The Museum of the Bible Is a Safe Space for Christian Nationalists

by Katherine Stewart  @kathsstewart

a recent gathering at the museum featuring speakers who intend to “transform nations” by “igniting a holy reformation in every sphere of society,”

.. “We wholeheartedly believe the Museum of the Bible represents an ‘Ark of the Covenant’ for our nation, bearing witness to his goodness,”

.. A typical museum might invite visitors to explore the multiple meanings of the Bible and the complex history of its reception in different cultures over time. But this museum is not the place for that kind of inquiry; you’re here to celebrate.

.. The museum is a safe space for Christian nationalists, and that is the key to understanding its political mission.

.. Its subtler task is to embed a certain set of assumptions in the landscape of the capital.

.. Mr. Drollinger believes that social welfare programs “have no basis in Scripture,” that Christians in government have an obligation to hire only Christians and that women should not be allowed to teach grown men.

.. He lays out his thinking in a 2013 book, “Rebuilding America: The Biblical Blueprint.”

.. The “institution of the state” is “an avenger of wrath,” he explains, and its “God-given responsibility” is “to moralize a fallen world through the use of force.”

.. participants in his groups, however, aren’t just anybody. They include Mike Pompeo, the director of the C.I.A.; Attorney General Jeff Sessions; Vice President Mike Pence; Betsy DeVos

.. the message that national unity can be achieved only through a religious “awakening” and allegiance to conservative Christianity.

.. to inspire confidence in the absolute authority and reliability of the Bible.”

.. When Steve Green, the museum’s founder and the president of the Hobby Lobby crafts chain, formed the museum’s parent organization in 2010, he informed the I.R.S.

.. the location of this museum was an act of symbolic and practical genius. If you’re going to build a Christian nation, this is where you start.


Roy Moore and the Sorry State of Evangelical Politics

I’m even more bothered, however, by what Mr. Moore’s popularity says about the sorry state of evangelical Christianity.

Evangelicalism is a Christian movement committed to the authority of the Bible, the necessity of personal conversion and evangelism and the exaltation of Jesus Christ, especially his death on the cross.

.. To begin with, sin is a problem from which no one is exempt. If God’s love required the suffering and death of the Son of God in order to redeem us, we should not underestimate the consequences of sin in our own lives.

.. It is thus wrong to attack one’s critics, as Mr. Moore did recently on Twitter, as “the forces of evil” and attribute their questions about serious allegations to “a spiritual battle.” It is wrong to excuse one’s own moral failings while rushing to judgment over the sins of others, as he also did. We are to love and forgive our enemies, as God has loved and forgiven us.

..  Today’s evangelicals have mostly abandoned those limitations, but we seem especially blind to other kinds of worldliness.

Evangelical politicians fall prey to the allure of money, sex and power at the same rates as just about everyone else. This shouldn’t surprise someone who believes that sin is a universal and persistent problem. So why would evangelicals believe that all would be well if they could take America back — that is, if “people like us” were in charge?

.. Why would someone who believed that rebellion against God was the fundamental obstacle to human flourishing also believe that all would be well if we could just “turn markets loose” or interpret our Constitution in line with its original meaning?

Why would someone who believes that God will win in the end and that we are all accountable to him stoop to reprehensible political tactics and vilify his opponents instead of loving them?

Why would someone who believes that sexual relations should be limited to the context of traditional marriage make excuses for aggressive sexual advances against teenage girls?

.. Evangelicals may love their country, and may even believe that it has been, on balance, a force for good, but they cannot affirm that the United States (much less its military) is the world’s hope. Nor can they affirm that a political party (or an institution like the Supreme Court) is the hope of the United States. Whatever their opinions about the political issues of the day, evangelicals must place their hope in Jesus, period.

.. Roy Moore’s success among evangelical voters — like Donald Trump’s — is a consequence of the fact that we evangelicals seem to have conveniently forgotten certain fundamental truths.