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Faith groups launch new courses in response to the surge in Christian nationalism

When pro-Trump supporters violently attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, many Christian leaders were horrified to see the rebels wearing and holding Christian signs, because many mobs prayed for God’s blessings for their activities.

These stark scenes have led some Christian leaders to gather to develop resources. They hope that these resources will help curb the recent surge in Christian nationalism, which they believe is dangerous not only to American democracy but also to their religious beliefs.Because many conservative Christians—especially white evangelicals—have accepted the former president Donald Trump, Other faith leaders in the religious world have developed a new curriculum to address “Heresy” beliefs The Christian Nationalist Movement.

Pastor Doug Padgett, executive director of Vote Common Good, and Amanda Taylor, who leads Christian opposition to Christian nationalism, told Weekly newspaper Political movements have been active in the United States for decades, but Trump embraces and encourages Christian nationalists. They stated that this has led to a surge in the popularity and visibility of the movement in the past few years.

Padgett said: “January 6 made it clear that these roots have been very, very deep in society and are now connected with many other very dangerous sports.” “This is, to some extent, an escalating change. Now it is not just a question of believers, but a question of the earth and the country.”

Taylor said that more than two years ago, the country began to see “increasing examples of Christian nationalism.” She said this includes “increasing violence.”She pointed out that Christian nationalism Relationship with white nationalism, Stressing that these beliefs were used to defend slavery in the South, the Jim Crow law, and apartheid. These connections were obvious during the rebellion, because many Trump supporters held Confederate flags or wore symbols that indicated links to white supremacist beliefs.

On January 6, at a rally in support of President Donald Trump in Washington, DC, a man holds a large wooden cross near the Washington Monument.
Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

The shared focus on the threat of Christian nationalism prompted Taylor’s organization to develop a new curriculum that church leaders can use as a resource to educate the community on ideological issues. Taylor said that “individual congregations or small groups” can use the course whether in seminars, discussions, or Bible studies. Pagitt and Tyler explained that many church leaders have reached out to seek resources, and they realize that there is a major gap in materials to solve the problem of Christian nationalism.

Dozens of pastors and Christian leaders in conservative states have planned to use the new curriculum that will be officially launched on July 6. Padgett’s group is working with the Christian Anti-Christian National Organization through an extensive pastoral network, paid advertising, and other means. Faith leader programs in states such as Texas, Georgia, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee will preach during the National Action Week after the launch.

The course is made up of Weekly newspaper, Provides a series of courses including questions and biblical references to help religious leaders discuss Christian nationalism with other believers. The material describes Christian nationalism as a “disturbing ideology” and defines it as “an idealized cultural framework that promotes the integration of Christianity and the lives of American citizens.”

The constitution prohibits the government from imposing any religious ideology. “Congress No laws shall be made to establish religion or prohibit its free exercise,” the First Amendment to the Constitution says. Although Christians and all religious groups enjoy the freedom to practice their beliefs without government interference, the government also prohibits religious Faith is imposed on the public.

Despite this core constitutional principle, Trump and many Republican lawmakers have advanced an agenda that blurs the boundaries of the founder’s separation of church and state. Conservative Christian voters — especially white evangelicals — responded enthusiastically. Export opinion surveys in 2016 and 2020 show that About eight out of ten White evangelicals voted for Trump in both elections.Famous Trump allies and conspiracy theorists – such as Mike Lindell – often Tout their religious beliefs Explain their continued support for the former president and his views on the 2020 election.

“Growing up in a small farming community in the Bible, I think being a good American means being a good Christian, and being a good Christian means being a good American. This is just a framework for me,” Texas Pastor Michael Mills of Fort Worth Agape Baptist Church told Weekly newspaperHe is one of the Christian leaders planning to use the new curriculum, which will be officially launched on July 6.

Trump supporters pray
On November 6, 2020, supporters of then-President Donald Trump prayed in front of the Maricopa County election department while counting votes in Phoenix.
OLIVIER TOURON / AFP via Getty Images

Mills explained that he finally realized that “combining the identity of Christians and Americans is actually hurting both.” Although the pastor said that it is difficult to change people’s perceptions, he said, “Attracted by the love of Jesus My Christian brothers and sisters must be the way forward.”

Stephen K. Reeves, the advocacy director of the Georgia Cooperative Baptist Church Scholarship, told Weekly newspaper He is “optimistic” about the new courses, and he plans to use them.

“In many fields, Christian nationalism is a default ideology and is rarely challenged. People are invited to think more deeply about what they might believe or see around them, so that they have the opportunity to change. I believe that a clear Christian perspective will be It’s very important to put it in this type of conversation. It’s important,” Reeves said.

Pastor Jillian Hankamer of the First Baptist Church in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania also plans to use new materials, he told Weekly newspaper She believes that Christian nationalism “has reached its peak because we have a president who does not mind using people of faith to promote his narcissistic needs for power and worship.” Hankamer said she did not “believe.” [Trump] They sincerely shared their beliefs, but saw an opportunity to use the power of evangelical voting-which is powerful-and relentlessly seized it. “

Dr. Heather Thompson Day, associate professor of communication and rhetoric at Colorado Christian University, author of Christian books It’s not your turn, Tell Weekly newspaper It is difficult to change people’s minds. Authors and scholars who have not participated in the new course emphasize that building personal relationships is the key.

“I am confident that I can strengthen the strength of the listener and reach out to friends and family who value their relationship. This is a job that must be done internally. We can’t just leave people saying “They can’t reach.” Especially as a Christian,” she said.

Thompson Day explained, “We can’t have conversations with the goal of changing people’s minds”, but we should “enter into relationships where we promise to see people’s value, even if we disagree with them, and over time, our relationship does indeed Will have an impact on them.”

Trump supporters pray
Supporters of then-President Donald Trump pray outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC on January 6.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Padgett, Taylor, and Christian leaders who plan to use these new materials hope that through group discussions, Bible studies, and one-on-one conversations, these resources can help change Christians’ views. Doctrine is disturbed. In their community. They also believe that it can be a tool to provide new perspectives for those who have never questioned the ideology of Christian nationalism before.

“I think hopeful is the right word,” Taylor said. “We are in this long-term game. You know, Christians oppose Christian nationalism. We have been on this single issue for two years. It will take a long time for us to dismantle an ideology. From the beginning there has been nothing. Being everywhere is part of the American experience.”

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