False prophets? Here are 20 of them.

Berry Craig
Berry Craig
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Faithful America, whose motto is “Love thy neighbor. No exceptions,” has released a top-20 list of false prophets – “far-right leaders who abuse Jesus’s name in a corrupt effort to seize power at all costs, no matter who gets hurt or how many valid election results they have to overturn.”

The group, which describes itself as “the largest online community of Christians putting faith into action for social justice,” doesn't mince words:

“Our members — Catholic, Protestant, and more — are sick of sitting by quietly while Jesus’s message of good news is hijacked by the religious right to serve a hateful political agenda.”

The naming is central to Faithful America’s “False Prophets Don't Speak for Me" campaign, which the group says is “our biggest campaign yet against the heresy of anti-democracy Christian nationalism.”

In a fund-raising email, the group explains that the top 20 list includes “lawmakers who claim religion as a justification for hatred, election denial, and legislative attacks on basic rights,” plus “pastors and strategists who build and maintain the long-term organizing infrastructure of the religious right.”

Also in the email, Faithful American cites a quartet of Christian nationalists on the list: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, evangelist Franklin Graham, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, and Tony Perkins, president of the ultra-conservative, anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council.

“The goal of this list is to help reporters, decision-makers, and everyday Americans see through the Christian-nationalist hijacking of the Gospel, recognize the harm that is being done in our name, and respond to the growing threat facing democracy and the church alike,” the email says.

Christian nationalists comprise a significant and vocal part of the Trump base. But Christian nationalism predates Trump’s rise, according to Ken Wolf, a retired Murray State University historian and active Presbyterian.

Wolf earned a Ph.D. from Notre Dame University, where his dissertation topic was nationalism in Cold War America. He said nationalism means elevating “the nation-state above all other loyalties. As a forty-five-year member of a mainline denomination — Presbyterian — I am puzzled to the point of perturbation by the phrase ‘Christian Nationalism,’ which is really an oxymoron.”

The Faithful America email defines Christian nationalism as "an unchristian political ideology — not a religion — that seeks to merge American and Christian identities, wrongly and dangerously claiming that the only way to be a true American is to be a conservative Christian. The failed insurrection of January 6, 2021, was largely inspired by Christian nationalism, as is a great deal of the country’s ongoing antisemitism, Islamophobia, and homophobia.

“The False Prophets of the Christian-nationalist movement are those who come to us in sheep’s clothing yet inwardly are ravenous wolves. They claim to speak for Jesus Christ, yet trample on the image of God created in all persons. These False Prophets abandon the Gospel’s values of peace, truth, equality, and love by spreading misinformation, inciting political violence, and opposing equal rights for non-Christians, women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, refugees, and more.”

Wolf agrees, and adds that groups like Faithful America are hardly alone in sounding the alarm against Christian nationalism.

In a New York magazine article headlined  “Mixing Christianity With Nationalism is a Recipe for Fascism,” Ed Kilgore suggested that “it’s probably about time to conclude once and for all that Christianity and nationalism are essentially incompatible because the latter always swallows the former. It was true in the Spanish Civil War, when priests blessed fascist murderers on the grounds that their ‘godless’ victims would enjoy eternal life if they confessed before being shot. It was true in Nazi Germany, when the Faith Movement of German Christians tried to excise Jewish influences from the Bible. It’s true in Russia, where the criminal regime of Vladimir Putin has managed to fuse Stalinism with religious orthodoxy, to the cheers of American Evangelicals who admire Putin’s homophobia and ‘manly’ virtues.”

He added, “Somehow, nationalists keep subverting the unavoidable truth that Jesus Christ was the great enemy of nations, races, tribes, and even families, when they became a stumbling block to acceptance of the radical equality imposed by human sin and its rescue by divine grace.

“Today’s Christian Nationalists need to choose, just as German Christians were called to choose in the Barman Declaration that rejected the Nazi appropriation of Christianity by denouncing worship of party, nation, or Volk as idolatrous. You can choose to follow your culture wars into partisan politics or even authoritarianism and insurrectionary violence, like the not-so-spiritual warriors of January 6. But please, please, be honest about your motives and leave your savior and mine out of it.”

Founded in 2004, Faithful America is “organizing the faithful to challenge Christian nationalism and white supremacy and to renew the church's prophetic role in building a more free and just society.” Click here to contribute to Faithful America, and go to their home page to sign the petition against these false prophets.

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Berry Craig

Berry Craig is a professor emeritus of history at West KY Community College, and an author of seven books and co-author of two more. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)

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