Ep 335: Can You Enjoy Nationalism? with Jon Carlson

Summary – Can You Enjoy Nationalism? with Jon Carlson

In this episode of the Libertarian Christian Podcast, host Doug Stuart interviews Jon Carlson, the lead pastor of Forest Hills Mennonite Church in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. They discuss Carlson’s recent class on Christian nationalism, which was part of a larger effort by his church to engage in thoughtful and deliberative conversations about politics and faith.

Carlson begins by defining Christian nationalism as “the belief that the United States is a Christian nation and that Christian values should be the foundation of our government.” He then goes on to discuss the history of Christian nationalism in the United States, as well as its current manifestations.

Carlson provided a taxonomy that he finds helpful and memorable when evaluating the different manifestations of nationalism:

  • Classic Christian nationalism is the belief that Christian faith is central to American identity and that public policy should be shaped exclusively by Christian leaders’ interpretation of biblical ideals.
  • Diet Christian nationalism is similar to classic Christian nationalism, but it recognizes that not everyone in the United States is Christian and that the government should be pluralistic.
  • Original Recipe Christian nationalism is the most extreme form of Christian nationalism. It is characterized by violence, white supremacy, and a willingness to use any means necessary to control state power.

In the second half of the episode, Carlson discusses how Christians can respond to Christian nationalism. He argues that Christians should resist the temptation to see themselves as “insiders” or “patriots” and should instead embrace their role as “strangers” and “aliens” in this world. He also encourages Christians to work for justice and peace, regardless of their political beliefs.

This episode is essential listening for anyone who wants to understand the threat of Christian nationalism and how Christians can respond to it.

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