It seems like it’s never been this complicated.
But the world is in a bit of a state of confusion about the “Christian identity crisis” that’s happening to the US, and the Christian right is trying to explain it.
First, a little history.
The term “Christian Identity” is derived from a Christian belief that one must be “born again” and have a renewed relationship with God, according to the website christianitytoday.org.
That’s not to say the term doesn’t have its uses in other religious groups, but it’s more widely associated with the Christian Right, a group that espouses conservative Christian values and opposes homosexuality and abortion.
Christian conservatives like Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, have been vocal about the growing Christian right, and they have helped popularize the term.
In 2015, Huckabee told CNN that the Christian Left is “the most violent and destructive force in our country today.”
This year, the Christian National Council (CNC), an influential Christian political organization that includes some conservative Christian leaders, released a statement on its website in which it criticized the Trump administration’s actions and called for “the full and complete repeal of the Johnson Amendment.”
The CNC also said it is “disappointed that President Donald Trump has made the false assertion that his administration is targeting Christianity and Christianity is being persecuted.”
The Johnson Amendment was passed by the US Congress in 1975 to protect the rights of churches that object to government endorsement of religion.
It prohibits government funds from being used to support religious organizations that oppose abortion and marriage equality.
Trump signed the bill into law in 2017, but he didn’t repeal the law until his presidency ended in 2020.
The Republican Party, which has historically been more anti-LGBT than the Democratic Party, has tried to use the Johnson amendment as an excuse to oppose the LGBT community.
The CSC, the conservative organization that has supported Huckabee, was one of several organizations to respond to Trump’s executive order by issuing a statement calling for “all the voices and values of our Christian heritage to be heard and respected,” including “Christian Heritage Month.”
“The Johnson amendment is a major impediment to advancing our Christian Heritage Month, which celebrates the legacy of our forefathers and reaffirms the value of freedom and inclusion,” the statement read.
“As Christians, we are deeply troubled that President Trump has chosen to attack Christians for expressing his faith and the value and relevance of their faith, and that the Johnson Amendments were passed by Congress in the first place.”
Huckabee has since criticized the CNC, and CNC spokesperson Chris Wallace on Monday tweeted, “The CCC has a long history of standing up to religious extremists who would use fear to silence the free expression of all Americans.”
While the CCC didn’t say it supported Huckabee’s call for Christians to “stand up to Christian extremism,” it did say, “We stand in solidarity with the CLC and others who stand with us and continue to stand for the free speech and religious freedom of Christians across America.”
The National Organization for Marriage, which endorsed Huckabee for president, also released a similar statement on Sunday, saying the “Johnson Amendment was an assault on Christians” and that “the president is clearly using the issue to further his own agenda.”
The statement said that “as a Christian, I am profoundly concerned that the Trump Administration is targeting Christians for their faith.”
In a statement to the Washington Post, the National Organization of Marriage said, “the Johnson Amendment and the efforts of the Trump White House to undermine our freedoms have been deeply troubling and unacceptable.”
It also pointed out that the CSC’s statement on the Johnson issue, and other Christian groups’ statements, “have been used by Trump’s allies in the Christian community as a way to silence our voices and our values.”
“While many of the organizations who responded to the Trump Executive Order, including the CCLC, will be celebrating our Christian community this month, it is time for the Christian faith leaders and our allies to stand up and defend our freedoms,” the NOM said.