Letter to the Editor: The concern about Christian nationalism

Published 5:59 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Our country was founded on the principle of separation of church and state. We are free to practice our faith as we choose without interference or coercion from the government. This separation of church and state has allowed us to experience a rich universe of religions and beliefs. Our founding fathers did not want to repeat Europe’s history of wars and persecution caused in the name of religion.

Establishing a Christian nationalist theocracy in our country is a goal of an extreme fringe of evangelical Christians. Republican Speaker of the House of Representative Mike Johnson has advocated for Christian nationalism. His advocacy has not included Catholics, the Jewish faith, moderate Christians much less other faiths. Even mainline Christian denominations and moderate evangelicals are alarmed by the prospect of the erosion of the separation of church and state.      

The rest of the world is experiencing wars and persecution in the name of religion. Israel is fighting a war, at least partly, caused by religion. Factions in Sudan have fought numerous times because of religion. Iran and Afghanistan are ruled by Muslim theocracies. Establishment of a Christian nationalist theocracy would have the same tendency toward extreme zealotry and escalating crackdowns on freedoms and rights. Both the Muslim theocracies and Christian nationalism are marked by the domination and subjugation of women and anybody who is not a “true” believer. Republican Christian nationalists are denying women the right to make their own medical choices in many states. 

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The United States is on the brink of falling into the same trap as other countries that have endorsed a particular religion. While officially adopting Christianity as our government policy may appeal to some people, government involvement in our personal beliefs will restrict everyone’s rights, including Christians.     

Republican Speaker of the House of Representative Mike Johnson is upfront in his belief that the United States should be governed according to a severe and extreme form of Christian nationalist fundamentalism. Christian nationalists were active in the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol to overthrow the rightful election of President Biden.                                                                                                             

Republican Speaker Johnson has pursued a radical agenda that includes banning abortion, restricting LGBTQIA+ rights, promoting creationism, and undermining the separation of church and state. Prior to being elected, he was a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund. One of his positions included restricting insurance coverage for contraceptives. Alliance Defense Fund lawyers wrote the model for Mississippi’s anti-abortion legislation, leading to the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade which stripped privacy and medical rights from women. More alarmingly, Speaker Johnson is second in line to the Presidency after the Vice-President.

I am surprised that people feel compelled to impose their beliefs on others and dominate them. When we restrict other people’s rights, we are really limiting our own rights.

Joe Pacovsky

Hayward, MN