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"Father Knows Best" picture from a simpler time before anyone named the term, "Christian Nationalism." From

Christian Nationalism isn’t new. I had just never heard the name before. But it’s been in front of my eyes for a long time. It explains behavior and choices I attributed to the lunatic fringe, and it fills in missing pieces understanding today’s politics.

Lunatic Fringe Ramblings

I remember a late-night conversation with my wife, Tina, and me back in the 1990s after President Clinton did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky. A friend told us that US and world leaders regularly meet to plan a coming one-world government. They strip naked and meet outside in the woods at night somewhere in Europe to make sure nobody eavesdrops on their secret plans. More than 25 years later, I still cannot shake the image in my head of government leaders sitting around naked in the woods, plotting to take over the world. I wonder what they do about mosquitos.

In September, 2010, I struck up a conversation with an older guy in a park. He told me that liberals are taking over the country, and, sooner or later, conservatives must rise up in an armed rebellion to take our country back.

I dismissed these as ramblings from the lunatic fringe. I was wrong.

Christian Nationalism = Christian Nation?

I was also wrong when I joined with people who said the United States was founded on Christian ideals. Yes, we believe in freedom of religion, we said, but that really means freedom to worship God in our own way. Today’s leaders want to worship anything they choose, which means true Christianity is under attack, and we need to win the coming battle if we want to keep God’s blessing on the United States.

But the truth is, our country’s early founders came from a variety of religious backgrounds. The original colonists did not leave state-sponsored European churches only to start another state-sponsored church on this side of the Atlantic. They wanted freedom to worship as they saw fit. Some framers of our constitution, such as John Adams, were strong Christians. Others, such as Benjamin Franklin, not so much. Thomas Jefferson kept slaves, fathered children with at least one slave, and at age 77, put together his own Bible by removing references to Jesus’s supernatural actions because he did not believe in the supernatural.

Today, influential Christian Nationalist groups such as WallBuilders argue that our early leaders were all Christian and God supernaturally blessed the United States. WallBuilders founder, David Barton, in his book, “The Jefferson Lies,” claimed Jefferson never created his own bible and never fathered children from a slave. His book rocketed to the best seller list, until historians denounced it and the original publisher withdrew it. “The Jefferson Lies” is itself a lie. The very bible Barton claims Jefferson never created sits on public display at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of American History. And DNA tests with Jefferson’s modern descendants show the link to Sally Hemings, one of his slaves.

One Christian Nationalism lie of many.

Prayers Under God

Several years ago, I joined in anger about taking “under God” from the US Pledge of Allegiance. I should have done more homework. A Socialist minister named Francis Bellamy published the original pledge in The Youth’s Companion on September 8, 1892. Bellamy hoped the pledge would work for citizens in any country. In 1923, we customized it for the United States. And in 1954, in response to the Communist threat of that era, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words “under God.” Which means, complaining today about removing “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance is like complaining about suppressing Shakespeare in its original Klingon.

I also joined in complaining that banning prayer in public schools was persecution. Next thing you know, we’ll be like North Korea.

The facts are less apocalyptic. According to the Middle Tennessee State University Free Speech Center, in Engel vs. Vitale in 1962, the US Supreme Court ruled that school-sponsored prayer in public schools violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment. “The case involved a 22-word nondenominational prayer recommended to school districts by the New York Board of Regents. The Union Free School District in New Hyde Park, N.Y., adopted the recommendation and instituted a practice whereby teachers led students in the prayer every morning. The practice was voluntary, and students could be excused without punishment upon written request from their parents.”

The US Supreme Court ruled against these prayer sessions. Justice Hugo Black wrote the majority ruling, concluding with, “government in this country should stay out of the business of writing or sanctioning official prayers and leave that purely religious function to the people.”

That and subsequent rulings generated controversy and criticism. Lead plaintiff, Steven Engel, was Jewish, and reported that he and family members suffered obscene phone calls, taunts, and community ostracism after the ruling. Sound familiar?

Today, Christian Nationalists distort truth again by claiming that the Supreme Court outlawed Christian prayer in schools. But this was never true. The Supreme Court ruled against school-sponsored prayer.

Christian Nationalism – Philosophy of Lies

Christian nationalism is a cultural framework— a collection of myths, traditions, symbols, narratives, and value systems— that idealizes and advocates a fusion of Christianity with American civic life.

Whitehead, Andrew L.; Perry, Samuel L.. Taking America Back for God (p. 10). Oxford University Press

Christian Nationalism rests on a foundation of lies.

  • God blessed the United States as a Christian nation.
  • In the past 150 years, our nation lost our Christian way.
  • Today, Christianity is under attack everywhere.
  • True Christians must eliminate those threats, using any means necessary.

Many Christian Nationalists also believe God lifted up a leader to make our country great again. These lies lead to bad conclusions based on distorted Bible interpretations to justify chasing political power.

Christian Nationalism in History

A forerunner to Christian Nationalism started long before anyone on the east side of the Atlantic knew our planet had a western hemisphere. From 1096 to roughly 1300, misguided popes and other European religious leaders incited Christian crusaders into ill-conceived wars to conquer Jerusalem and other Middle Eastern territory. The Crusades mostly failed. More than a million people died.

The United States pushed lies farther with slavery. Slave owners defended it with misapplied Bible verses such as Ephesians 6:5-7.

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people,


Since the Bible commanded slaves to obey their masters, anyone attacking slavery also attacked the Bible. And since slaves were only 3/5 of a human being, buying and selling people as property, and the abuse that went with it, must be okay. Even the US Supreme Court ruled against slaves in the 1857 Dred Scott decision.

For much of the 19th century, many Americans believed God gave them a manifest destiny to conquer North America. This led to war with Mexico and unimaginable abuses against Native Americans, including forced marches from Georgia to Oklahoma, systematically breaking treaties, stealing land, and relegating survivors to the least desirable land tracts.

Given our systemic abuse of African descendants and Natives over our history, why would today’s racial strife surprise anyone? Is it any wonder that today’s Native reservations are pockets of misery and mistrust? Maybe, if we had made more true Christian choices throughout history, our country would have more friends and face fewer threats today.

Leadership, Flawed People, and the Bible

In the wake of Covid, the George Floyd murder, QAnon, the US 2020 presidential election, and more, wave after wave after wave of lies flew around the internet. How could anyone allow the mainstream media to brainwash them into believing Biden won against God’s appointed messenger? We all know Trump is flawed, but we also know God works through flawed people. We’re supposed to obey our rulers, flawed or not. Anyone who questions that must be hostile to God. Why are so many people so full of hate against Christian principals? Something big is coming and haters had better get on the right side. Or else. WWG1WGA.

Don’t fall for lies like this. We are supposed to respect our leaders, but the Bible does not command us to blindly obey. The very concept of human leadership was a concession from God to the Hebrews who demanded it. In 1 Samuel, chapter 8, God told us the consequences.

So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead[b] us, such as all the other nations have.”

But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”

1 Samuel:4-9, NIV, from

God really does work through flawed people. King David might be the most famous example. He was a man after God’s own heart, even though he went on to disobey God by committing murder and rape. He repented, but lost much of his popularity as a ruler. And his family life nosedived when his oldest son, Amnon, raped Tamar, Amnon’s half-sister. Another son, Absalom, ultimately murdered Amnon to avenge Tamar. How’s that for dysfunctional family dynamics? Read the story yourself in 2 Samuel.

We universally associate names of other flawed people, like Nero, Hitler, Stalin, and more with pure evil. Yet, didn’t Paul tell us in Romans Chapter 13 that God puts all rulers in place and we need to obey them?

13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

Romans, Chapter 13, verses 1-2, New International Version, from

Not so fast. First, the context leading up to chapter 13 talks about community issues around Jewish and Gentile believers. I recently read a persuasive commentary suggesting that chapter 13 might be instructions for gentile Christian believers of that era to obey and contribute to Jewish temple authority, not political leadership.

But even if we interpret Romans 13 as an instruction to obey governmental authority, we must also heed the precedent from Acts 5:29, when Peter and other apostles responded to religious leaders of their day who wanted to stifle early Christianity:

29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!…”

Acts Chapter 5, verse 29, New International Version, from

So when a president tries to nullify an election, Christians have no obligation to blindly obey. Christians may have an obligation to protest if God calls for it.

And then, on Jan. 6, 2021, a mob bent on overturning the 2020 US presidential election election stormed the US Capitol. Skip to about the eight minute mark in this video for a sickening display of perverting God’s word when a few rioters prayed for God’s blessing after battling police to illegally occupy the US Senate Chamber.


As I write this in early 2024, 74 percent of Republicans still believe the lie that Biden stole the 2020 election, and the internet continues to amplify Christian Nationalist lies. God blessed America, but we’ve lost our way, and now Christianity is under attack. To earn back God’s blessing, we need to make America great again by returning to an earlier era where “Father Knows Best” represented our view of ourselves, men went to work, women took care of the house and kids, we voted with paper ballots, and counted them by hand.

Donald Trump posted "God Made Trump" on his Truth Social platform, Friday, Jan. 5, 2024. See

Why do so many people buy into these lies?

Because we really are in the middle of a storm. Global economic conditions challenge our hard-won prosperity, demographics are changing, gender roles are murky, the middle class is declining, people are turning away from the church, and pornography is everywhere, fueled by a never-ending tsunami of social media content. Is it any wonder that many people are scared? That’s why messages like, “The system is rigged,” “I am your voice,” and “I am your retribution” resonate.

Another, more chilling message also resonates.

They’re poisoning the blood of our country, that’s what they’ve done.

Donald Trump, at a New Hampshire, rally, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023

But even given today’s turmoil, how does any Christian reconcile rhetoric like this with Jesus’s greatest commandment?

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:36-40 from

Instead of sacrificing our democracy to preserve an illusion of stability, maybe we should reflect on Psalm 23. Verse 4 says,

Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

Psalm 23, verse 4. From

So, What?

I am a Christian because evidence forced me to change my view of the world. One day, I’ll write a blog post about that. For now, I learned that it’s not easy to challenge fundamental assumptions I formed over my whole life. But I had no choice but to follow the evidence where it led.

Anyone tempted to embrace Christian Nationalism should carefully examine their view of the world. Compare Christian Nationalism assumptions and rhetoric to actual evidence and Biblical guidance. Why bother? Because God and past generations of people really did bless the United States with freedom, not because of Christian Nationalism, but maybe in spite of it. That blessing is even more at risk today than ever, but not the way Christian Nationalism preaches. If we fall prey to Christian Nationalism lies, then we will sign away our freedom. If we truly believe in our constitution and Biblical principals, then we must make sure our society maintains and upholds those principals.

A Couple References

  • Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States, Andrew Whitehead and Samuel L. Perry, Oxford University Press, 2022
  • The Flag and the Cross: White Christian Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy, Philip S. Gorski and Samuel L. Perry, Oxford University Press, 2022