As we noted yesterday, many are blaming evangelicals for the Capitol riots and calling on us to repudiate “Christian nationalism.” There are many ways to understand this term, but a common definition is that “the United States was founded as a Christian nation and must continue to be one.”
This subject is far more complex than we have space to discuss fully, but I will note that nations are geopolitical entities with borders, populations, and governments. By contrast, a Christian is a person who has trusted in Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. A nation cannot do this. As a result, neither America nor any other nation can logically be a “Christian nation.”
Faith leaders were “nearly unanimous in condemning” the assault, as NPR reported on January 7. But evangelicals are nonetheless being widely blamed for the riot.
The Washington Post headlined: “Trump’s evangelicals were complicit in the desecration of our democracy.” The Atlantic called the riots “a Christian insurrection” and added, “Many of those who mobbed the Capitol on Wednesday claimed to be enacting God’s will.” Religion News Service stated, “Evangelicals must denounce the Christian nationalism in Capitol riots.” This article is one such denunciation.
Ahead of the November Presidential election, leaders of the National Association of Evangelicals signed a statement published in the Washington Post, urging evangleicals to "engage with humility, civility, intellectual rigor and honesty in the complex and contentious social issues that face our nation."