Letter submitted to the editor of the Defiance Crescent-News.
Christian nationalism is the result of an unholy union between Evangelicalism and Republican politics. I pastored my first Evangelical church in the late 1970s. I didn’t know of one preacher who publicly supported Christian nationalism. Preachers taught congregants that there was a strict separation of church and state. As a Baptist pastor, I believed that church and state were two separate God-ordained spheres; and that neither should encroach upon the other.
By the early 1980s, thanks to Jerry Falwell and Paul Wyrich of Moral Majority fame, I began hearing talk of “taking America back for God.” Not any God, of course, but the Evangelical God of the Bible. What was birthed four decades ago has now turned into a full-grown predator, out to capture America for Jesus. There’s no king but Jesus, Evangelicals are fond of saying. What was uttered in an eschatological context is now expected — dare I say demanded — in the present.
Freedom of religion has now come to mean freedom for conservative Christians and submission to their interpretation of the Bible by all others. Never mind the fact that the United States is a secular state. Never mind the fact that the U.S. Constitution does not mention God, and the Declaration of Independence refers to, at best, a generic, deistic God. Christian nationalists want and demand that Americans prostrate themselves before their deity and submit to the teachings of the Bible. Well, the teachings that fit their peculiar theological and political narrative, anyway.
Christian nationalists demand preferential treatment for their religion. Christian nationalists demand teacher-led prayer and Bible reading in public schools, the posting of the Ten Commandments on classroom walls, and the banishment of library books for the positive portrayal of same-sex couples or daring to mention the existence of LGBTQ people. Showing that the word “White” should modify the term Christian nationalists, these soldiers for Jesus demand the removal from history books of any negative portrayal of Whites. In their minds, slavery was just a jobs training program.
Through the front doors of schools have come Evangelical groups such as Lifewise Academy. Their goal is to indoctrinate and evangelize school children. It is clear that Christian dominion is the goal. And if that fails? Civil war, of which the January 6 insurrection was a precursor of things to come if Christian nationalists don’t get their way.
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
Connect with me on social media:
Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.
You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.