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Amanda Tyler vs Christian Nationalism

Christian Nationalism vs Religious Liberty Organization

Many under the banner of Christianity oppose Christian Nationalism. While some do so under a principled pluralism (polytheism), others more blatantly oppose Christianity with the same appeal to religious liberty. The Baptist Joint Committee was founded in 1936. It is helmed by Amanda Tyler who went viral this week over her testimony before Congress where she claimed that Christian Nationalism is the greatest threat to religious liberty in the United States.

Amanda Tyler is the executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (BJC), a self-described religious liberty organization. Their track record on the issue of religious liberty specializes in opposing Christians in key SCOTUS decisions. The most notable of their anti-Christian religious liberty stance was made against Masterpiece Cakeshop.

 BJC’S POSITION

Religious liberty does not mean that religious beliefs provide blanket exemptions to laws that protect our neighbors. We filed a brief on behalf of the state of Colorado, explaining that a commercial baker should not be able to refuse service to a same-sex couple based on his religious beliefs, since state laws prohibit discrimination in the marketplace.

Laws like Colorado’s — which covers discrimination against “disability, race, [religion], color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, or ancestry” — protect religious liberty. Granting an exemption for this baker would open the door for other business owners to refuse to serve other customers because of the religious clothing they wear or religious beliefs they profess.

STATUS

On June 4, 2018, the Court ruled in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop, finding that actions of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission violated the Free Exercise Clause. The decision sidestepped the core question of whether the business owner’s refusal to provide a service violated the law. Instead, the Court’s decision was based on the actions of the state administrative body charged with enforcing the law.

BJC unironically argues that a religious exemption for Masterpiece Cakeshop “would be dangerous for religious liberty.” This egregious stance makes them even worse on religious liberty than the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention which also does not have a track record of defending the religious liberty for Christians.

Moreover, it’s worth mentioning that Amanda Tyler functions as a female pastor preaching in churches, despite being unequally yoked in a marriage to a Jewish husband. As an initiative of the Baptist Joint Committee, she is the spearhead of the organization, Christians Against Christian Nationalism, which features a petition that Tyler claims before Congress to have garnered 35000 signatures.

Many of the endorsers of the statement are affiliated with BJC, but two notable exceptions are Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne, the founders of the heretical Red Letter Christian Movement. Christian Nationalism.

Their statement reads as follows:

As Christians, our faith teaches us everyone is created in God’s image and commands us to love one another. As Americans, we value our system of government and the good that can be accomplished in our constitutional democracy. Today, we are concerned about a persistent threat to both our religious communities and our democracy — Christian nationalism.

Christian nationalism seeks to merge Christian and American identities, distorting both the Christian faith and America’s constitutional democracy. Christian nationalism demands Christianity be privileged by the State and implies that to be a good American, one must be Christian. It often overlaps with and provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation. We reject this damaging political ideology and invite our Christian brothers and sisters to join us in opposing this threat to our faith and to our nation.

 As Christians, we are bound to Christ, not by citizenship, but by faith. We believe that:

  • People of all faiths and none have the right and responsibility to engage constructively in the public square.

  • Patriotism does not require us to minimize our religious convictions.

  • One’s religious affiliation, or lack thereof, should be irrelevant to one’s standing in the civic community.

  • Government should not prefer one religion over another or religion over nonreligion.

  • Religious instruction is best left to our houses of worship, other religious institutions and families.

  • America’s historic commitment to religious pluralism enables faith communities to live in civic harmony with one another without sacrificing our theological convictions.

  • Conflating religious authority with political authority is idolatrous and often leads to oppression of minority and other marginalized groups as well as the spiritual impoverishment of religion.

  • We must stand up to and speak out against Christian nationalism, especially when it inspires acts of violence and intimidation—including vandalism, bomb threats, arson, hate crimes, and attacks on houses of worship—against religious communities at home and abroad.

Whether we worship at a church, mosque, synagogue, or temple, America has no second-class faiths. All are equal under the U.S. Constitution. As Christians, we must speak in one voice condemning Christian nationalism as a distortion of the gospel of Jesus and a threat to American democracy.

The statement is a poor reading of American history that labels the US a constitutional democracy. The US Constitution barred Congress from establishing a religion while states had them and moreover maintained religious requirements to hold public office. Even Rhodes Island, the Baptist religious freedom colony, maintained that public officeholders must be Protestant.

Moreover, defending religious liberty for pagans is biblically indefensible, as John MacArthur famously points out. Christians since antiquity believed and practiced that the government should favor Christianity over pagan religions going back to the conversion of Tiradates III.

The farce of this whole thing is that these liberals care about religious liberty “for all” when they’ve so clearly demonstrated a partiality against Christians. So anti-Christian sentiment is the source of their anti-Christian Nationalism.

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4 Responses

  1. We need to hold the BJC accountable and stop all funding. It’s just another woke, unbiblical organization undermining the historical biblical tenants of Baptist doctrine.

  2. Reminds me of the time as a child when I asked a young neighbor, a few years older than me, if she was a Christian, and she responded “no, I’m a Baptist”

    Good example of when the “Christian Nationalism” scare words are made into a distraction of false dichotomies. Getting people worked up taking a “side” for or against, while God’s word is left sitting on the shelf collecting dust.

    Yet what it says is that these are not Christians.

    Prov. 17:15 – Justification of wickedness and condemnation of righteousness are both abominable sins (whether done privately or publicly or through words or deeds – baking that cake is itself an abominable sin – condemning the righteousness of a Christian who refuses to bake that cake is also an abominable sin)

    1 Cor. 5:9-11 – Do not associate with them, much less do business. The passage specifically references commerce and the question of whether or not to do business inasmuch as it may require us to “go out of this world”, and still says not to associate. (it also specifically says not to eat with them – a command which the current “pope” recently blatantly, intentionally, and knowingly, in outright rebellion against God, explicitly defied)

    1 John 3:4-10, Jude 4 – Those who continue in such sins, are not born again Christians.

    They can argue for or against the Christian Nationalism boogeyman and the “theocracy” red herrings, Mottes, and strawmen, all they want, but the bottom line is that they are not Christians. If they justify wickedness. If they condemn righteousness. By word, deed, or otherwise. If they demand that others be extorted and forced to do the same, by force of law. If they associate with those who Christians are explicitly told not to associate with, to any degree, knowingly in violation of scripture, much less demand or expect others do the same. If they do these things, then there is no question. Their fruit is plainly evident. They are NOT born again Christians. Nor do they speak for any born again Christians. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    Not to give a pass to some on the side of Christian Nationalism, I’d put some of them in the same category, effectively working toward the same ends, functioning less as Christians should according to God’s word, and more like controlled opposition.

    1. When the government and powers that be made abominable sin into a protected class, they badly messed up. There is no workable compromise. It’s about equivalent to demanding that we support cannibalism in the name of diversity to accommodate the culture of a tribe of cannibals from the Amazon rain forest. It’s equivalent to force-feeding pork to Jews and Muslims. It’s equivalent to supporting and endorsing “honor killings”.

      Some of us understand the fact that a core set of beliefs are going to rule the public square, and that the question is what those beliefs are going to be. Multiculturalism, diversity, etc. have limits, and for us those limits are defined by God’s word, what is acceptable and tolerable, and what is not. So we’re put into categories of either theocrats or doormats simply because we understand the above fact to be true. But those of us who see the problem are not the problem. The problem is those secular and worldly minded, such as the BJC and ERLC sort, who believe they in their own presumed supreme intelligence and wisdom can manufacture a workable compromise where none is possible. Some days I’m all but convinced they don’t even own a Bible, much less have ever cracked one open and read it.

      1. I’m led to add here that “doormats” is not necessarily derogatory. We need to remember when we win, God wins, and when we “lose”, God wins.

        “19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” – 1 Peter 2:19-24

        As to whether or not this is a time to “win” or “lose”, I don’t know. What I do know is that if we stay true to His word, don’t sin in the process, keep the deceit out of our mouths, don’t revile in return, die to sin and live to righteousness, and continue entrusting ourselves to Him who judges justly, following the Lord’s example, then He will be honored, and it will be a gracious thing in His sight.

        If we must leave the public square, so be it. Right now, it’s not yet settled by the courts. Some have had to do so, and others not. But one thing is absolutely certain: God wins either way. And we would do well to remain mindful of this truth, lest we get too carried away.

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