Each day more signs point to a tremendous shift in American conservatism away from the prior consensus and toward the new nationalism of Donald Trump. This is evident not only in the recent National Conservatism Conference held in July in Washington, D.C., but also in the manifesto signed by a number of Christians who appear eager to embrace nationalism as compatible with Christian faith. Without impugning specific individuals, as fellow Christian intellectuals, theologians, pastors, and educators, we respond to this rapprochement with sadness, but also with a clear and firm No. We are Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant; Republicans, Democrats, and independents. Despite our denominational and political differences, we are united by the conviction that there are certain political solidarities that are anathema to our shared Christian faith.
In the 1930s many serious Christian thinkers in Germany believed they could manage an alliance with emergent illiberal nationalism….
Our situation in 2019 is surely different, but American Christians now face a moment whose deadly violence has brought such analogies to mind. Again we watch as demagogues demonize vulnerable minorities as infesting vermin or invading forces who weaken the nation and must be removed. Again we watch as fellow Christians weigh whether to fuse their faith with nationalist and ethno-nationalist politics in order to strengthen their cultural footing. Again ethnic majorities confuse their political bloc with Christianity itself. In this chaotic time Christian leaders of all stripes must help the church discern the boundaries of legitimate political alliances. This is especially true in the face of a rising racism in America, where non-whites are the targets of abominable acts of violence like the mass shooting in El Paso….
We reject the pretensions of nationalism to usurp our highest loyalties….
We reject nationalism’s tendency to homogenize and narrow the church to a single ethnos….
We reject the xenophobia and racism of many forms of ethno-nationalism, explicit and implicit, as grave sins against God the Creator….
We reject nationalism’s claim that the stranger, refugee, and migrant are enemies of the people….
We reject the nationalist’s inclination to despair when unable to monopolize power and dominate opponents.
You can read the full letter and see all the signatories here.