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Should Latter-day Saints be Concerned about "Christian Nationalism?"


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Just saw this:

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“I’m an atheist and I vote,” will be the declaration by former Mormon Ray G. Matthews on a prominent digital billboard going up soon in Salt Lake City.

Matthews is part of a provocative secular voter campaign the Freedom From Religion Foundation has launched, which points out that 75 million adult Americans — nearly one in three — are nonreligious. In a variety of billboards and full-page newspaper ads, nonreligious Americans like Matthews are announcing that they devoutly want to keep religion out of government — and are voting that way. 

I have broad philosophical divergences from Mr. Matthews, but the "keep religion out of government" point does resonate with me.  However, I think he construes that broad principle differently than I do.

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Here's the full-page ad referenced above:

UT-Salt_Lake_City-Secular_Vote-2022.jpg

I am not sure what "Keep religion out of government and social policy" means.  While I am strongly opposed to the notion of fusing secular government with a specific "religious" point of view or organization, I think this bullet point probably covers a lot more than that.

Also, "Keep religion out of public schools?"  Isn't this already the status quo?

As for the "godless constitution" thing, I'm not particularly impressed with it.  Here is the FFRF's position on it: Celebrate Our Godless Constitution

It goes through a number of the Founding Fathers (Paine, Franklin, Washington, etc.) and try to paint them as being supportive of FFRF's position.  The results are . . . strained.  

Thomas Paine was a deist.  While critical of the Christianity of his day, he also felt that the only valid role of government in religious affairs was to protect freedom of religion.  I'm quite on board with that.

Franklin was likewise a deist who was "on the fence" as to the divinity of Jesus Christ:

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Ezra Stiles (1727-1795), the Calvinist president of Yale College, was curious about Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) and his faith. In 1790, he asked the nation’s senior statesman if he would commit his religious beliefs to paper. Franklin agreed. He was nearing the end of his life – he died six weeks later – and possibly believed this was as good a time as any to summarize the religious creed by which he lived.

“Here is my Creed,” Franklin wrote to Stiles. “I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That he ought to be worshiped. That the most acceptable Service we render to him, is doing Good to his other Children. That the Soul of Man is immortal, and will be treated with Justice in another Life respecting its Conduct in this … As for Jesus of Nazareth … I think the system of Morals and Religion as he left them to us, the best the World ever saw … but I have … some Doubts to his Divinity; though’ it is a Question I do not dogmatism upon, having never studied it, and think it is needless to busy myself with it now, where I expect soon an Opportunity of knowing the Truth with less Trouble.”

George Washington was an Anglican, and seemed genuinely (though not excessively) pious and sincere in his religious beliefs, as well as an early supporter of religious toleration and freedom of religion. 

John Adams was a Unitarian, and "believed that religion, by uniting and morally guiding the people, had a role in public life."

Thomas Jefferson was a theist/deist and, though having a "complicated" relationship with Christianity, he nevertheless admired Christian ideals/virtues and their role in society:

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While Jefferson was a firm theist, the God in which he believed was not the traditional Christian divinity. Jefferson rejected the notion of the Trinity and Jesus’ divinity. He rejected Biblical miracles, the resurrection, the atonement, and original sin (believing that God could not fault or condemn all humanity for the sins of others, a gross injustice).[10] In neither the eighteenth century nor today would most people consider a person with those views a “Christian.”

 

Given these views, Jefferson’s relationship with Christianity was complicated. He believed that Jesus was the “first of human sages,” noting that his philosophy, “freed from the corruptions of later times” – including Jesus’ divinity, resurrection, and miracles – “is far superior” to others because Jesus preached “universal philanthropy, not only to kindred and friends, to neighbors and countrymen, but to all mankind….”[11] With this in mind, Jefferson said that Christianity would be the best religion in a republic, especially one like the United States with a broad diversity of ethnicities and religions. “[T]he Christian religion when divested of the rags in which they [the clergy] have inveloped it, and brought to the original purity & simplicity of its benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, & the freest expression of the human mind,” he explained.[12] It was a “benign religion … inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude and love of man, acknowledging and adoring an overruling providence.”[13] Based on these understandings, Jefferson demonstrated a deep, even devout, admiration of Jesus, “the purity & sublimity of his moral precepts, the eloquence of his inculcations, the beauty of the apologues in which he conveys them...”[14] At times, Jefferson described these moral and ethical teachings of Jesus as “primitive christianity” before its perversion by church leaders seeking temporal power.[15]

It was in this context that Jefferson said that “I am a Christian,” a quote which is often repeated or referred to without context. What he said was “I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he [Jesus] wished anyone to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence; & believing he never claimed any other.”[16] What he embraced was Jesus’ moral and ethical philosophy, a “rational creed . . . universal & eternal,” what he elsewhere terms “Christianism.”[17] Similarly, at one point he seemed to endorse “deism,” but only after defining the term as simply a belief in one god, more accurately “monotheism.”[18]

James Madison in many ways kept his religious views private and opaque:

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Thomas Jefferson overshadowed his close friend and coadjutor, James Madison, in many ways but in one, at least, Madison was demonstrably superior to his Monticello neighbor--in his ability to keep his religious views private. Despite a desire to be "most scrupulously reserved on the subject" of religion, Jefferson by the end of his life revealed more about his faith than any other founding father. He divulged so much about so sensitive a subject for one reason only: to defend himself against Federalist charges, broadcast in the election of 1800, that he was an atheist.

Jefferson spent the last twenty-five years of his life refuting these aspersions, although at no time did he conceal his deviations from orthodox Christianity; the Trinity, for example, he dismissed as the "abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus;" the vicarious atonement was a compound of "follies, falsehoods, and charlatanisms;" predestination and original sin were "heresies of bigotry and fanaticism."
...
Madison ... defies definition or description. Seeking evidence of his faith quickly leads to the conclusion that there is, in the words of the poet, no there there, that in the mature Madison's writings there is no trace, no clue as to his personal religious convictions. Educated by Presbyterian clergymen, Madison, as a student at Princeton (1769-1772), seems to have developed a "transient inclination" to enter the ministry. In a 1773 letter to a college friend he made the zealous proposal that the rising stars of his generation renounce their secular prospects and "publicly . . . declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ." Two months later Madison renounced his spiritual prospects and began the study of law. The next year he entered the political arena, serving as a member of the Orange County Committee of Safety. Public service seems to have crowded out of his consciousness the previous imprints of faith. For the rest of his life there is no mention in his writings of Jesus Christ nor of any of the issues that might concern a practicing Christian. Late in retirement there are a few enigmatic references to religion, but nothing else. With Madison, unlike Jefferson or any of the other principal founding fathers with the possible exception of Washington, one peers into a void when trying to discern evidence of personal religious belief.

So the FFRF's "godless constitution" thing doesn't seem to have a lot of substance to it.  

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“We’re putting public candidates and officials on notice that secular voters are here, that WE are the true ‘values voters,’” adds Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president, “and that it’s time that our secular viewpoint be respected and represented.”

The increasingly overt calls for Christian nationalism and the alarming recent tendency of the U.S. Supreme Court to privilege religion and eviscerate individual rights require that secular voices be heard, FFRF maintains.

I share the concerns about "calls for Christian nationalism."

I disagree that SCOTUS is "privileg{ing} religion."  

The weakening of "individual rights" is concerning, but I think that is coming from SCOTUS.

Thanks,

-Smac

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In today's vocabulary, the word nationalism is looked upon as negative. So, christian nationalism or a christian nationalist would be considered far right. It becomes equated with Muslim fundamentalism. It seems to me we are living in a world of division. And this would be another way to divide and not bring people together.

s

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57 minutes ago, why me said:

In today's vocabulary, the word nationalism is looked upon as negative. So, christian nationalism or a christian nationalist would be considered far right. It becomes equated with Muslim fundamentalism. It seems to me we are living in a world of division. And this would be another way to divide and not bring people together.

s

“There are, for example, Trotskyists who have become simply enemies of the U.S.S.R. without developing a corresponding loyalty to any other unit. When one grasps the implications of this, the nature of what I mean by nationalism becomes a good deal clearer. A nationalist is one who thinks solely, or mainly, in terms of competitive prestige. He may be a positive or a negative nationalist—that is, he may use his mental energy either in boosting or in denigrating—but at any rate his thoughts always turn on victories, defeats, triumphs and humiliations. He sees history, especially contemporary history, as the endless rise and decline of great power units and every event that happens seems to him a demonstration that his own side is on the upgrade and some hated rival is on the downgrade. But finally, it is important not to confuse nationalism with mere worship of success. The nationalist does not go on the principle of simply ganging up with the strongest side. On the contrary, having picked his side, he persuades himself that it is the strongest and is able to stick to his belief even when the facts are overwhelmingly against him.”

-George Orwell, using today’s vocabulary in *checks notes* 1945?

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56 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Very concerning, anyone else worried? Recipe for our country not being able to elect a president in the future.

 

Hopefully indictments will land after the midterms. One thing strongman populist figures don’t weather well is incarceration for crimes. Their followers rarely have loyalty to the person, just the image.

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On 8/12/2022 at 3:03 PM, Chum said:

Specifically, what are you advocating with this declaration?

Just saw this

Advocating? Declararation? Nothing!

Of course wasp values are part of our culture.

Pilgrims 

Puritans

We speak English ( news flash) Our govt. is based on British parliament.

John Locke

How can we NOT favor that culture?

Edited by mfbukowski
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2 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

How can we NOT favor that culture?

By questioning it?

I live in New Mexico. You’re in California. The Europeans who colonized our particular parts were not WASPs. They were Spanish Catholics. It’s a telling activity to compare the writings of the Puritans and the Franciscans when it comes to nature and the new world. Very different worldviews. 

Let the east keep the WASPs. Let’s reclaim our heritage as a Catholic enclave. 

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So, what are we to make of these? Prepare for the sweeping?

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Ether 2:7 And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, but he would that they should come forth even unto the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people.
8 And he had sworn in his wrath unto the brother of Jared, that whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them.

9 And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.
10 For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off.
11 And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.
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.

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2 Nephi 1: 7 Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.

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Alma46:

11 And now it came to pass that when Moroni, who was the chief commander of the armies of the Nephites, had heard of these dissensions, he was angry with Amalickiah.
12 And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.
13 And he fastened on his head-plate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat, (and he called it the title of liberty) and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should a band of Christians remain to possess the land—
14 For thus were all the true believers of Christ, who belonged to the church of God, called by those who did not belong to the church.

15 And those who did belong to the church were faithful; yea, all those who were true believers in Christ took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ, or Christians as they were called, because of their belief in Christ who should come.
16 And therefore, at this time, Moroni prayed that the cause of the Christians, and the freedom of the land might be favored.
17 And it came to pass that when he had poured out his soul to God, he named all the land which was south of the land Desolation, yea, and in fine, all the land, both on the north and on the south—A chosen land, and the land of liberty.
18 And he said: Surely God shall not suffer that we, who are despised because we take upon us the name of Christ, shall be trodden down and destroyed, until we bring it upon us by our own transgressions.
19 And when Moroni had said these words, he went forth among the people, waving the rent part of his garment in the air, that all might see the writing which he had written upon the rent part, and crying with a loud voice, saying:
20 Behold, whosoever will maintain this title upon the land, let them come forth in the strength of the Lord, and enter into a covenant that they will maintain their rights, and their religion, that the Lord God may bless them.

21 And it came to pass that when Moroni had proclaimed these words, behold, the people came running together with their armor girded about their loins, rending their garments in token, or as a covenant, that they would not forsake the Lord their God; or, in other words, if they should transgress the commandments of God, or fall into transgression, and be ashamed to take upon them the name of Christ, the Lord should rend them even as they had rent their garments.

22 Now this was the covenant which they made, and they cast their garments at the feet of Moroni, saying: We covenant with our God, that we shall be destroyed, even as our brethren in the land northward, if we shall fall into transgression; yea, he may cast us at the feet of our enemies, even as we have cast our garments at thy feet to be trodden under foot, if we shall fall into transgression.
23 Moroni said unto them: Behold, we are a remnant of the seed of Jacob; yea, we are a remnant of the seed of Joseph, whose coat was rent by his brethren into many pieces; yea, and now behold, let us remember to keep the commandments of God, or our garments shall be rent by our brethren, and we be cast into prison, or be sold, or be slain.
24 Yea, let us preserve our liberty as a remnant of Joseph; yea, let us remember the words of Jacob, before his death, for behold, he saw that a part of the remnant of the coat of Joseph was preserved and had not decayed. And he said—Even as this remnant of garment of my son hath been preserved, so shall a remnant of the seed of my son be preserved by the hand of God, and be taken unto himself, while the remainder of the seed of Joseph shall perish, even as the remnant of his garment.

 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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1 hour ago, MiserereNobis said:

By questioning it?

I live in New Mexico. You’re in California. The Europeans who colonized our particular parts were not WASPs. They were Spanish Catholics. It’s a telling activity to compare the writings of the Puritans and the Franciscans when it comes to nature and the new world. Very different worldviews. 

Let the east keep the WASPs. Let’s reclaim our heritage as a Catholic enclave. 

If every region were to make these claims, we could never be a united people.

“WASP” is a divisive and disparaging word used to stereotype and marginalize a group of people based on their ancestry, race, and religion. It should be discarded.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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2 hours ago, The Nehor said:

Hopefully indictments will land after the midterms. One thing strongman populist figures don’t weather well is incarceration for crimes. Their followers rarely have loyalty to the person, just the image.

There is plenty of indictable stuff on both sides. Such division and corruption will be our downfall.

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D&C 98: 9…when the wicked rule the people mourn.
10 Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil. [and women, of course]

 

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13 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

The scales are not anywhere near balanced enough that I can entertain the idea that bothsideism applies.

That’s an unfortunate conclusion.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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2 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

By questioning it?

I live in New Mexico. You’re in California. The Europeans who colonized our particular parts were not WASPs. They were Spanish Catholics. It’s a telling activity to compare the writings of the Puritans and the Franciscans when it comes to nature and the new world. Very different worldviews. 

Let the east keep the WASPs. Let’s reclaim our heritage as a Catholic enclave. 

What am I missing?

Both countries have followed the seeds growing from their founding cultures! Not surprising!

Probably 70% of our Ward is made up of solid, strong families from Latino and Mexican culture. Mexico and other Latino countries represent the nations in which our church is growing the fastest. !

On one hand, if you admire the religiosity of Mexican culture, the strong family connections maybe you should join US!  ;)

On the other hand it seems the growth we are getting from South of the border indicates that many Latino folks are just fine with John Locke and his Protestant buddies.

Go figure!  ;)

Well you brought it up.... ;)

Edited by mfbukowski
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1 hour ago, Bernard Gui said:

That’s an unfortunate conclusion.

If I start making conclusions based primarily on whether they make me feel blessed or fortunate please shoot me.

Seriously, if I do that I am likely to start doing something heinous and evil and need to be stopped.

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On 9/18/2022 at 8:35 AM, The Nehor said:

“There are, for example, Trotskyists who have become simply enemies of the U.S.S.R. without developing a corresponding loyalty to any other unit. When one grasps the implications of this, the nature of what I mean by nationalism becomes a good deal clearer. A nationalist is one who thinks solely, or mainly, in terms of competitive prestige. He may be a positive or a negative nationalist—that is, he may use his mental energy either in boosting or in denigrating—but at any rate his thoughts always turn on victories, defeats, triumphs and humiliations. He sees history, especially contemporary history, as the endless rise and decline of great power units and every event that happens seems to him a demonstration that his own side is on the upgrade and some hated rival is on the downgrade. But finally, it is important not to confuse nationalism with mere worship of success. The nationalist does not go on the principle of simply ganging up with the strongest side. On the contrary, having picked his side, he persuades himself that it is the strongest and is able to stick to his belief even when the facts are overwhelmingly against him.”

-George Orwell, using today’s vocabulary in *checks notes* 1945?

Well, this would take a certain amount of intelligence by the nationalist to understand this quotation by Orwell. Most nationalists would put it more simply. Love of country. Or religion etc.

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On 9/20/2022 at 2:41 AM, The Nehor said:

If I start making conclusions based primarily on whether they make me feel blessed or fortunate please shoot me.

Seriously, if I do that I am likely to start doing something heinous and evil and need to be stopped.

Perhaps. 
 

Synonyms for unfortunate

 

 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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7 hours ago, The Nehor said:

Okay, stop reading my diary where I wrote down all my emotionally driven plans that are likely to involve all of those things. It is uncool.

I can see your diary in my Filson tin cloth bush hat. Interesting reading. Your only remedy is to stop writing in your diary.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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2 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

I can see your diary in my Filson tin cloth bush hat. Interesting reading. Your only remedy is to stop writing in your diary.

No can do. It is the only way I can express my love of Pez dispensers and record my latest world domination plans.

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11 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

From a recent poll: 61% of Republicans favor declaring the US a Christian nation. 

Higher among the expected groups

https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2022/09/23/78-republican-evangelicals-want/

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Evangelical or born-again Christians — a category that crossed denominational lines, said Telhami — were most likely to support the idea of the U.S. becoming an officially Christian nation. Among Republicans, more than three-fourths (78%) of those who identified as evangelical or born again favored declaring the United States officially Christian. Among Democrats, 52% of those who identify as evangelical or born again agreed.

 

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On 8/1/2022 at 3:28 PM, smac97 said:

Thoughts?

I testify of the divinely inspired Constitution of the United States and pray that we who recognize the Divine Being who inspired it will always uphold and defend its great principles. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2021/04/51oaks?lang=eng and here's 18 more quotes from Prophets and APostles on the inspired Constitution: https://mylifebygogogoff.com/2021/09/17-quotes-from-modern-prophets-and-apostles-on-the-constitution-of-the-united-states.html

On 8/1/2022 at 4:01 PM, pogi said:

When we speak of nationalism, or culture, there is in reality only one nation or one culture: the nation of God and the gospel culture, a vast amalgam of all the positive aspects of our cultures, histories, customs, and languages. The building of the kingdom of God is such an amalgam, and is the only place where these different values may and can coexist.

This to some is Theocratic Fascism / Clerical fascism (also clero-fascism or clerico-fascism). The Deseret Legislature is an example of this - a movement I support 100%.

Since the Savior ruling and reigning on earth is prophesied the General Authorities also advocate it, as do I. 

The difference between Christian Nationalism and Theocratic Fascism / Clerical fascism (also clero-fascism or clerico-fascism), I'm not sure - perhaps the difference lies in the approach: war hawks bombing nonbelievers and later doing proxy Temple work vs. patiently preaching the Savior's restored gospel now and throughout the Millenium?

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