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nationalism & christianity

The Wall Street Journal reported that a French presidential candidate is challenging his country’s secular tradition. Surprisingly, an increasing number of French voters are groping their way back towards the Christian tradition that was a key ingredient in the rise of the West. While other politicians certainly are nationalists, French Presidential candidate Fillon’s embrace of Catholicism is not nationalistic.
The term Catholic means universal, global. In recent decades the Catholic Church has broken away from it’s centuries of Italian nationalism—electing Popes from Poland, Germany and now Argentina. Both Catholic and Protestant Christianity identify as global movements. This contrasts with the nationalism of Orthodox Churches; the Russian Orthodox Church, the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Greek Orthodox Church. 

Christianity is a global institution.

Jesus instructed His followers to make disciples of all nations, literally all ethnic groups. Christians in Europe and the Americas can have more in common with Christians in Asia and Africa than with our next-door neighbors. Gay rights is just one such issue. And do not doubt that Christians around the world feel threatened by and have been violently targeted by Islamists. It is basic democracy for people, including Christians, to vote their self-interest. 

Counter-intuitively, the European Union’s decision to deny its Christian roots may have legitimized Europe as a target for Islamists. The Quran identifies Jesus as a prophet, it commands respect towards “people of the Book” (likely, the Bible). But it identifies secularists with pagans, and undeserving of protection.

Voters groping their way back towards their Christian roots is not nationalism. However, it could be even more dangerous. Perhaps this is a reason Presidents Obama and Bush, and German Chancellor Merkel have been so reluctant to speak the words, Islamic terrorism. To do so could pave the road towards a cataclysmic clash of cultures. ~

Dan Nygaard