On ‘Christian nationalism’

Several politicians have said recently that they describe themselves as “Christian nationalists.”

This story discusses the trend:

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, and other conservatives have called on Americans to embrace Christian nationalism in recent days, drawing intense backlash from some fellow Christians and non-religious individuals alike.

In Saturday (July 24) remarks to the conservative Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in Florida, Greene argued that Christian nationalism is “a good thing.”

“That’s not a bad word,” the GOP congresswoman said. “That’s actually a good thing. There’s nothing wrong with leading with your faith….If we do not live our lives and vote like we are nationalists—caring about our country, and putting our country first and wanting that to be the focus of our federal government—if we do not lead that way, then we will not be able to fix it.”

Her remarks drew accusations that she was a “Nazi” and comparisons to the Taliban, the Afghan militant group that enforces an extremist version of Islamic law. Other Republican lawmakers have touted the ideology and taken aim at the long-standing principle of the separation of church and state in recent months.

“Christian nationalism is the belief that the American nation is defined by Christianity, and that the government should take active steps to keep it that way. Popularly, Christian nationalists assert that America is and must remain a ‘Christian nation’—not merely as an observation about American history, but as a prescriptive program for what America must continue to be in the future,” Dr. Paul D. Miller, professor of the practice of international affairs and co-chair for global politics and security at Georgetown University, explained in a 2021 article for Christianity Today.

So, what do I think about this from the Latter-day Saint perspective? I would not describe myself as a “Christian nationalist,” and I don’t think the Church supports Christian nationalism, but I think the opposition to such a description is WAY over the top compared to the supposed threat. And there are some points of the Christian nationalist perspective that are worth considering.

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Can we get a refund for all that money the U.S. sent to Ukraine?

I did warn you.

I warned you that Ukraine was corrupt and that the U.S. spending was mostly about making rich the many U.S. defense contractors. I warned you that the Ukrainian government had links to neo-Nazis. I warned you that the Ukrainian and U.S. governments were using propaganda to support U.S. involvement in the war. I warned you that U.S. Senator Mitt Romney was using the conflict to discuss nuclear war with Russia.

But of course Latter-day Saints are just as easy to fool as other people, despite the many messages from the prophets telling us to promote peace and avoid war. If only we had followed the prophet President Nelson, who said this in early April regarding the war in Ukraine:

“I have been to Ukraine and Russia many times. I love those lands, the people and their languages. I weep and pray for all who are affected by this conflict,” he said. “As a Church, we are doing all we can to help those who are suffering and struggling to survive. We invite all to continue to fast and pray for all the people being hurt by this calamity.”

“Any war is a horrifying violation of everything the Lord Jesus Christ stands for and teaches. The Savior commanded us to turn the other cheek, to love our enemies and to pray for those who despitefully use us. It can be painfully difficult to let go of anger that feels so justified. It can seem impossible to forgive those whose destructive actions have hurt the innocent. And yet, the Savior admonished us to ‘forgive all men.’”

“My call today, my dear brothers and sisters, is to end the conflicts that are raging in your heart, your home, and your life. Bury any and all inclinations to hurt others — whether those inclinations be a temper, a sharp tongue, or resentment for someone who has hurt you. … We are followers of the Prince of Peace. Now more than ever, we need the peace only He can bring. How can we expect peace to exist in the world when we are not individually seeking peace and harmony?”

The U.S. position should have always been to promote peace talks and an end to the violence, not to send billions of dollars to fuel further war. How much U.S. money has been wasted on this war so far? in the range of $70 billion. When you add that to the trillions spent in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East, you begin to understand the foundation of the massive inflation in the U.S. we are all suffering today. Deficit spending leads to money-printing, and money-printing IS inflation. (Yes, it is true that the pandemic handouts — most of which went to the rich on Wall Street — and other government spending is also at fault, but without the wars we would be in much better shape). So, if you are wondering why gas is at $4.75 a gallon and a loaf of bread costs twice what it did two years ago, you have your answer: military spending and other government handouts.

Meanwhile, the press has suddenly discovered that Ukraine was and always has been corrupt and not a good place to invest billions of U.S. tax dollars.

Zelenskyy’s weekend firings of his top prosecutor, intelligence chief and other senior officials have resurfaced those concerns and may have inadvertently given fresh attention to allegations of high-level corruption in Kyiv made by one outspoken U.S. lawmaker…

…In October and then again in December 2021, as the U.S. and others were warning of the increasing potential for a Russian invasion, the Biden administration was calling out Zelenskyy’s government for inaction on corruption that had little or nothing to do with Russia.

“The EU and the US are greatly disappointed by unexplained and unjustifiable delays in the selection of the Head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor Office, a crucial body in the fight against high-level corruption,” the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv said on Oct. 9.

“We urge the selection commission to resume its work without further delays. Failure to move forward in the selection process undermines the work of anti-corruption agencies, established by Ukraine and its international partners,” it said. That special prosecutor was finally chosen in late December but was never actually appointed to the position. Although there are indications the appointment will happen soon, the dismissal of the prosecutor general could complicate the matter.

It is not an accident that this Associated Press story appeared on U.S. government-promoted NPR. this week Haven’t you noticed a shift in the coverage on Ukraine lately? Haven’t you noticed that some of your neighbors are taking down their Ukrainian flags? The truth about the corruption in Ukraine and the Biden family’s connections to that corrupt government are starting to leak out. And while we all should have sympathy for the Ukrainians suffering from Russian aggression, the truth is something we should have known from the beginning: this never was anything that should have involved the U.S. government.

Oh well, $70 billion down the drain. No big deal, right?

The Roberts Supreme Court and religious liberty

In this recent post on the Roe v. Wade decision I discussed how the Supreme Court corrected decades of judicial activism on the issue of abortion.

The Supremes are also correcting judicial activism when it comes to religious liberty.

A study in the Supreme Court Review shows that the Supreme Court with John Roberts as the chief justice sides with religious groups 81 percent of the time. That compares to only 46 percent of the time during Justice Earl Warren’s tenure (1953 to 1969), 51 percent of the time during the Warren Burger Court (1969–1986) and 58 percent when William H. Rehnquist was chief justice (1986–2005).

And most frustrating for the many anti-Trump Latter-day Saints, three of the six pro-religious liberty justices on the Roberts court were appointed by the much-pilloried former president. (Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett).

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a clear position on religious liberty: it is one of the few political issues in which the Church does not pull any punches. The Church newsroom pointed out a week ago that Church leaders have spoken out in favor of religious liberty 13 times in the last year.

President Oaks summed up the Church’s perspective: “Religious freedom is a fundamental feature of our religious doctrine. The restoration of the fullness of Christian doctrine teaches us that God created and put His children on earth to grow spiritually by making right choices between good and evil consistent with His commandments…Freedom of choice is, therefore, fundamental to God’s plan.”

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