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Church and Society Legislation Resources

Posted: October 18 2022 at 02:24 PM

At the last Annual Conference, the NIC Church and Society committee sponsored several pieces of legislation.  Over the next year, we will be providing more information on some of those resolutions that passed.  Our first topic will be resolution 700.09, Let’s Overcome Christian Nationalism.  The actions voted in were: 

The Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church condemns the use of Christian symbols and prayers by the attackers on the U.S. Congress at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. We invite our clergy and lay leaders to condemn that attack, as well as any future attacks.

The Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church disavows the lies spread about the 2020 Presidential Election that incited the mob carrying Christian symbols to violently attack Congress while it was certifying the Electoral College votes on January 6, 2021. We assert that the election of President Biden was free, fair, and legal.

We call upon our pastors and lay leaders to lead studies of Christian nationalism using resources including ChristiansAgainstChristianNationalism.org; “The Capitol Insurrection Was as Christian Nationalist as It Gets,” nytimes.com/2021/02/28/ opinion/christian-nationalists; Taking America Back for God by Whitehead and Perry; The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalists by Katherine Steward; and White Too Long, The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity by Robert Long.

During the legislative section, there was conversation on how Christian Nationalism is defined.  The first resource above describes it this way: “Christian nationalism seeks to merge Christian and American identities, distorting both the Christian faith and America’s constitutional democracy. Christian nationalism demands Christianity be privileged by the State and implies that to be a good American; one must be Christian. It often overlaps with and provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation.”  Further definition can be found at christianitytoday.com/ct/2021/february-web-only/what-is-christian-nationalism.html.  

In the days since January 6th, many reports, studies, and discussion guides have come out.  A quick internet search on the rise of Christian Nationalism gave several resources to learn how it influenced January 6th and why it continues to endanger our democracy.  The NIC Church and Society committee encourages you to use the above resources as a starting place to learn more.  We also encourage churches to educate, discuss, and stand up to and speak out against Christian nationalism, especially when it inspires acts of violence and intimidation – including vandalism, bomb threats, arson, hate crimes, and attacks on houses of worship – against religious communities at home and abroad.

We also encourage you to watch the General Board of Church and Society's recent webinar of an ecumenical conversation discussing the rise of Christian Nationalism and its history in the United States. Click to watch on YouTube.

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