On the President’s photo op at church – The Christian faith itself builds bulwarks of freedom, equality, dignity, and enables good people to stand against evil, and thus intertwines itself with the welfare of nations whose people honor it and practice it; thus the value of the Christian faith to the people of Britain and its stand against the evils of fascism. But the use of the Christian faith for nationalistic purposes is filled with traps and off ramps that end up in terrible places. The examples are many. Nazism first posed itself as “positive Christianity.”
From the Holocaust Encyclopedia: THE GERMAN CHURCHES AND THE NAZI STATE – “Most Christians in Germany welcomed the rise of Nazism in 1933. They were also persuaded by the statement on “positive Christianity” in Article 24 of the 1920 Nazi Party Platform, which read:
“We demand the freedom of all religious confessions in the state, insofar as they do not jeopardize the state’s existence or conflict with the manners and moral sentiments of the Germanic race. The Party as such upholds the point of view of a positive Christianity without tying itself confessionally to any one confession. It combats the Jewish-materialistic spirit at home and abroad and is convinced that a permanent recovery of our people can only be achieved from within on the basis of the common good before individual good.”
“Despite the open antisemitism of this statement and its linkage between confessional “freedom” and a nationalistic, racialized understanding of morality, many Christians in Germany at the time read this as an affirmation of Christian values.”
I grew up in the South and have a working acquaintance of the use of the Bible for the purposes of bigotry and hatred. I was explicitly taught things that make me shudder still. As a child deeply in love with Jesus and the church, I knew this was wrong, that this could not be true. I in large measure knew it because my parents had converted to Christ when I was two and lived out a life of love. I never heard a word of hatred toward anyone, much less toward minorities of any kind. I knew by early Jr Hi that someday I would have to leave the church of my childhood years. And when in my junior year of high school I found a Christianity being practiced by another church that I could have confidence in, my parents gave me permission to change. So I did, knowing some day they would follow. And they did. One of the reasons I am comfortable living in the North is the distance I feel from those dynamics set loose in the South, even as I am thankful for the emergence of the huge numbers of churches there that have found and practice a better way.
Ever since then I have been keenly sensitive to the use of the Bible to stir hatred toward others and especially nationalism and any attempt to co-opt our faith for purely political ends. Thus I looked at our President’s photo op in front of a church with a Bible held up as flashing warning signs. I was, and am, very uncomfortable. I wish it had not been done in the manner it was.
I support the President. If you read my FB page, that’s one thing you know about me. I resist the Democrats and their use of the Bible to support abortion and weaken traditional marriage and family structures. And that is only the beginning! I work, give time, talent, and treasure to defeat them at the polls. But I will not accept the use of my faith for partisan political purposes.
If I may quote, “Here I stand.”