On January 6th, 2021, we witnessed footage of a disturbing insurrection attempt at the U.S. Capitol building committed by individuals who wished to overturn the 2020 presidential election results by intimidation and force. We lament the five deaths that occurred as a result of the events that day. And while the display of authoritarian, anti-democratic violence was shocking, we are not under the impression that this event was unprecedented in the history of the United States.
As a community centered on faith in Jesus, one particularly troubling aspect of the Capitol riot was its pervasive use of Christian imagery. Crosses, banners carrying the name of Jesus, and other Christian symbols accompanied some in the crowd that assaulted the Capitol building. The Christian flag, once again, flew in coalition with flag of the Confederacy and other white supremacist symbols. It is for this reason that On Ramps Covenant Church feels it necessary to respond to these events and the underlying forces which abuse the name of Christ, weaponizing the symbols of our faith for the purposes of fascism.
We believe that our true struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the “powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil” (Ephesians 6:12). Therefore we believe in naming and exposing these forces in order that their hold over individuals’ lives might be diminished and broken.
We recognize that the United States is a land plagued by an idolatrous force which we want to specifically name: White Christian Nationalism. White Christian Nationalism is an idolatrous mixing - the mixing of Christian faith with nationalism, manifest destiny, and white supremacy. This entanglement did not begin on January 6th, or in 2016, or in 1776. It’s roots go back to the conquest of the so-called “New World” by Europeans who identified themselves as Christian and would later designate themselves as White.
White Christian Nationalism is a spiritual and ideological force that has inhabited this country since its founding.
It is the convergence of three powers:
1 - White supremacy, which constructs the idea of "whiteness" as the definitive standard of human maturity, exceptionalism and superiority.
2 - Nationalism, which elevates the conception of a national identity, which is pitted against those of other nations or collective projects.
3 - Manifest Destiny, a central part of our nation’s founding mythology, which claims that God has chosen the United States of America to be the dominant world power, and the channel through which God intends to bless the earth (a promise was made to Abraham and his descendants in scripture; cf. Genesis 12:1-3).
We rebuke the spiritual force of white supremacy.
We rebuke the spiritual force of nationalism.
We rebuke the spiritual force of manifest destiny.
We denounce White Christian Nationalism as a perversion of Christianity and an obstacle to true faith in Jesus.
We proclaim again that Jesus is Lord and pledge our allegiance to the Kingdom of God.
We declare that the Kingdom of God has no borders and its mission is not synonymous with the interests of the United States of America.
Some might ask, why address and use the language of White Christian Nationalism? Isn’t it enough to call for peace and unity? Isn’t it “un-Christian” to take sides in a time like this? On Ramps Covenant Church is committed to grounding our lives, our neighborhood engagement, and our political witness in the biblical priority given to justice for the poor and oppressed. This is a vision articulated by God throughout Scripture from Genesis to Revelation (Isaiah 58, Amos 5, Micah 6:8, Luke 4, Matthew 25:31-46, James 1:27, etc...).
We recognize that our American culture is experiencing increasing polarization. However, we do not conclude that a faithful response would be to call for a superficial “peace” or a naive “unity” that sits halfway between oppression and liberation. The disunity we experience in our society is not the foundational problem but is a symptom of deeper problems. Namely, in this case: White Christian Nationalism.
While we believe that the Kingdom of God is above all movements, parties, and ideologies, that does not mean that God is neutral in human social affairs. Scripture makes clear that God chooses sides - not along party preference lines, but always on the side of the poor and oppressed. On Ramps Covenant Church desires to be found on the side of the God who liberated slaves from Egypt (Exodus 1-12) and to stand with Christ in solidarity with those who suffer injustice. This value is the starting point in all our political engagement, and has always been antithetical to the project of White Christian Nationalism.
We seek to join in the work of Jesus who enables true repentance and transformation, who turns enemies into friends, who brings healing to the wounded, and who ends cycles of oppression and violence with restorative justice and self-giving love.
We commit to continue this work of calling out injustice, exposing the powers that dominate our society, and inviting others to join us in embodying the Kingdom of God in our cities and neighborhoods. Join us.
On Ramps Covenant Church