationalism which is marked by hate, lies and injustice and is against the love of God and neighbor in any fashion, they have violated the teaching of Jesus found in Matthew 22:36-40. In my thinking, the words “Christian” and “nationalism” do not go together.
Herbert Hash Jr.