Christian nationalists ruin everything!

Last week, a non-denominational Christian church in Texas, The Door McAllen, performed an unauthorized version of the hit Broadway show Hamilton.

There are three problems with the church’s performance.

First, they were not licensed to perform the show.

A spokesman for Hamilton told The New York Times that “the musical does not grant amateur or professional licenses.”

The church was sent a cease-and-desist letter, but a lawyer for Hamilton told the church that they could continue with their final performance if they didn’t post any videos or photos online.

Second, the church changed some of the lyrics.

In the song, “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story,” a line was changed to, “I introduced hundreds of children to Jesus as they’re growing up.”

In another song, “That Would Be Enough,” a line was changed to, “But I am not afraid. My hope is in Jesus. If you can just give him a chance today. That would be enough.”

Finally, a scene was added that showed Alexander Hamilton repenting from his sins and accepting Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

Third, a sermon was offered after each performance.

In the sermon, an unidentified man said, “God could help people with their struggles,” listing homosexuality, broken marriages, drugs and alcohol.

Spokespersons for Hamilton released this statement, “The Hamilton family stands for tolerance, compassion, inclusivity and certainly L.G.B.T.Q.+ rights.”

With Christian nationalism on the rise in the U.S., a concerted attempt to rewrite history has been underway for decades.

In 1988, David Barton, who refers to himself as an historian, launched WallBuilders to “present America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built.”

The problem with Barton’s research and methodology was that his “forgotten history” was not forgotten; his reconstructed history never happened.

Barton incorrectly claimed that evangelical Christians founded the United States as a Christian nation. He even suggested that the founders wanted the government run by Christians who enacted Christian values.

Barton was finally called out by his publisher Thomas Nelson in 2011 for factual errors.

In his book The Jefferson Lies, Barton claimed that “Jefferson had started church services in the Capitol building,” and asserted that the former president was not a deist but an evangelical Christian.

While Barton has been shunned as a serious historian by most, his reconstruction of history lives on today – particularly among evangelical Christians.

Recently, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) embraced Christian Nationalism and its false teachings.

Responding to a question at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in Florida last month, Greene said, “We [Republicans] need to be the party of nationalism. And I’m a Christian. I say it proudly: we should be Christian nationalists.”

Writing in The Daily Beast this week, Nathan Empsall (a recent Good Faith Weekly podcast guest) commented, “As a pastor, if there’s one thing I understand, it’s that Christian nationalism is unchristian and unpatriotic. The clear goal of Christian nationalism is to seize power only for its mostly white evangelical and conservative Catholic followers, no matter who else gets hurt or how many elections have to be overturned.”

Amanda Tyler, executive director of BJC (Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty), wrote for CNN, stating: “Christian nationalism is a political ideology and cultural framework that merges Christian and American identities, distorting both the Christian faith and America’s promise of religious freedom.”

Tyler went on to explain: “It relies heavily on a false narrative of America as a ‘Christian nation,’ founded by Christians in order to privilege Christianity. This mythical history betrays the work of the framers to create a federal government that would remain neutral when it comes to religion, neither promoting nor denigrating it — a deliberate break with the state-established religions of the colonies.”

Both Empsal and Tyler are correct.

As a Christian, I am appalled at the suggestion that one faith needs to control the government and rule over all others. I am further enraged that the wisdom and guidance of the founders is being perverted for the sake of pushing an authoritative and totalitarian ideology.

James Madison and Thomas Jefferson were wise to embrace the principle of church-state separation. Only by separating church and state can religious liberty for all be protected. When one faith is elevated over all others, then all faiths are subject to the whims of the ruling class. May this never be so.

In Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton asks Aaron Burr, “If you stand for nothing, Burr, what will you fall for?”

Christian nationalists think they are making a stand for their faith and country, but the reality persists that they have fallen for a false narrative based on a history that never existed. They can attempt to rewrite lyrics and reconstruct history, but they must not be allowed to succeed.

People of good faith must stand up, speak out and step forward to combat this threat to faith and freedom. Remember these words: “Don’t throw away your shot, and if freedom prevails, then one day they will tell our story.”

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