How White Christian Nationalism Violates the Third Commandment (among others)
Watch the replay of the West Louisville Forum where I talk about the idolatry of White Christian Nationalism
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White Christian Nationalism masquerades as a tradition that follows the teachings of Jesus while contradicting the core tenets of his life and witness.
In this sense, White Christian Nationalism breaks several of the Ten Commandments. Instead of having no other gods, it makes an idol out of earthly power. Instead of making no graven images, it makes a god in the image of a white, (preferably) Protestant, U.S.-born, socio-politically conservative, middle class or wealthy, man.
What may be less obvious, but no less pernicious, is the way white Christian Nationalism breaks the third commandment—“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7).
Taking the name of God “in vain” is another way of saying, “Do not misuse God’s name.” Another translation says do not use God’s name in an “irreverent” way.
Much of the time we think that using the words “God” or “Jesus Christ” in an expletive is what constitutes taking the Lord’s name in vain. But the commandment is much deeper than that.
Taking the Lord’s name in vain includes that which we do or believe which is in contradiction to the character of God, yet we presume to hold these beliefs and take these actions in God’s name.
White Christian Nationalism seeks to limit democratic participation, sanction political violence, foment fear of certain immigrants, cling to the supposed right of citizens to own and use automatic weapons, and broadcast a narrow view of the religion they proclaim—all in Jesus’ name.
To practice what Jesus would abhor and to do it in his name is the very definition of taking God’s name in vain.
I talk about all of this and more at the West Louisville Forum. You can watch the replay. My part begins at about the 26-minute mark. (But be sure to catch sociologist, Dr. Michael Emerson, at the 19-minute mark!)