Leaders from Christian churches across the country have come together to denounce Christian Nationalists, those who believe that the United States should be dominantly and explicitly Christian in its laws, practices, and citizens.
Members of a group known as Christians Against Christian Nationalism released a statement on Monday relaying its mission and asking other Christians to join them. “Christian nationalism seeks to merge Christian and American identities, distorting both the Christian faith and America’s constitutional democracy,” the statement reads. “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.”
In the past few years, experts have warned that, like white nationalism, Christian nationalism is on the rise. Christians Against Christian Nationalism points to hate crimes against non-Christian houses of worship by white nationalists in the past few years as proof of this ideology permeating. In the last year alone, terrorist attacks at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, the Christchurch mosque in New Zealand, the Poway synagogue, and others have been committed by religiously motivated white nationalists.
“Christian nationalism also reveals itself in less dramatic, but still harmful ways that can marginalize Americans who aren't Christian and send the un-American message that there are second-class faiths,” said Amanda Tyler, Executive Director of BJC, the Baptist religious freedom organization behind Christians Against Christian Nationalism.
Since his presidential campaign, many have blamed the newfound popularity of Christian Nationalism on Donald Trump, based on his history targeting minority faith groups. In 2015, then-candidate Trump said, if elected, he would implement a database to track Muslims in the U.S., and did not rule out giving Muslims an ID noting their religion. Later, he successfully implemented a ban on citizens from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. In 2017, he said that “some very fine people” were part of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville during which they chanted “Jews will not replace us.” His administration has also been a major supporter of anti-abortion legislation that attempts to implement reproductive laws based on Christian beliefs.
In its first day online, Christians Against Christian Nationalism has already received affirming support. Christians from all 50 states have signed in support of the statement so far. “The large and diverse response we've received in just the first 24 hours of this campaign shows that Christians from many different sections of American life share our concerns about Christian nationalism and want to take a stand against it,” said Tyler.
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.