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To: Christians, Pastors, and Churches
An Appeal to Christians Against the False Doctrines of White Christian Nationalism
As members of Christian congregations in many parts of the United States, we are troubled by the misuse of our faith in support of white nationalism. We deplore the fact that white nationalists have been particularly zealous in hijacking Christian language and imagery, and are horrified by the continued political alignment of many Christian churches with the agenda of white nationalists.
The core Christian message is that God loves each human being abundantly. This love is revealed in Jesus’ life and teaching; it is for the whole world that God has given his only Son (John 3:16). It is for the blessing of many nations – not one – that God called Abraham. God’s plan has ever been for the entire world, for “all the families of the earth” (Genesis 12:3). It is therefore a grievous sin to misrepresent the person and witness of Christ by claiming a priority, in God’s order, for one racial or national group.
This is not the first time the body of Christ has experienced people of one nation asserting their ethnic supremacy; this was clearly the case in Germany during the Third Reich and in the ongoing oppression of people of color since the first Europeans arrived in the Americas. Even today, something similar could be said about the anti-democratic drift, or worse, tainting civic life in countries like Russia, Hungary, and Poland. The authoritarian rulers of each of those countries claim to be acting on the basis of Christian faith as they jail political opponents, deny food to asylum seekers, and violate even the most basic human rights.
Because every Christian belongs first, not to the body politic of his or her respective nation, but instead to the body of Christ, the Christian faith cannot be made to serve human constructs such as race, or ethnic identity, or even nation. Nations are not eternal, whereas the Body of Christ is. For the last several years the US government – even as many of its leaders claimed to be acting in the interest of Christian principles – separated children from bewildered, desperate parents at the US Southern border: a truly vile policy for which there can be no excuse. Such is the fruit of the white Christian nationalist imagination; such is its moral poverty. Looking forward, we implore our fellow Christians in the United States to reject such cruelty. The work of stewarding a nation is always rife with competing interests and moral quandaries; the Church must always hold fast to the standards of Christ, even when tempted by power and self-interest.
As fellow members in the Body of Christ, we urge you to let God's Word be your only rule of faith and practice. Indeed, to quote Scripture, we ask you to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1John 4:1). It is blasphemy to corrupt the witness of the Church in service to a national or racial agenda. If you know this to be true, let no fear about the reaction of others keep you from bearing witness to the truth or supporting those church leaders who do speak the truth, for whom we rejoice and for whose witness we give thanks.
"So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them..." (Genesis 1:27a)
We believe that God, who created us, has made us all, equally, the children of God.
We reject the notion that any human group is singularly dear to God.
"He (Jesus) sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, 'Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.'" (Mark 9:35)
We believe that Jesus wants his followers to seek opportunities for service to others rather than power over others.
We reject every attempt to make the teachings of Jesus a religious cloak for selfish political agendas or a pious justification for seeking or exercising power.
"There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28)
We believe that in Christ Jesus all human differences, perceived or imaginary, are abolished and everyone is invited to live out in the fullest possible way God’s justice, mercy, and transforming love.
We reject the idea that God has given any human group or nation a right to world domination.
Why is this important?
God calls us to explicitly reject every form of white Christian nationalism. We appeal to all Christians to affirm that Christ alone is the source of our faith, hope, and love. Interpretations of Christian faith tainted by racism, nationalism, or the desire for domination are idolatry.
Audrey Arechiga-Kajs, Fort Worth, TX
Elder Jeremy Auullt, Milwaukee, WI
Rev. Ivy Beckwith, Cleveland, OH
Dr. Lyla Best, Watford City, North Dakota
Rev. Lindsey Borden, New York, NY
Elle Peare Cason, New York, NY
Elder Peg Corwin, Endicott, NY
Rev. Chris Dela Cruz, Portland, OR
Jane Derickson, Highstown, NJ
Rev. Tom F. Driver, Ph. D, East Windsor, NJ
Rev. Alistair John Drummond, Invorgordon, Scotland
The Rev. Dr. Cheryl Ann Elfond, Endwell, NY
Elmer Ewing, Ithaca, NY
Rev. Dr. Bryan James Franzen, San Jose, CA
Elder Christine Gorman, New York, NY
Michèle Gorman, Concord, CA
Rev. Duncan Hanson, Ph.D., Seattle, WA
John Hesford, Red Wing, MN
Rev. Laura Jervis, New York, NY
Steve Knowles, Gonzales, CA
Anne Leader, Ph.D., Auburn, Al
Wendy Linscott, Howick, South Africa
Doug Linscott, Howick, South Africa
Angie Loannidis, Whitmore Lake, MI
Rev. Anne McAnelly, Santa Cruz, CA
Rebecca L. Mebert, Binghamton, NY
E.F. McGee, DDS, MBA
Rev. Michelle Moe, Phoenix, AZ
Rev. Kenneth Moe, Phoenix, AZ
Pastor Jethro Moore II, San Jose, CA
Rev. William E. Myers, Traverse City, MI
Rev. Dr. William C. Myers, Traverse City, MI
Rev. Cynthia Rose Parr, Marietta, GA
Rev. Stephen H. Phelps, New York, NY
Brooke Pierce, New York, NY
Rev. Steve Pinkston, San Jose, CA
Rev. Tomas Pistore, Kenton, OH
Rev. Cheryl Pyrch, Pennsylvania, PA
Pastor Catherine Renken, Kennesaw, GA
Mark Rutledge-Gorman, Portland, OR
Catherine Rutledge-Gorman, Portland, OR
Erica Ramirez, Ph.D.
Rev. Dr. Patrick J. Ryan, Bronx, NY
Margaret Bacon Schulze, San Francisco, CA
Rev. Dr. Joseph Sellepack, Broome County, NJ
Dr. Milton C. Sernett, Syracuse, NY
Rev. Byron Shafer, Ph.D., Highstown, NJ
Rev. Dr. J. Richard Short, Roswell, GA
Martha Somers, MD, South Point, OH
Rev. Andrew Stehlik, New York, NY
Rev. Henry Sun, Ph.D., Benicia, CA
Norman J. Teller, Schenectady, NY
Rev. Patricia Tull, Ph.D., Louisville, KY
Emrys Tyler, Pagosa Springs, CA
Frances Unsell, Darien, CT
Rev. Arthur O. Van Eck, Fife Lake, MI
Steve A. Wiggins, Ph.D., Hellertown, PA
Rev. George Williamson, New York, NY
Rev. Judy Wrought
Auburn Theological Seminary
Rutgers Presbyterian Church
(All biblical quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version.)