Remaining Hopeful in the Face of Christian Nationalism

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In a post earlier this month, Rhys Long (Americans United for Separation of Church and State) wrote:

Around the country, good people have been pushing back against the forces of religious extremism, protecting the fundamental rights of the public. I have read and written about stories that prove that America is not lying down in the face of Christian Nationalism but is fighting back.

This is a good reminder. The future of separation of church and state can look bleak at times, but it would be a mistake to give up.

We hear an awful lot about the forces of Christian Nationalism. We hear about the latest prong in their never-ending agenda. We hear about how bold they've become. We hear about their successes and our inability to counter them.

I am suspicious we hear so much about the Christian Nationalist threat because secular organizations are trying to fund-raise. They seem to prefer fear-based tactics. But let's set all of that aside. I've made that point elsewhere, and I am not interested in repeating it here.

Instead, let's focus on what Rhys wrote. There are good people who are not fans of Christian Nationalism. There are more of them than many of us realize. It is true that few of them are what anyone would call activists. But it is also true that some have even been motivated to speak out. Why? They don't like what the Christian Nationalists are doing.

I'm thinking about the Christian parent who recognizes that the teachers working at their child's public school might know more about education than they do. They don't want to see anybody preventing the teachers from teaching history. They don't support book bans. Or how about the Jewish parent who understands that their child shouldn't be subjected to Christian proselytizing at public school? Or how about anybody who isn't terrified of people in drag putting on a fantastic show at a local library? And how about all of us who aren't interested in conforming to the demands of someone else's religious tradition?

If we value religious pluralism, secularism is how we get it. No religious tradition, including any form of Christianity, is elevated above the others. Theism, in any form, is not placed ahead of atheism. No more of this "Christian nation" nonsense. No more of these absurd claims that we all trust in some sort of god. We've grown too tolerant of being lied to.

It is encouraging to see more people talking about Christian Nationalism. It is even better to see more people pushing back against it. I am not optimistic enough to think that it will ever go away. But I am optimistic enough to think that we can work together to keep it on the fringes of our secular society.

The fight is not over. Efforts to preserve and even strengthen secularism are not futile. There is much we can do as individuals and even more we can do by working with others.

Image by Veronika Andrews from Pixabay