White Christian Nationalism is not Christian or patriotic, shown as a flag,

Jesus Was Not and Will Never Be a Christian Nationalist

This title borrows words from the Right Reverand Dr. Bonnie Perry, Michigan’s eleventh diocesan Episcopal Bishop. The emphatic statement that Jesus was not, and will never be, a Christian nationalist was the thrust of her presentation. She spoke about a month ago at a conference titled ‘White Christian Nationalism: Politics Masquerading as Religion’. (More from Bishop Perry below).

The conference featured diverse attendees and speakers who assembled at Detroit’s distinguished Marygrove Conservancy. It was about fifty people in total. The session called for an end to the misuse and theft of Christianity, to not let it go to the Christian nationalist deception. I attended out of growing desire to hear a Christian response to ongoing social upheaval.

Christian Nationalist rejection session at Marygrove Conservancy, whose mission statement (pictured here) revolves around competence, compassion, and commitment.

So, add this conference to the broad notable list of important social justice efforts pushed by women. This 4th annual session was coordinated and delivered by Women Confronting Racism. These women are educators and helpers who work against implicit and explicit racial biases.

Speaking Out on the White Christian Nationalist Assault

First of all, note that these speakers (and the coordinators) took brave steps to be there and speak up. So, bravo! They are a great example of what Christians need if the faith is not to be hijacked, misrepresented, and smothered.

The White Christian Nationalist Grows and Feeds on Fear

Understandably, there was not a Christian nationalist in evidenceat the session. Not that they would have been in any danger; these were all peaceful loving people. However, even at this session, residual effects of fear-mongering might have been in evidence. This examines why these speakers had to be brave.

More than once, during breaks and Q&A, church people said they needed to be sensitive to fears and expectations, within congregations and governing organizations. Groups are concerned about preserving tax exempt statuses, which tends to throttle some conversation. This, though the Christian nationalist community does not have any such reservation, having no worry about church-state separation.

During a break I spoke with a man who introduced himself as an ardent Zionist, which did not seem a fit with the agenda. He said he was there to check on what was being said. The Christian nationalist enjoys a web of support.

Some Speaker Takeaways

Given the logistics, I did not get to hear all the speakers. So, here are partial takeaways.


Ms. Crider introduced herself as an unapologetic Christian. She talked in a practical manner about things we need to be aware of and how we need to act to be loving and preserve the Christian faith. Her talk was distinctive for its energy and action orientation. Some summarized points she made:

  • Racism gets experienced in church and nothing gets said. In loving caring ways, you can work through this. This might be your “self” journey. It is not right to sit back and say “it doesn’t matter too much”. You can usually pick out the bully, the victim, and the bystander in confrontational situations.
  • There is ‘trauma’ DNA to be aware of, and so many people are go-go-going that they are not even processing what is going on around them. People go from being wounded to lashing out.
  • We have the power and the dominion; we have to unwrap the radical love. The issues often have to be moved from the head to the heart.
  • Through a structured approach, you can understand what to focus upon (what to improve upon), which in turn enables you to help others.

Rabbi Jeffrey Falick, The Birmingham Temple

Secular Humanistic Rabbi Falick gave a broad yet detailed talk that associated Christian nationalist interests to laws and social issues. He said “America is a Christian nation, and it is more than just a headcount.”

The Rabbi said conservative Christianity crosses many groups, and that they are a ruling financial and political subset of America. Christian nationalism as it has evolved includes Protestants and Catholics, and it concerns itself with the “conversions of nations and peoples.” Many groups have contributed to the rise of this nationalism, including the powerful Federalist Society, most of which are blatantly racist. Christian nationalist religious sects, and the supportive organizations, are against separation of church and state. He said “Christian nationalists are indistinguishable from white Christian nationalists.”

Characteristics of the Christian nationalist effort, as shared by Rabbi Falick:

  • Claim to have a special relationship with God, giving them unique and privileged influence.
  • They foment immigration issues, while contending they are taking America back for God.
  • They promote an explicitly white rosy view of America, while taking advantage of constitutional rights.

The Rabbi provided statistics estimating the large number of Christian nationalist practitioners and supports.  He said nationalists are interpreting that the founders meant America as a Christian nation, not really for all, and that nationalists now see themselves as like the founders. According to Falick, Christian nationalism grew substantially in the 1950s and again in the 1980s, when they were pulled into politics and gained leverage and support through law. There are no laws prohibiting establishment of religious sects. He cited Regan and “the moral majority” as Christian nationalist tools. The Rabbi declined to address a question on Christian Zionism (informative hour-long video here on Christian Zionism, the first 10 minutes gives the summary).

Christian nationalists include the large powerful group of Christian Zionists.

More on the Christian Nationalist Movement from Bishop Perry

Bishop Perry’s talk can be seen here. The transcript is also available there (recommended), as well as suggested reading options. She spoke passionately. Among the points she made:

  • If you are talking about faith and love and Jesus Christ, there is nothing Christian nationalist about it.
  • White Christian nationalism has said yes to power over government and people, white supremacy, breaking up families, mob rule, and authoritarianism. All this runs contrary to Jesus and Christianity.
  • Righteous anger is okay against a political ideology that poses as Christianity and undermines democracy. “I’m angry that a hate-filled political ideology has co-opted my religion and stolen our flag”.
  • White Christian Nationalism is the latest in a long legacy of assualts on Christianity. Therefore, this is more sin against the faith.
  • Christians need to learn, live, and love in the face of White Christian nationalism. So, it is up to get to the point where we can call it out and name it for what it is. We cannot stay silent and must get to the point where “we may proclaim Christ’s love boldly with confidence”.

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

It was great to gather and hear from peaceful loving Christians. We must keep getting together, building understanding, and trusting.

Traditional (non-nationalist) Christians have long been turning the other cheek. So, let’s wake and go forth, ye Christian believers.