Richard J. Penner (Letters, Sept. 22) expresses concern that the articles on Christian nationalism (Aug. 25) were unified by “an emphasis on Christian nationalism as being support for state violence carried out by Republicans or political conservatives” without mentioning “the role President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party have in pursuing the war in Ukraine.”
What Penner misses is that Christian nationalism is not merely “support for state violence” but specifically religious support for state violence. According to the Pew Research Center, “among white people, Christian nationalism is linked with support for the Republican Party, enthusiasm for Trump, hostility toward immigrants and denial that racism is pervasive or systemic in America.” Christian nationalism in the United States is a particularly Republican epidemic.
In my article (“I was a Christian nationalist”), I identified the tendency among Anabaptists to try to navigate a political “third way” to resist appearing partisan. But if we are going to resist Christian nationalism, we must do so based on facts, regardless of how “politicized” or “hypocritical” those facts may appear to some.
I agree with Penner that Anabaptists of all parties (or none) share a temptation toward falling into implicit support for state-sanctioned violence. For Republicans, that reason is Christian nationalism. For Democrats, the evidence indicates that the reasons are distinct from Christian nationalism.
David C. Cramer, South Bend, Ind.