Thursday, March 08, 2007

Responding to Christian Nationalism

Tomorrow (Friday, March 9) at the spring meeting of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia, I am leading a seminar entitled "Responding to Christian Nationalism." The emphasis is on effectively communicating with persons who are Christian nationalists (whether consciously or not). There are some serious barriers between those who hold to the "America as a Christian nation" myth and those of us who yet believe, as did our Baptist forefathers, in the Separation of Church and State. If you have any insight into how to begin breaking down these barriers, I'd like to hear from you (whether today, Friday or later).

Below is part of my outline for the seminar. This section specifically addresses the question of what happened between the 1950s and today to give rise to the myth of America as a Christian Nation?


What Happened Between the 1960s and Today?

A. Events From 1950s to early 1970s

1. Race

a. Desegregation: Brown vs. Board of Education (1954)

b. Civil Rights Act (1964)

2. Religion (Pluralism) – Immigration Act (1965) – more immigrants, less whites

3. Sex – youth rebellion, rock and roll

4. National Defeat – Vietnam

B. Establishment Feelings (race relations, religion, morality, military)

1. Loss of control

2. Disillusionment

3. National Embarrassment

4. Threat to traditional family structures

C. Interpretation by the Establishment

1. Society and culture as immoral (sex)

2. Growth of false religions (pluralism)

3. America the Weak

4. Family life and structure under attack

5. Overall culprit: “liberalism”

D. Responses

1. Politics - Founding of Religious Right / Moral Majority (Bob Jones Univ, 1975)

2. Education – Lack of school prayer (1962, Engel vs. Vitale) blamed; private white religious schools founded; public education attacked

3. Theology – Fundamentalism

4. Culture – Anti-sex morality (anti-abortion, anti-homosexuality, abstinence)

5. Family – return to the 1950s as a role model for family (segregation; male bread winner; wife as home maker), which in turn is framed as a reflection of Puritan Colonial New England

6. Overall ideology - conservative politics/religion embraced as godly, liberalism in all forms branded as evil

7. Collective Response - recasting of history via the myth of America as a Christian nation


Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Best of luck on this important topic.

Anonymous said...

Is it true that the NAMB.NET DVD named IN THE NAME OF JEHOVAH features a closet homosexual as one of the Southern Baptist Church’s main witnesses against the teachings of the Watchtower?