A Reflection from the Interpath Traditions
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.

In his September 2020 Address to the United Nations, Pope Francis warned, “We are faced with a choice between two possible paths, a solidarity grounded in justice and the attainment of peace and unity within the human family, which is God’s plan for our world, or a path which emphasizes self-sufficiency, nationalism, protectionism, individualism and isolation.”

The Pope sounded the alarm. Once again, there are forces at work in the Nation and the World subverting religion for nationalistic and partisan motives. The situation is alarming and dangerous.

Take, for example, the recent speech of Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister, to a political gathering in Dallas, TX. He advocated for racist policies, intolerance, white supremacy, anti-Semitism, and isolationism. Moreover, he upheld the tenants of Christian Nationalism which many, unfortunately, confuse with Christianity and patriotism. 

Christian Nationalists in the United States have succeeded in attracting people who may have more conservative views concerning certain aspects of the so-called “Cultural Wars.” Honest debate about such issues is, of course, legitimate and welcome. Nationalists hide behind these issues to further their political agenda, which would destroy democracy and severely compromise the human rights of minorities, women, or anyone they consider the enemy. 

Christian Nationalism repeats a false story suggesting America is by nature a Christian Country to be governed by Christian principles for the sake of Christian people. Anyone who is not Christian cannot be a true American. Certain white men have a privileged position in this scheme of reality which endangers the rights and well-being of everyone else. We see this sad development in the removal of books from our libraries, schools, and institutions. Christian Nationalists demand history be told from their perspective. Slavery must be denied, and the genocide of Indigenous people obscured. Christian Nationalism honors power, might, and violence.       

Nationalists think anyone who works for the right of all people to vote, freedom of religion for all faiths, and reparations for past injustices is unfaithful, treasonous, or sinful.

It is crucial for Christian Churches to stand up against the rising tide of Nationalism. The issues should not be dismissed as “political”. Instead, the Churches must reclaim the word “Christian” from those who would confuse it with partisan politics or a false patriotism fostering hate groups and violence. 

The God of Christianity is the God of all people. Therefore, our borders must not be walls built by hatred any more than our hearts ought to harbor a sense of superiority over others. Jesus taught us to honor the human dignity of all peoples. It is our blessing to be of loving service to everyone.

Blessings to you, Holy Community, for resisting the temptations to think of yourselves in ways excluding others. Gratitude to you, Beloved Community, for following in the footsteps of our Teacher who taught us to be people of self-giving kindness.

As things begin to return to a new normal, we at The Interfaith Peace Project are here for you in any way that you need us. The Antioch Center is now open to fully vaccinated people on Wednesdays, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. We are vigilant and will adjust to any and all recommendations from the state and county. We will continue our work through Zoom as we add in person programs. If you would like to schedule an in person or Zoom program or would like a phone appointment with any of us, give us a call. You may call or email Tom at:
Tom Bonacci
[email protected]
925-787- 9279