AS A CHRISTIAN, I REJECT CHRISTIAN NATIONALISM. It is a pox on Christianity, on the foundational ethics of our nation, and on Christ’s witness in the world. CN has been used to subjugate countries, justify uncontrolled access to guns, justify salvery, justify racism, justify White Supremacy, justify genocide of Native Peoples, justify anti-LGBTQIA actions, justify domination of women, justify anti-abortion actions, justify crushing of voting rights, justify maligning of the environment, justify unbridled corporate profiteering, justify poverty, and justify American arrogance. CN is a stigma in our national conscience, a twisting of our Constitution and poison to democracy.

Bonhoeffer’s COST OF DISCIPLESHIP was writtern in response to German-Christian Nationalism. In part, it was a critique of the German Church and German Lutheran Church which had knelt at the feet of fascism. He wrote on page 57: “We Lutherans have gathered like eagles around the carcase of cheap grace, and there we have drunk of the poison which has killed the life of following Christ.” I recall four Concordia College students meeting with Professor Eleanor Haney as the Student Exchange Committee to design an exchange program between Concordia and Virginia Union University, an all Black university. There is a picture of Jesus on the cross, looking down upon pictures of Frederick Douglas and Caesar Chavez at a rally in south Texas. A picture of three communion chalices gives witness to “All Are Welcome” at the Table of Jesus.

Luke 12:49-59 is about judging and division. Jesus comes to bring division. Not to justify the divisions created by Christian Nationalism, but to divide what is of Christ and what is contrary to the Will of God. What is of Christ is inclusive, welcoming, loving, just, global, educational, equality of opportunity, gender acceptance, nonviolent and committed to gun violence prevention. Indeed, the opposite of Christian Nationalism.

There have been occasions when in conversation I have had to utter, “I don’t know what Jesus you are talking about!” Our Church, our nation , needs to ask the same question. This I know: CN is not of Christ. In the words of the hymn, “Give me Jesus”, you can have all the rest! Peace!

Blessings and Peace!
Ron Letnes