Letter: Nationalism is anathema to Christian faith

Religion News Service | 8/19/2019 | Staff
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(RNS) — A letter signed by nearly 30 leading theologians in the liberal Catholic journal Commonweal forcefully rejects any link between nationalism and Christianity and asserts that such a connection can “threaten the integrity of Christian faith.”

The letter, published Monday (Aug. 19), is signed by leading Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox theologians and public intellectuals. They include Cornel West, Miroslav Volf, Stanley Hauerwas, the Rev. Greg Boyle, Massimo Faggioli, Anthea Butler and Eddie S. Glaude Jr.

Parallels - Thinkers - Germany - Alliance - Nationalism

Drawing parallels with the 1930s when many serious Christian thinkers in Germany believed they could manage an alliance with nationalism that led to the emergence of Nazism, the letter rejects any attempt to co-opt American politics with the Christian faith.

“Cities, states, and nations have borders; the church never does,” the letter declares. “If the church is not ethnically plural, it is not the church, which requires a diversity of tongues out of obedience to the Lord.”

Letter - Massacre - Supremacist - Invasion - Texas

The letter follows a massacre in which a white supremacist, seeking to halt a “Hispanic invasion” of Texas, killed 22 people in El Paso earlier this month.

The letter explicitly rejects racism as well as xenophobia related to refugees and migrants.

Culture - Life - Stranger - Orphan - Wounds

“A true culture of life welcomes the stranger, embraces the orphan, and binds the wounds of all who are our neighbor — all who lie lifeless on the road, as the pious walk silently past.”

In the wake of the El Paso shooting, many conservative outlets issued condemnations of nationalism. The National Review referred to white supremacy as an “evil” ideology that must be crushed. The Washington Examiner called on Trump “to name and condemn the evil of white nationalism.”

Commonweal - Letter - Response - Letter - Group

The Commonweal letter was a more direct response to a letter signed by another group of Christians in the conservative journal First Things. The First Things letter, published in March, embraced what...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Religion News Service
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