A Christian response to the Alt-Right

I have seen some, though likely not all the news about a rally of white supremacists referring to themselves as the “alt-Right” in Charlottesville VA. Blood has been spilt, though I won’t claim to know by whom. I will not claim to know everything on the ground, so I will make no specific statements on what has actually happened, the news feed on the internet is currently providing more commentary than facts, and I don’t have cable. Additionally, since sensationalism sells ads, I want to be careful not to reference some specific fact or statement that might be retracted by morning. I will answer in principle alone.

Christians, however, will almost undoubtedly be drawn in, at the same time as our current president (who is not known for his erudition or careful statements of principles) will have his every statement parsed for hidden sympathy with racism. It will be implied every supporter of his cause, including many white evangelical Christians, will be compared to the Nazis and Klan. Let me be plain. There is no justification for racism in the Bible. Paul clearly states that the goal of the church is spreading the gospel to every tribe and nation (Romans 15), and that the church is to be a place where Greeks and Jews are on equal footing (Galatians), and there is no justification for ignoring this principle on the grounds of skin color. It is true that the visible church has not always been on the Bible’s side in this issue, unfortunately, the Church is culturally situated and it is all too often a problem that worldly philosophies find their way into the church. The book of First Corinthians was written to a church with serious problems, many of them implicitly gained through the culture they were situated in. The same is no less true, unfortunately, for the church today.

Many people may ask why the Church has been so slow to condemn the alt-right, but this assumes that they understand the movement’s true nature, and that the alt-right is honest in describing themselves as a right-wing movement. American conservatives believe in a few basic things, the rule of law (with it strict constructionist interpretation of the constitution, equal treatment of citizens under the law, and a restoration of the checks and balances enshrined in the constitution), a rejection of non-market based economic models (including Keynesian, Marxist and neo-Marxist economic principles, which are rejected on largely empirical grounds) and opposition to totalitarianism.[1] There are other issues that go in and out of favor with conservatives (the principle of peace through strength, concern about the national debt, and a belief that the government needs downsizing in secondary and tertiary functions due to spending). There are also social conservatives who are concerned with public morals and the decline of society, but some of these are political moderates. The Alt-Right rejects conservatism outright, if you don’t believe me read a few alt-right blogs, you will generally find a great deal of antipathy for conservative principles. The thing about Nazi’s and fascists is they are far closer to the early twentieth century progressives than to modern American conservatives.

The reason why the church has not spoken more loudly, is the problem of our modern political propaganda machines.[2] The word “racist” is sometimes used so freely that it has become somewhat meaningless. If a politician or a commenter calls someone a racist, then it immediately moves his opponent to the defending himself, and the accuser wins points in the propaganda battle. The boy has been crying wolf, and now when a real wolf has departed the fringes of American society (where they have been napping), the cries have been ignored. Maybe Charlottesville will change that. Most Christians probably had very little idea to what the Alt-right was because they weren’t paying attention.  I may disagree with liberals on the wisdom or the justness of their ideas about the means to dealing with racial bigotry, but the ends are not different.

Let it be clear I denounce any group that claims racial superiority, as this denies that man is made in the image of God. I repudiate anyone who attempts to identify this movement with the cross of Jesus Christ as an ugly heresy, to oppress another with the symbol of freedom from sin by the torture and death of the Lord of Life is a crime and should be met with excommunication. I repudiate as both a Christian and an American any attempt to use violence to forward a political end in a stable democracy. Totalitarian brings with it great evil, and I oppose the alt-right, white nationalism, and any such group for their racism. I also oppose any other totalitarian groups who oppose free speech or are willing to use violence to further their ends, including the modern fascist movement known as “Antifa.”

[1] I am not here to defend conservative positions, though I am a conservative. These are not listed for debate, that is the role of a political blogger, I note this only for definition and clarification.

[2] In fact, the worst possible outcome of Charlottesville will be continued appropriation of the matter for political advancement, particularly by extremist groups that are equally bad to the white nationalists in Charlottesville. Sometimes Communist movements are treated as early victims or early principled opposition to Hitler in the rise of the Third Reich, but in many senses, they weren’t all that different. Like the early Nazi’s, the communists had their brigades of stormtroopers, their attempted violent coups and overthrows of the government, and their lists of enemies to be killed. Part of Hitler’s strategy during the thirties was the highlighting of martyrs to the Nazi cause to paint himself in a sympathetic light. Some of these martyrs, such as Herbert Norkus were murdered by members of the Communist Rote Jungfront (the communist counterpart to the Hitler Youth). In a war between the White Nationalists or the Antifa movement, whoever wins, America will be the poorer.