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Coalition of left-leaning pastors warn against Christian nationalism

Coalition of left-leaning pastors warn against Christian nationalism

The Right Rev. Michael Curry, the first African-American Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, gives a sermon at his installation service at the Washington National Cathedral in the District of Columbia on Sunday, November 1, 2015. | Washington National Cathedral/Danielle Thomas

A coalition of mostly left leaning pastors have joined a campaign warning against Christian nationalism.

Among the endorsers of the campaign's statement is bishop and primate of The Episcopal Church, the Rev. Michael Curry, a supporter of same-sex marriage who presided over the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

The campaign was recently launched by the Baptist Joint Committee, a liberal faith-based group of attorneys, Capitol Hill insiders, ministers and scholars. 

The group's statement says: “As Christians, our faith teaches us everyone is created in God’s image and commands us to love one another. As Americans, we value our system of government and the good that can be accomplished in our constitutional democracy. Today, we are concerned about a persistent threat to both our religious communities and our democracy — Christian nationalism.

The logo for the Baptist Joint Committee's Christians Against Christian Nationalism. | Screenshot: YouTube

“Christian nationalism seeks to merge Christian and American identities, distorting both the Christian faith and America’s constitutional democracy. Christian nationalism demands Christianity be privileged by the State and implies that to be a good American, one must be Christian. It often overlaps with and provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation. We reject this damaging political ideology and invite our Christian brothers and sisters to join us in opposing this threat to our faith and to our nation,” the statement argues.

“Whether we worship at a church, mosque, synagogue, or temple, America has no second-class faiths. All are equal under the U.S. Constitution. As Christians, we must speak in one voice condemning Christian nationalism as a distortion of the gospel of Jesus and a threat to American democracy,” it added.

National Baptist leaders endorsing and signing the statement opposing Christian nationalism include: Paul Baxley, executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship; Jeffrey Haggray, executive director of American Baptist Home Mission Societies; Paula Dempsey, director of partnership relations at Alliance of Baptists; Aidsand Wright-Riggins and Hannah McMahan, co-directors of the New Baptist Covenant; Mitch Randall, executive director of EthicsDaily.com; and Amanda Tyler, executive director of BJC.

Not every Christian group shares those sentiments.

“Any group that equates worshiping at a mosque as the same as in a #church is NOT a #Christian group. Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing,” the Holy Word of God Church stated in a reaction to a report on the campaign.

Emerald Robinson, chief White House correspondent for One America News Network, also scoffed at the campaign.

“This must be a Babylon Bee parody: a small gang of liberals (from churches that don't have any followers) are warning people against ‘Christian nationalism.’ Ah yes, the great danger of our time for Christians,” she noted in a tweet.

Andrew Whitehead, a Clemson sociologist studying Christian nationalism, religion, family and disability, encouraged support for the campaign in a tweet on Monday

“Christian nationalism is—without a doubt—a threat to a pluralistic democratic society. Strong support of Christian nationalism ultimately desires the silencing & exclusion of its opponents from the public sphere. It is un-American,” he wrote.

 “Christian nationalism is—without a doubt—a threat to Christianity. The desperate quest f/ power inherent in Christian nationalist ideology is antithetical to Jesus’ message. It is unchristian,” he added.

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