Critique of “Christian Nationalism”

Hamiltonianism’s stances on religion in America deserve mention at a period in US history where it is tenable to speak of a so-called “Christian Nationalism” on the American Right. Since the ratification of the Constitution, the need for a newfound American National Identity to bind the States to the American Totality led to a desire within the Federalist Party to develop a distinct conception of Nationalism. This trend coincided with the determination to remain separated from the British Empire despite remaining part of the English-speaking world. Thus, a “Federalist Nationalism” was devised by the Federalist Party in order to provide an American Identity for the American Essence, creating a National Consciousness that had to be cemented by the Federal government.

The Federal government, though it must refrain from adopting a Cult of Personality or a National Religion, should at very least promote national values that resonate with both the secular and the religious. People are welcome to practice their faith within the framework of the law. When immigrants arrive to the Union, they should preserve their traditions and cultures whilst integrating themselves into the American Totality. Everyone’s status in the American Totality is to be determined by their Rank and Achievement, not their Blood or their Wealth. All allegiances and loyalties are to be directed at the Union first before any other foreign power. Technology can certainly guide this integration process, but its implementation has to be executed in such a manner that it cannot lead to any dysfunction or instability in the Union.  

Unfortunately, such a conception of American Nationalism died with the Federalist Party’s dissolution, replaced by a Jeffersonian version that was Reactionary in its Nativism and inability to tolerate the growth of Catholic America in the 19th and 20th centuries. Add to this a biological conception of Race and American Nationalism in general earns a bad reputation among the Progressives, who have tried to compensate by being Social Liberals. That “Democratic-Republican” Nationalism never went away; it remained active within the American National Consciousness, superseded by the Madisonians of the Democrats and the Monroeans of the Republicans. The two World Wars, Civil Rights, Globalization, the Soviets and the Post-1945 Japanese had no impact on its influence whatsoever insofar as neither threatened the cultural hegemony of American English Protestants.   

That was the America of the last century. America as this stage of the current century, however, is witnessing the resurgence of Democratic-Republican Nationalism. In both the Trump Presidency and the preceding Obama Presidency, there has been a growing “Christian Nationalism” among American English Protestants concerned about their own demographics. An historic demographic transition away from the American English Protestant majority that have defined the country for much of its history. This segment of the US population has seen the number of cradles and attendances at the pews of their congregations diminish to such an extent that they are now entertaining a borderline existential dread. Their existential dread is political because the American English Protestants now face the possibility in which other American perspectives, other American voices are in the position to redefine the American Essence.

What is really significant from a Hamiltonian standpoint is that Catholic America happens to not be the one responsible for the demographic transition. In fact, the irreligiosity of young Americans is also occurring in Catholic America as well as Americans of other faiths. Regardless of whether one is religious or not, one has to realize that the “Christian Nationalism” active in today’s political discourse represents an outgrowth, a recurrence, of the Democratic-Republican Nationalism that once existed in the last one or two centuries. There is indeed a correlation between preserving the cultural hegemony of the American English Protestants and being agitated by their demographic decline that borderlines with some form of White Supremacism.

A recent survey was conducted back in late February that supports some of the suspicions that I have been having about the “Christian Nationalism” for the past two years. The trend is noticeably stronger among American Protestants compared to American Catholics. The same survey even found correlations for White Supremacism and even QAnon of all things.

For Hamiltonianism, the problem with Christian Nationalism has everything to do with the “Christian” in Nationalism. There are many questions which I have yet to get to the bottom of, but I am convinced that I will find the answers that I have been searching for. Which interpretation of Christianity are these self-proclaimed “Nationalists” trying to promote, if not a theological pastime to satisfy Bourgeois moments of passion? Is religion in itself meant to provide divine sanction for specific ideas or actions which normally would be unjustifiable in any other context, especially non-religious ones?

I raise these questions as the rise of this “Christian Nationalism” also coincides with less pronounced, albeit equally repulsive, trend in Catholic America. Recently, there has been a Bourgeois subculture that likes to appropriate the Catholic aestheticism without adopting the actual tenets or at least taking them seriously. The idea of being a self-proclaimed “Traditional Catholic” in this context is to be different for the sake of being different. It is in final analysis a fashion trend, not a serious interest in the Catholic faith. If the idea of appropriating the aesthetics of the Catholic faith is to promote a fashion trend, then why not something like White Supremacism in the context of so-called “Christian Nationalism?”

Categories: Politics

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