For our 2020 Fourth of July episode, Miroslav Volf interviews Andrew Whitehead and Samuel Perry, sociologists and authors of Taking America Back For God: Christian Nationalism in the United States. What is Christian Nationalism? Why does it matter? How powerful is it in American life? Who counts as a Christian Nationalist? They discuss the tendency of Christian Nationalism to use Christianity as a tribal identity marker or tool for power, rather than an authentic sign of faith or commitment to a the way of Jesus or the practice of his teaching. They discuss Christian Nationalism in racial perspective, comparing African-American and white conservative approaches to Christianity and the Nation. And the conversation draws out important implications for the meaning of the separation of church and state, and the viability of a robust public faith in American life.
- Reference: Taking America Back For God: Christian Nationalism in the United States
- Frederick Douglass' 1852 speech ”What to the Slave is the 4th of July?”: Full Text / Douglass descendants read—"To the slave, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour."
- Miroslav Volf, Flourishing: Why We Need Religion in a Globalized World—"When world religions are publicly engaged, they threaten to exclude all competitors; when they are pushed into privacy, they themselves are objects of exclusion.” So, he says, "We need an alternative that fits both the character of world religions and avoids the exclusion and marginalization either of some or of all adherents of world religions. It must be a position that secures conditions for political stability and social cooperation of persons and groups whose disagreements about conceptions of the good are irreducible."