David French is a politically conservative writer and evangelical Christian. He is one with a large following who has not taken the leap into the depths of culturalized Christianity and is giving a clear warning about Christian Nationalism.
Rod Dreher is another politically conservative writer who is full on advocating for a strong “state” that will protect Christians. It is a clear view of Christian Nationalism.
French is a constitutional lawyer and when it comes to freedom of speech and religion, he is sounding the bell for freedom, even when opinions collide. When Florida enacted legislation recently taking away Disney’s special tax district just because they had spoken out against a law passed earlier regarding education (specifically about gay marriage and banning lessons in the early elementary years of public education, among other things), French defended Disney’s position:
“Frankly, I don’t carry a lot of water for Disney. I really don’t like how much it kowtows to a genocidal Chinese regime and then adopts a strong moral pose here at home,” he said. “But they have their constitutional rights. The idea that we’re going to use the power of the state to punish them for exercising their constitutional rights is deeply alarming and problematic.”
Dreher, on the other hand, gives praise to the governor of Florida because he wants strong government protecting (Christian) religion. It’s the old Christendom view:
“If not for the state stepping in to protect families and institutions from the predation of entities like the Walt Disney Company, who will?” wrote Dreher. “The forces arrayed against the family, religion, and tradition are so powerful that only the state can offer a meaningful measure of protection. … American conservatives have got to become less squeamish about using the state in this way.”
What we need to be aware of, according to French, is when we want strong state (or “strong leader”) to protect us specifically, we are surrendering individual liberty. This isn’t a view upholding the ideal of the U.S., as Dreher and others might suppose. It erodes the founding values of the nation.
We are in a time when a group of people want “their country back” in a way that sacrifices the liberty of those who disagree.
Dreher, and other culturalized Christians like him, see the old system of Christendom going away they’ve chosen fear to rule their lives. They don’t want persecution, or perceived persecution (and who really WANTS persecution, really) and they are willing to readily dump democratic founding values for special protection that gets rid of opposing opinions. That’s the cultural battle we’re seeing with far left and far right ideologies and folks like Dreher want it made clear they’re willing to fight that battle and win for just them.
What is needed in this hour is faith, not fear. It is to realize the old culturalized Christianity is crumbling and we, as American Christians in this time, can learn a lot from the rest of Christianity in this world. It is the concept that is far more biblical: HOW DO YOU LIVE WHEN YOU’RE NOT THE MAJORITY RELIGION?
Our problem is this: we haven’t had to so we don’t want to.
In the end, it is folks like Dreher who talk “bravery” and “courage” who are really living in fear. The Spirit of God has been trying to prepare the American Church for moments like this and we’ve been too satisfied and lazy to see it coming.
More HERE on the contrasts between French and Dreher.