There is no such thing as Christian nationalism. It’s an oxymoron. Come to think of it, so are Jesus and those who confuse Jesus with power. “You are a king, then?” asks Pilate. Jesus responds, “You have said so!” You, not I, say so. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke paint pictures of Jesus alone in the wilderness, where the Satan (the Twister/the Liar) puts him to the test. “All these (nations) I will give you, if you fall down and worship me,” says the Twister. Jesus does not bow down, and for that, he is crucified. Jesus refuses to be a king. “I have come to bear witness to the truth,” says Jesus to Pilate. The idea of a Christian nation has no biblical footing. It’s a hoax. It’s a lie.

Refusal of Special Privileges

My faith tradition has no desire to achieve religious supremacy or special privilege. The organizational meeting of the Presbyterian Church in this country adopted eight Preliminary Principles. The FIRST principle declared the following views about religion and the civil authorities:

We consider the rights of private judgment, in all matters that respect religion, as universal, and unalienable: we do not even wish to see any religious constitution aided by the civil power, further than may be necessary for protection and security, and, at the same time, equal and common to all others.

First preliminary principle, adopted in 1789 by the first general Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America

Parable about Here and Now: the Last Judgment

In Jesus’ parable of the last judgment, the King (the Sovereign) will gather all the nations and separate the goats from the sheep. It is no accident that national identity plays no part in the division between sheep and goats. The only thing that matters to the Sovereign is compassion. Period!

It’s a parable, of course, not a peek into the end of time. It’s about now. Jesus’ parable turns every nationalist claim on its head. The question is the same for all the nations: what are you doing for “the least” among you — the hurting among you, people in the cellar of the tower?

The sheep have no idea there is a reward. They just do it. The goats complain that, if only the Sovereign had told them the rules of the game, they would have fed the hungry, given drink to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger, clothed the naked, visited the sick and imprisoned. If you had just told us, we would have done it.

No claim to national exceptionalism stands the test. Christian nationalism is an oxymoron. No questions are asked about belief or religion. There is no, “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?” No, “What church do you belong to. No, “What’s your religion, your belief system?” There is one criterion. Only one: COMPASSION. “Insofar as you have done it to the least of these….”

Gordon C. Stewart, public theologian, Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness (2017, Wipf and Stock), Brooklyn Park, MN, March 14, 2023.