Jesus’ Birth and Christian Nationalism

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by Ben Voth, American Thinker:

One of the many pathological critiques offered by our corrupt intellectual culture is an urgent warning about impending Christian Nationalism.  This is the latest expression of a decades-long tradition that demonizes Republicans as coming to implement The Handmaid’s Tale and a fierce violation of a treasured canard of secularism:  the separation of church and state.  Christmas is more and more the cultural centering of Christianity as a cultural and political message. Now is an ideal time to arm ourselves against the serpents of false knowledge to better understand Jesus’ political message.

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Of course, there is nothing more political than what has happened in human history than the life, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  This is an important premise in responding to those who wish for Christianity to ‘not be politicized.’ Of course, it is wrong to subordinate Jesus to some ideological idol such as Naziism or the vicissitudes of the KKK.  That is rather, however, the necessary point — a point that is profoundly political.  Jesus embodies truth that will set us free. The eighth chapter of John contains Jesus’ teaching on the matter that “the truth will set us free” — veritas liberabit vos. This because a motto of many great universities including Harvard. This great teaching is the cornerstone of 2000 years critiquing the radical supremacies of human ideologies from Africa to the Asian continent.  Humanity’s primary political argument is:  we will kill those you love in public unless you agree with Us.  No culture or human society has failed to observe this political rule that makes a mockery of truth and requires all of us to live in fear of present political orders.  The intellectual commitment of “eternal life” in the manner Jesus described to fellow teacher Nicodemus, changes the entire human calculus grounded in brutal authoritarianism.  Death loses its sting with this conviction and resurrects human idealism at the most pivotal moments of human history.

The Christmas accounts of Jesus’ birth in Matthew and Luke give us great insight to the politics of fear that dominate the historical and yes secular political imagination.  The classic point elucidated by Linus in the Snoopy Christmas describes the terror of the shepherd at first sight of angels:

“And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood near them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 And so the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Matthew’s gospel is more draconian and provides an elaborate plot of King Herod who deceives in order to kill the baby Jesus before public hope can galvanize behind a possible messiah and savior in the region:

“when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent men and killed all the boys who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. 17 Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled:

A voice was heard in Ramah

Weeping and great mourning,

Rachel weeping for her children;

And she refused to be comforted,

Because they were no more.

Fear of the political power is an unbroken thread of Matthew’s account running from Joseph’s fear for Mary to their flight to Egypt trying to escape Herod’s plan.  Christmas continues to illuminate the 21st century because political tyranny extrapolated by false ideologies continues to threaten humanity around the world. Agnosticism’s best hope of snuffing out the intellectual light of Christmas depends upon rooting out the public killing of the innocent as argument.  If the 20th century has any political message to communicate to us here in the impending 2024, it is that secularism has not only failed to deliver on such a promise of social justice, it has added itself as a rhetorical accelerant to the human bonfires of mass killing. Contrarians will observe that “religion has killed,” but again that misses the rather profound and evident dialectic between Jesus the Teacher and the powerfully religious intellects of his day.  Christianity is not anti-intellectual, but it does recognize intrinsically how dangerous intellectuals can be — especially when they choose to join in on the ‘big lie.’

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