What does ‘Christian Nationalism’ Even Mean?

Published October 25, 2022

WORLD Opinions

Perhaps it’s just indicative of my own slice of online evangelicalism, but the flurry around Christian nationalism seems to be reaching a zenith. Opposing sides are talking past one another, while often throwing verbal grenades, even as they seek to entrench their own views.

The debate unsettles me, and at present, I still find the term “Christian nationalism” unhelpful. I would not claim the label for myself. But so much of its usage depends on the person wielding it. Some take the term to mean that America is in a unique national covenant with God. That, I squarely reject. Some use the term to describe the government taking active steps to promote a Christian culture. I’m not sure what that means, and perhaps there are varying degrees to which that is possible without important lines getting crossed. (Christmas is, after all, a federal holiday.)

Of late, I’ve seen critics on Twitter and the media intimate that if one wants American law to ban same-sex “marriage,” ban abortion, ban transgender “medicine,” repeal no-fault divorce, and promote the natural family, then, well, that’s Christian nationalism. If so, I’m guilty as charged.

Where does that leave me?

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EPPC Fellow Andrew T. Walker, Ph.D., researches and writes about the intersection of Christian ethics, public theology, and the moral principles that support civil society and sound government. A sought-after speaker and cultural commentator, Dr. Walker’s academic research interests and areas of expertise include natural law, human dignity, family stability, social conservatism, and church-state studies. The author or editor of more than ten books, he is passionate about helping Christians understand the moral demands of the gospel and their contributions to human flourishing and the common good. His most recent book, out in May 2021 from Brazos Press, is titled Liberty for All: Defending Everyone’s Religious Freedom in a Secular Age.

Photo by Steven Kamenar on Unsplash

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