Wednesday, September 13, 2023

#5: Church & State - Christian Nationalism?

(#5 in the Church & State series1)

(I take the prerogative in this post, to use man and male pronouns herein for brevity and economy. Be assured, man includes every soul. [So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Old Testament | Genesis 1:27)]

Before considering and contrasting the words of Jesus and Paul about attitudes to authority, let us explore the controversy of Christian Nationalism, or as some append: white Christian Nationalism (hereafter abbreviated as CN). As to the appendage of white to CN, I would venture that there are, perhaps, as many black or other non-white Christian pastors as white ones in the U.S. that might identify with CN, so affixing white to the controversy only muddies the waters and throws a red herring2 into the mix. So leaving out the red herring, here is one definition of CN:
Christian nationalists want to define America as a Christian nation and they want the government to promote a specific cultural template as the official culture of the country. Some have advocated for an amendment to the Constitution to recognize America’s Christian heritage, others to reinstitute prayer in public schools. Some work to enshrine a Christian nationalist interpretation of American history in school curricula, including that America has a special relationship with God or has been “chosen” by him to carry out a special mission on earth. Others advocate for immigration restrictions specifically to prevent a change to American religious and ethnic demographics or a change to American culture. Some want to empower the government to take stronger action to circumscribe immoral behavior.3
Do the above words appeal to any of us, the-people-of-the-books, because of these words:
12 Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written  (Book of Mormon | Ether 2:12 bold emphasis added);
and if so, how do we (should we?) defend the wall of separation advocated by Roger Williams4 in the mid 1600s; reiterated by Thomas Jefferson and others in the 1700s; and incorporated into the U.S. Constitution (1788-17915)? — a Constitution divinely approved in a revelation from 1833:
4 And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them.
5 And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.
6 Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;
7 And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 98:4-7; bold emphasis added)
So what would be "MORE than this [the constitutional law of the land]? the combining of church and state?

We should know from history that oppression, torture, and martyrdom (horrifically detailed) have always been a “Church”-State affair.6 We should also know, from as recent as the last three years, that belief narratives underwritten by state power can, in a matter of weeks, turn a culture of freedom into one of fear, hostility, discrimination, and brazen bullying — all the way to aggressive denial of inalienable rights and psychopathic domination.

Many of the Founders were familiar with the church-state toxicity of England and Europe; even of the early Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Founders reared the wall of separation knowing it was vital to safeguarding inalienable rights and freedoms; and we should also know by our own Mormon history and “by sad experience”7 that separation is fundamental to agency. Thus, it has been offensive and intolerable to the enemy of agency8 since its ratification. In comparing past with present, Christian Nationalism just repeats many of the same claims and imaginations from the incessant appeals against separation since the 1800s.9 Some CNists seem blissfully oblivious to history and the natural man.10 Others vow that legislating the U.S. to be a Christian nation will do nothing adverse to freedoms, but merely acknowledge reality. But what is that reality for Moscow Idaho’s CN pastor, Doug Wilson, whose fight to make Moscow Idaho a Christian town has divided Moscowians for over a decade11? Is his the reality USians want?

If Jesus Himself says He is the God of this land and then justifies a Constitution that does not mention Him, is it because His invitation to redemption is not to come through or be monitored by the state? because coercive state power is anathema His plan of happiness? because a collectivized, ecclesiasticized Caesar (a Christendom12) has no standing in Christ? because gifts, giving, forgiving, and worship are free-will offerings and receipts, outside the jurisdiction of a power collective13?

If we understand:
▪ the purposes of agency;
▪ that we are in the midst of divine provings and probation14;
▪ that inclinations toward power, gain, glory, and domination are within each of us;
▪ that historically humans have repeatedly imposed their beliefs and the god(s) of their interpretation upon others;
▪ that Christ knows that use of His name has often devolved into abuse of it, and that “church” aligned with state always devolves to abuse,
then we might be better prepared to confront the realities of a church-state proposal.

Yes, CNist words may sound reasonable, but to pretend that reasonable words haven’t often presaged evil actions is naïve, if not manipulative. Coerced or manipulated worship is not true worship. Coerced or manipulated obedience is not true obedience. How is man to prove true to God if he is fenced and channeled down alleys and chutes into the appearance of things? If accountable Man is to be judged on the congruence of heart, mind, and action with the measure of his creation ameliorated by his repentance and God’s Mercy, and Grace, then surely, he should be left free to seek that congruence according to his conscience.

Yes, God asserts He is God of this land, indeed God of all creation, but at the judgment bar, I suspect we might be asking ourselves: “Did I live a Christian life?” not “Did I live in a Christian Nation?” I also suspect that we will stand solo to answer, amongst other things, whether we tried to coerce, manipulate, or deceive others, directly or indirectly, into our or some other’s belief system? Did we personally get the rendering right between God, our neighbor, and lastly, Caesar?

So, like some others, I see Christian Nationalism as one more attempt to compromise or “destroy the agency of man”; “to deceive and to blind men” into trusting that the horrible past of church-state will never be its future; into believing / hoping that making Christ mandatory (or even respected) via state sponsorship will save souls. And, by the way, whose interpretation of "Christ" is to prevail or be preferred? Pastor Wilson's?

In summary, this is  my defense of the wall of separation:
▪ history, in every nation and age, proves that mankind cannot be trusted to combine belief systems with state power;
▪ individuals are accountable to God alone for their beliefs;
▪ accountability for all actions also belongs to God, with some actions also subject to civil law when individuals are judged accountable (by a civil enforcement system) for actions proven to have caused actual injury or harm to another or their property (which includes breach of contract);
▪ where actual injury or harm occurs by the action of another, justice and social order require a just remediation, with the proviso that a civil court or lawful adjudicator has no authority to extend forgiveness or mercy to those found guilty; such can be granted ONLY by an un-coerced victim;
▪ almost all current civil law15 (including that in North America) that limits or compels action is outside civil jurisdiction. Over the years, there has been a vast, accumulating overreach because there has been too much conjoining of civic power with belief systems of whatever nature, religious or otherwise (see also footnote 6 below);
▪ civil law has no jurisdiction to compel speech or action that violates a person’s conscience;
▪ hurt feelings or questioning another’s beliefs do not constitute remedial injury or harm;
▪ individuals are accountable to God and to their neighbor for harms done; governments are accountable to the people [WE believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 134:1)];
▪ generally speaking God judges sin; government (civil law) judges crime (murder, assault, theft, false witness) and enforces remediation for injury or damage to another's person or property;
▪ the saving of souls is an ecclesiastical duty; the safeguarding of rights and freedoms and adjudicating remediation for injuries and harms to others is a state duty accountable to the people. 
Parting questions: Could this verse below convey a jurisdictional marker — a layered meaning in addition to chiasmus or the Old World meaning? In short, did the latter-day law (Constitution) go forth out of Zion16 and the word of the LORD (Book of Mormon) from JerUSAlem?
3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Old Testament | Isaiah 2:3; Old Testament | Micah 4:2; Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 12:3)
Have we measured up? And do these verses confirm that God, Himself, justifies the separation of church and state:
5 And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 98:5)

8 I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free.
9 Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 98:8-9)

2 We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 134:2)

27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 2:27)
2. A red herring is something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important question.[1  It may be either a logical fallacy or a literary device that leads readers or audiences toward a false conclusion. A red herring may be used intentionally, as in mystery fiction or as part of rhetorical strategies (e.g., in politics), or may be used in argumentation inadvertently.[2] (
3. • What Is Christian Nationalism? An explainer on how the belief differs from other forms of nationalism, patriotism, and Christianity. | PAUL D. MILLER | February 3, 2021 at
Additional Interpretations of meaning:
• Christian nationalism is a type of religious nationalism that is affiliated with Christianity, which primarily focuses on the internal politics of society, such as legislating civil and criminal laws that reflect their view of Christianity and the role of religion in political and social life.[1] In countries with a state church, Christian nationalists seek to preserve the status of a Christian state by holding an antidisestablishmentarian position to perpetuate the Church in national politics Christian nationalism supports the presence of Christian symbols in the public square, and state patronage for the practice and display of religion, such as school prayer and the exhibition of nativity scenes during Christmastide, and the Christian Cross on Good Friday.[5][6] Christian nationalism draws political support from the broader Christian right of the political spectrum of a country.[7]
• What is Christian Nationalism? | Stephen Wolfe
(Canon Press | Nov 26, 2022 | Time 3:06 min.) at
• Christian nationalism, ideology that seeks to create or maintain a legal fusion of Christian religion with a nation’s character. Advocates of Christian nationalism consider their view of Christianity to be an integral part of their country’s identity and want the government to promote—or even enforce—the religion’s position within it.
• Christian Nationalism Is ‘Single Biggest Threat’ to America’s Religious Freedom
An Interview With Amanda Tyler of the Baptist Joint Committee (APR 13, 2022 at
• Christian Nationalism Explained: An Interview with Rutgers Professor Joseph Williams | Written by John Chadwick |
• How Christian Is Christian Nationalism?
Many Americans who advocate it have little interest in religion and an aversion to American culture as it currently exists. What really defines the movement? | By Kelefa Sanneh | March 27, 2023
• What Is the Meaning of Christian Nationalism?
A current hot-button topic and issue in the USA is Christian Nationalism. But what is it? | LISA LORAINE BAKER | AUG 01, 2022 |
4.  (c. 1603 – March 1683). And even before Roger, there were others like Robert Browne (1550s–1633); and Henry Barrow  (c. 1550 – 6 April 1593) (who was hanged for his separatists views)
6. Church is here defined as a group of believers (whether organized formally or informally) who manifest “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith” ( which, in this writer's opinion and in its broadest sense, includes political, economic, social, cultural, religious, spiritual, and pscience ideologies or dogmas, including: socialism, communism, fascism, Gnosticism, cultism, WEFism, WOism, transgenderism, etc. (even capitalism).
Historical References:
▪ Foxe, John. Fox's Book of Martyrs Or A History of the Lives, Sufferings, and Triumphant Deaths of the Primitive Protestant Martyrs.
The Voice of the Martyrs. Extreme Devotion: Daily Devotional Stories Of Ancient To Modern-Day Believers Who Sacrificed Everything For Christ
New Testament | John 16:33
   33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
New Testament | 2 Timothy 3:12
   12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 101:35-36
   35 And all they who suffer persecution for my name, and endure in faith, though they are called to lay down their lives for my sake yet shall they partake of all this glory.
   36 Wherefore, fear not even unto death; for in this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full.
▪ Research news articles about latter-day martyrs worldwide.
7. Doctrine and Covenants | Section 121:39
   39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
8. Pearl of Great Price | Moses 4:3-4
   3 Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;
   4 And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.
9. Jones, Alonzo. The Two Republics: or Rome and the United States of America. Adventist Pioneer Library. Kindle Edition.
Jones, Alonzo. The Rights of the People: or Civil Government and Religion. Adventist Pioneer Library. Kindle Edition.
Jones, Alonzo T. . The American Sentinel: Volume 1. Adventist Pioneer Library. Kindle Edition.
Book of Mormon | Mosiah 3:19 ~ For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
New Testament | 1 Corinthians 2:14 ~ But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Book of Mormon | Alma 26:21 ~ And now behold, my brethren, what natural man is there that knoweth these things? I say unto you, there is none that knoweth these things, save it be the penitent.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 67:10-12 ~ And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual. For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God. Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind.
New Testament | 1 John 2:15-16 ~ Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
New Testament | James 4:3-5 ~ Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
New Testament | Romans 8:6-7 ~ For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
11. Christian Nationalism On The Rise (NBC News | Sep 15, 2022 | Time 27:24 min.) at
12. Christendom: term used by Roger Williams to distinguish its politicized nature from separatist Christianity. Gaustad, Edwin S., Liberty of Conscience: Roger Williams in America. (p. 31), Judson Press, 1999,
13. For those who want to return to a Moses in the wilderness paradigm, I suggest they read the Torah again as if a Sinai wanderer. I frankly don't understand the micro-managing of everything, but even with all the rules and reckonings, it took 40 years of wandering and death attrition before the children got to their promised land. Much of the subsequent history of God's people (Biblical record) seems a mix of prophets, priests, judges, and kings with no defined separation of jurisdiction. From my view, the constitutional achievements of 18th and 19th Century North America (more particularly the USA) were phenomenal. but like all great empires, we let the natural man get above us, not because of the separation of church and state, but for the separation of man from memory. Whether we can find our way forward, seems up in the air.
14.   Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 10:20 21
   20 Therefore remember, O man, for all thy doings thou shalt be brought into judgment.
   21 Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly in the days of your probation, then ye are found unclean before the judgment–seat of God; and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore, ye must be cast off forever.
Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 2:21
   21 And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men.
Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 9:27-28
   27 But wo unto him that has the law given, yea, that has all the commandments of God, like unto us, and that transgresseth them, and that wasteth the days of his probation, for awful is his state!
   28 O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.
Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 33:9
   9 I also have charity for the Gentiles. But behold, for none of these can I hope except they shall be reconciled unto Christ, and enter into the narrow gate, and walk in the strait path which leads to life, and continue in the path until the end of the day of probation.
Book of Mormon | Alma 12:24
   24 And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead.
Book of Mormon | Alma 42:3-4, 10, 13
   3 Now, we see that the man had become as God, knowing good and evil; and lest he should put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever, the Lord God placed cherubim and the flaming sword, that he should not partake of the fruit—
   4 And thus we see, that there was a time granted unto man to repent, yea, a probationary time, a time to repent and serve God. ...
   10 Therefore, as they had become carnal, sensual, and devilish, by nature, this probationary state became a state for them to prepare; it became a preparatory state. ...
   13 Therefore, according to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state, yea, this preparatory state; for except it were for these conditions, mercy could not take effect except it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would cease to be God.
Book of Mormon | Helaman 13:38
   38 But behold, your days of probation are past; ye have procrastinated the day of your salvation until it is everlastingly too late, and your destruction is made sure; yea, for ye have sought all the days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain; and ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head.
Book of Mormon | Mormon 9:28
   28 Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 29:43-45
   43 And thus did I, the Lord God, appoint unto man the days of his probation—that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe;
   44 And they that believe not unto eternal damnation; for they cannot be redeemed from their spiritual fall, because they repent not;
   45 For they love darkness rather than light, and their deeds are evil, and they receive their wages of whom they list to obey.
15. (as in civic, not Roman)
16. Doctrine and Covenants | Section 63:24-30 (Bold emphasis added.)
   24 And now, behold, this is the will of the Lord your God concerning his saints, that they should assemble themselves together unto the land of Zion, not in haste, lest there should be confusion, which bringeth pestilence.
   25 Behold, the land of Zion—I, the Lord, hold it in mine own hands;
   26 Nevertheless, I, the Lord, render unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's.
   27 Wherefore, I the Lord will that you should purchase the lands, that you may have advantage of the world, that you may have claim on the world, that they may not be stirred up unto anger.
   28 For Satan putteth it into their hearts to anger against you, and to the shedding of blood.
   29 Wherefore, the land of Zion shall not be obtained but by purchase or by blood, otherwise there is none inheritance for you.
   30 And if by purchase, behold you are blessed;