“Christian Nationalism is distinct from conventional Christian conservatism”

Christian nationalists “are typically post-liberals who want some level of explicit state-established Christianity. [Conservatives] have been and largely still are classical liberals who affirm traditional American concepts of full religious liberty for all. - Mark Tooley


This article is really good. File it away for a good explanation of the real differences

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Given that MSNBC pundits are labeling "Christian nationalist" the belief that human rights originate in God rather than the government (guess our Founding Fathers were hardcore CNs?), I don't expect any clarity brought by thoughtful explanations such as the foregoing to be permanent.

I have been saying consistently that in order to have a reasonable conversation about the subject of Christian Nationalism, we need to define it. There are so many different ideas about what Christian Nationalism is that it has almost become meaningless. I am starting to feel like a broken record, but I oppose Theonomy and Dominion Theology, but I am not opposed to Christian values having an influence upon our country.

BTW, we as Christians must take a stand against racism regardless of where it comes from, but there is also a trend to call anything opposed to progressive policies, "white supremist." That term has essentially become meaningless.

JD, as you said, the way the term “racism” is used these days, it’s completely meaningless, and I’ve now gotten to the point where when the terms “racism” and “white-supremacism” come up, I essentially ignore anything the user of those terms is discussing, because more likely than not, it’s a waste of time.

I agree that real racism needs to be opposed wherever it shows its head, and Christians need to be at the forefront of that. However, the number of times actual racism is observed in the circles of people I interact with in daily life, church life, work, etc. is vanishingly small, to the point of non-existence. My home community (in the south, no less) is very multi-racial, as is my workplace. The church I attend is “whiter,” but there are still plenty of people of other races that are members, and as far as I have been able to tell, actual white-supremacist attitudes have not been present, though I can only speak for actions and words, not what people think.

At one time, I’d have been horrified if someone called me racist or other similar terms. Today’s culture has inured me to that completely. If I’m called “homophobic” because I believe our country’s laws allow a live and let live attitude about other people’s sinful lifestyles, but I refuse to approve of or celebrate those lifestyles/actions, I can live with that. If I’m called “racist” because I don’t believe that the BLM movement among others is virtuous or even helpful, I can live with that too. And if I’m thought of as a “white-supremacist” because I truly believe that all lives matter, and that color-blind attitudes are the way to go vs. the division spread by the “anti-racism” crowd, well then “them’s the breaks.” I simply refuse to even worry about what people who think that way think or say about me any longer. It’s so far from the truth or reality, that such accusations don’t deserve an answer (or even a wasted thought).

Dave Barnhart

JD, as you said, the way the term “racism” is used these days, it’s completely meaningless, and I’ve now gotten to the point where when the terms “racism” and “white-supremacism” come up, I essentially ignore anything the user of those terms is discussing, because more likely than not, it’s a waste of time.

So much of the discussions come down to definitions and explaining what is being said and not being said. What is a precise definition of racism or White Supremacy? In today's media culture, it is often defined too broadly, which I think is what you are getting at. However, can racism and "white supremacy" be defined too narrowly as well? Is it racism or white supremacy only the blatant acts of calling someone the N word or intimidating a black family in all-white neighborhood for their skin color, or other KKK type activity?

If white folks automatically assume that Black Folks are not as qualified for professional jobs (i.e., Doctors, Airline Pilots, Professors) because they suspect they attained it due to Affirmative Action & DEI corporation policies rather than through merit, would you consider that a subtle form of racism and/or white supremacy? Speaking of merit, what about white people who oppose preferences for minorities (affirmative action policies) in elite colleges & universities while ignoring preferences for alumni, donors, administration/faculty children (legacy policies), & preferences for athletes (only 16% of blacks are NCAA athletes) which white folks have been taking advantage of way longer than Affirmative Action? If racism can be defined by the sin of partiality based one one's skin color, would these white folks that speak up about one form of partiality (affirmative action) but ignoring the another form of partiality be exhibiting racist thoughts?

Joel, the people I know that are opposed to affirmative action are opposed to it because they believe that minorities are just as talented and just as qualified as anyone else. Many black conservatives would suggest that your comments are racist. I do not believe that is fair to you since I believe your motivation is based on genuine care, but you need to be careful not to assume that other's motivation isn't also based on genuine care and not racism. My concern about so many of your positions is that you are very quick to jump to racism when you have a difference of opinion over policy. That is not helpful to the racial tensions that we already have in this country. We should be able to debate the merits of affirmative action without calling the other side racist.

Joel, I hope you see the irony in this. Because years of various forms of affirmative action have, in fact, placed minorities into positions for which they have fewer objective qualifications than others, we do know that a certain percentage of blacks are under qualified. We just don't which ones. So how is someone supposed to know that a particular black individual is as qualified as others? It's reverse racism that has created this problem. It is a shame that this problem exists, and sadly unfair to fully qualified blacks, but what else could we expect, given the prevalence of affirmative action? How long will it take us to figure out that we cannot eliminate racism by practicing reverse racism?

G. N. Barkman


Do you actually think that I am promoting Affirmative Action or DEI policies as the current answers to racial disparities or to racism itself? In that case, you haven’t paid attention to what I say and don’t say in my posts for the past 15 years. On several occasions on SI, I have pointed out the flaws of both. If you think that I somehow believe those who don’t support Affirmative Action or DEI are somehow racist or that I’m somehow judging people’s motives, then I’m wasting my time here on SharperIron. My questions about affirmative action in the educational sphere were not because I believe in it (because, again, it has significant flaws), but also to point out the inconsistencies and the partiality of people who will ignore preferences for alumni, donors, administration/faculty children (legacy policies), & preferences for athletes for white folks (including my son getting into Wheaton College to play football). Is that not also partiality as well? At Harvard, legacy policies (donors/alumni), children of faculty/staff, and athletes comprise 5% of the applicants but 30% of those accepted. Shouldn’t we be concerned or is it only about Affirmative Action? If it is only about Affirmative Action, then we have a racism problem. That was my point.

I’d be interested in knowing which black conservatives would believe my comments would be racist. It's really interesting that you seem to know the minds of so many black conservatives. How many do you personally know and interact with to make that statement? Because of my ministry job, I’ve literally had many of the same conversations on race with hundreds of black conservatives over the past 30 years that I have had here on Sharper Iron for the past 15 years. They see me as a fellow conservative. None have concluded what you insinuated. None.

Joel, please let me apologize. I should have been more careful with my words and my insinuation of racism toward you. I thought I was very clear that I did not think you were at all racist, but rather I was trying to make a point of you being careful not to assume others were racist. As your response shows it does hurt when any of us feel like we are being accused of racism unjustly. That is how I felt and why I made the reply that I did. I think we both felt unjustly attacked by each other. I also feel like we both care about the issue of racism and I do want to understand it better. I hope we all do.

As your response shows it does hurt when any of us feel like we are being accused of racism unjustly.

Actually, many of the younger generation are embracing the term (I've got the memes to prove it).

Which just goes to show how badly calling out everything from politely asking someone's ancestry ("microaggression-type racism") to wearing hoop earrings ("cultural appropriation-type racism") has been overplayed.

I’m not the biggest fan of legacies, and if they are used to get students in who would not otherwise qualify, I’m definitely against them too. If they are used solely as a way of distinguishing between candidates who are otherwise essentially equally qualified by grades, test scores, etc., then while I’m not a real fan, I understand that they would be “reality” as a private school (e.g. Harvard, though with their endowment, that particular school doesn’t really need it) would do what it can to continue to benefit from alumni giving, etc. I’m certainly not against them going away, particularly if they are overused and totally skew the student population. On the other hand, as schools like Harvard are working so hard to implement DEI, it will only be a generation until even the legacies represent that same pool of DEI and AA students.

Thankfully, the really serious push for DEI has only been over the last 4 years or so. So far, that hasn’t had time to show up in highly skilled professions, like professional pilots or doctors, which generally take longer than that to be fully “in the system.” Up until now, I have always assumed that pilots at an airline like Delta or doctors at a hospital system like Duke (where I go for medical treatment) are picked based on merit. Therefore, it doesn’t bother me at all to see minority or female pilots or doctors, as I expect them to have had to go through the same rigorous process of selection. I don’t generally ask them about how they got to where they are, but if I did ask, it would be about their qualifications in their field, not how they look.

Now, if we start hearing about dreadfully underqualified people causing medical malpractice or avoidable airline accidents, then yes, I would probably start thinking about whether someone got in because of AA/DEI rather than by merit. Such partiality wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, since I believe it would be right to ask about qualifications in those chosen for such professions (though I would expect the same thing from “legacies” as much as I would from those who were chosen only because of AA/DEI). If an unqualified candidate gets in because of his legacy acceptance, I would expect that to be treated the same, and steps taken. I sincerely hope we don’t get to that point because I’m hoping/expecting necessary corrections (and sanity) to be implemented before then.

I’m not often in the position to evaluate professors, but I will say that what respect I have for them will be due to what they teach, not what they look like. Any professor of “_____ studies” will probably not get much respect from me no matter their race/sex/etc. (you can call me “studiesist” if you wish). Any professor of a field like biology, physics, computer science etc. who starts saying things like “math is racist” or “biological sex in humans is not binary” or other things like that won’t get much respect from me either. Respect is always earned, not given. I don’t give respect where it isn’t earned, and I don’t expect it from others until I earn it. That’s what I was always taught. If, in fact, people are starting to exhibit the type of partiality referred to in Joel’s post against those who might have gotten to where they are through AA/DEI, then no matter how wrong that is, I would still argue that that those who are pushing AA and DEI instead of merit have only themselves to blame for getting people thinking that direction.

Dave Barnhart