The media have been trying to tarnish the reputation of conservatives, Christians, and evangelicals for quite some time, to be sure. Yet since Donald Trump won the election, media types and other leftist acolytes have been working especially hard to besmirch this group further.
For example, to this day, it’s claimed and believed that 80 percent of evangelicals voted for Donald Trump. Considering the religious implications of being an evangelical, if it were true that 80 percent of evangelicals voted for Donald Trump, his margin of victory would’ve been much more prominent.
Eighty percent of evangelicals didn’t vote for Trump in 2020. A more accurate guesstimation is that 35 percent and 45 percent of evangelicals voted for Trump. One can find a summation of this discrepancy, found here.
Because progressives refuse to accept the results of the 2016 election, leftists have been working overtime to tarnish the reputation of conservatives and evangelicals–explicitly trying to identify both with racial sins of white nationalism, loosely identified as the alt-right.
Charlottesville was the latest attempt.
To be clear, though the alt-right deserves condemnation and rejection outright, this group is nowhere near as prominent or influential as the media would have people believe. A November 2016 conference held by Richard B. Spencer of the National Policy Institute- one of the preeminent members of white nationalism who popularized the term alt-right, could only muster 200 attendees.
Even after the election, in addition to and after the media had given the alt-right considerable and unmerited attention throughout the election season, the alt-right could barely manage two hundred attendees.
Further, despite the hyperbole and hysteria concerning the “violent clashes” in Charlottesville, most stories reported that assembled white nationalists at the “rally” only numbered in the “dozens.”
Although the political, professional, and religious left claim the alt-right is reflective of conservatives in thought and deed, the opposite is true. The alt-right isn’t conservative. Having voted for Donald Trump doesn’t make one a conservative, nor does it make one reflective of conservatism, be one an alt-right sympathizer or not. It bears remembering that Donald Trump wasn’t a conservative or Republican until he decided to run for president.
Further, many of the stated beliefs of the alt-right, which are morally repugnant, clearly contradict conservatism. For example, aside from judging people based on skin color and rabid antisemitism, the alt-right fundamentally disagrees with the “myth” of racial equality and legal equality.
The alt-right also largely rejects aspects of the US Constitution in favor of racial identity-based authoritarianism, specifically to facilitate the re-emergence of white nationalism and the preservation of Western civilization. This positioning contradicts conservatism’s emphasis on constitutional originalism, limited government, and rejection of racial identity politics. Moreover, the conservation of Western civilization isn’t dependent on or connected to the elevation of any form of white nationalism, despite what members of the alt-right or their leftist counterparts may say.
I’ve been a conservative for more than 20 years. Though clumsy language regarding racial issues among white conservatives has been a regularity, I’ve never heard (white) conservatives openly advocate expanding government to facilitate the preservation of white nationalism, nor have they offered up the support of racial supremacy. And they haven’t approved of fascistic totalitarianism that rejects racial and legal equality.
On the contrary, I’ve had countless sincere white conservatives- most being religious, repeatedly ask what they could personally do to help more blacks escape the indignity of leftist policies. Additionally, they’ve persistently asked how they could assist me in spreading the message of conservatism in general, but specifically, to more blacks.
More importantly, there is no explicit connection between the media-hyped racists among the alt-right/white nationalists and evangelical Christians–particularly those who voted for Donald Trump. Ideologically-driven members implicitly make the only relationship between white nationalists and evangelical Christians.
My question(s) to those eagerly attempting to associate white nationalism with political conservatism and Christianity is where and when, specifically, have white supremacists, white nationalists, or the alt-right articulated anything remotely close to biblical values or Christian principles? Much of what white supremacists advocate, their hearts full of hatred, anger, bigotry, violence, race pride, and chauvinism–combined with antisemitic epithets–are sins when judged against Christian morality. This immorality directly contradicts that which constitutes Christian discipleship and character.
The racial supremacy of white nationalism is very much opposed to the theological anthropology found in Christian teachings. These teachings begin with the intrinsic value of being created in the image of God (Gen.1:27) and that God made all people through Adam (Acts 17:26), and that all men who so choose are redeemed and restored in Christ (Eph. 1:7, Rom. 3:23ff, and Col. 1:13-14).
It should be evident that the Sermon on the Mount and the obligation to “love one’s neighbor” have nothing in common with the divisive separatist platform and racial hierarchy of the alt-right. The theory and practice of white nationalism directly contradict the multiethnic, transnational composition of the Christian church and the Kingdom of God.
Pointedly, many self-identified alt-right members and other white supremacists identify as atheists, agnostics, or lapsed Christians. Many are attracted to paganism, like their ideological forebears.
As such, this idea that white Christians are obligated to apologize for contemporary white supremacism–prostrate themselves before the media and other professional leftists, including racial grievance holders, as if it were Christians that assembled Charlottesville–is ridiculous. The idea that Christian silence or lack of remorse in the face of a racist movement that doesn’t implicate Christians, but advances its racist agenda, is equally absurd.
The history of American Christianity is full of theologically legitimized racism, slavery, and segregation. All of this severely damaged the fellowship of Christ. This history is inexcusable, sinful, and indefensible.
Thankfully, American Christianity was also theologically instrumental in helping free the enslaved people and, as evidenced by the civil rights movement, was essential to ending segregation and racial inequality. It has also been crucial in delegitimizing racial discrimination and various notions of racial supremacy.
Why not balance this equation and highlight this reality? This one-sided historical narrative that seeks to shame Christianity in America undermines American Christians’ excellent work to overcome our sordid history. It also weakens the American church’s obligation to continue its work of overcoming interracial and interethnic tensions. Undoubtedly, the American church still has considerable work to do in this area. Ironically, the people who want to erase bad white political history are determined to remember bad white religious history. This idea is foolish as it comes.
I’m not arguing the American church is perfect; what institution on this side of heaven is? I am saying that this idea of deliberately misidentifying white Christians as handmaidens of white supremacy or coercing and shaming white Christians, including pastors and church leaders, is wrong. Placing them into embellished condemnations of white supremacy, combined with sackcloth-and-ash apologies for something they’re not currently guilty of or responsible for, trivializes true repentance, forgiveness, and brotherly love.