A few nights ago, I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned and then did the one thing you should never, ever do if you hope to return to a deep slumber: I opened Twitter.
And there it was. In all of its glory. A line of bright-eyed students snaking endlessly throughout the Tampa Bay convention center, all eagerly awaiting an opportunity to meet their hero. The newly minted conservative icon. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
“We are doomed,” captured one tweet, but serving as a summation of all other responses to the above video.
Turning Point USA bills itself as an opportunity to “promote freedom” and “limited government” through the voice of young people. But of course, the “young people” that lined up to meet and greet Greene were almost exclusively white and MAGA-infused, actively celebrating some of the most disgusting rhetoric ever uttered by political figureheads.
Greene, though, has become something else entirely: she’s become the poster child of right-wing Christian nationalism. That isn’t hyperbole. She’s actively embraced the title, which led to her (understandably) trending on Twitter as a “Nazi.”
I mean, if the Hitler-sized shoe fits.
But as the linked article above suggests, we as Christians play a particularly dangerous game if we casually allow the name of Christ—and our faith—to be dragged into the muck. Indeed, the last time democracy was challenged, and Christians allied with one particular party, Nazism wasn’t merely born—it was celebrated. And Hell followed closely behind.
There was a reason Neo-Nazis set-up camp outside the Turning Point event. And lest anyone believe Greene is merely misunderstood or playing political charades, just a few months ago she spoke at a white supremacist conference that celebrated both Vladimir Putin and Adolf Hitler.
Somewhere, Eva Braun is looking up pridefully.
We live in an era where language—and how we use it—has become increasingly important. But just as it’s important to identify someone by the preferred term, perhaps it’s equally important to refuse to grant a term to someone who is knowingly abusing it.
After all, there isn’t a world that exists where Marjorie Taylor Greene—or her idol, Adolf Hitler—have anything in common with the “Prince of Peace,” Jesus Christ.
To say another way: Greene and her ilk might be proudly white. And they might be proud nationalists. But they’re not Christians. Not even close. And the risk of not saying that is to dilute or bastardize the term entirely.
Further, the suggestion that the movement of Jesus could ever be considered “nationalist” would’ve sent Jews and Gentiles both into peels of laughter. You can almost hear the ancient Romans laughing from 2,000 years away.
Jesus himself was fairly blunt in his assessment of imposters, stating, “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
The roots of Christianity as a movement are baked in self-sacrifice, not self aggrandizement. There was not and never was a ‘warrior’ Jesus, however someone might wish to misread Revelation. Rather, the most accurate depiction we have of Christ’s mission and our role in it rests exclusively with the Sermon on the Mount—this fact isn’t disputed by any pastor worth their salt.
How we characterize Marjorie Taylor Greene’s faith—or lack thereof—and that of her supporters is not an attempt to dunk on them, or incite more rhetorical flames. Rather, the parameters of Christianity are fairly obvious, and anyone who has even a cursory knowledge of the life of Jesus understands what is acceptable and what isn’t. For example, speaking at an event where the butcher of millions of Jews is celebrated (Jesus was a Jew) is decidedly not acceptable.
I’m aware that many conservative Christians have grown up in households or churches where syncretism—that unholy marriage of State and Church—was an assumed reality to be navigated and lived out. These words are likely foreign to them, though I hope they’ll take another tour through the gospels. Because as the final days of Jesus underscored, that dangerous relationship between the religiously pious and government ends one way: violence and death.