Strategic Void


I’ve been involved in numerous presentations addressing the threat of what’s often termed Christian Nationalism to our democracy. This ideology seeks to establish a governance model where Christians permanently hold power, fostering what David Elcott describes as an “illiberal democracy” where everyone’s rights hinge on the whims of a ruling, Christian elite.

I want to make it clear: In my opinion, Christian Nationalism does not align with Jesus’ teachings nor does it respect our beautiful, albeit flawed, constitution and bill of rights.

Christians are best positioned to counteract Christian Nationalism. However, in many of these discussions, there seems to be a prevailing sense of helplessness among both presenters and attendees.

It’s essential to grasp the history, social dynamics, and current agenda of the White Nationalist movement. But too often, there’s a lack of effective, replicable, and practical strategies. Without a clear plan, our responses typically fall into two categories:

  • Opposing Christian Nationalism in an “us vs. them” dynamic that inadvertently fuels the movement.
  • Remaining passive, which only strengthens the movement as silence is often seen as approval.

Feedback from across the country suggests this strategic void is widespread. This raises critical questions:

  1. Are Christians lacking imagination?
  2. Are Christians choosing to be passive?

Since starting my work in 2015, I’ve focused on opposing Christian Nationalism, a term I didn’t initially use. This movement’s inclination to dehumanize Muslims, Jews, Indigenous people, and others is deeply concerning. It’s clear we have years of significant effort ahead. I’ve given over 400 talks and other work encouraging unity against this threat.

During the COVID pandemic, I consulted people from Atheists to Zoroastrians on potential strategies. Our diverse traditions provide strategies that are often overlooked. These discussions inspired Paths to Understanding to develop the following approaches:

  1. Christians publicly embracing and advocating for the deeper aspects of Jesus’ teachings, as discussed in my book, Go and Do Likewise, which counters many Christian Nationalist arguments.
  2. Encouraging gatherings like a Potluck for Democracy, where people of various traditions and backgrounds demonstrate mutual respect and understanding.
  3. Hosting partnerships like Let’s Go Together, where we come together to eat, work towards the common good, and stand united at public events.
  4. Showcasing engagement through our programs like Challenge 2.0 and the Paths to Understanding Podcast, where diverse individuals debate current issues.

We all have a role to play in mitigating the threats of Christian Nationalism and other authoritarian tendencies. When we come together, we can reinforce our commitment to seeing every individual as a valued member of “We The People.”

It’s time for all of us to move beyond divisive dynamics and passivity, and actively collaborate for a better future.

Photo by Sivani Bandaru on Unsplash