Nazis, racists, and white nationalists recently assembled in Charlottesville, VA and instigated a riot. Although information is still coming in, it appears that one man in particular purposefully drove his car into a crowd of people who had gathered to protest the alt right assembly. The media is, blessedly, all over this story, casting aspersions on the ideas of skinheads and other wannabe Nazis. There can be no amount of disapprobation heaped upon this movement sufficient to disparage its teachings. Of all people Christians ought to insist on the biblical truth that every person, of whatever skin color or ethnicity, is created in the image of God. The very idea of race—or of inferior or superior branches of humanity—is antithetical to the Scripture. There exist but two races on earth: the redeemed race and the fallen race.
Various strains of white nationalism have attempted to incorporate elements of Christianity, fusing these with a non-Christian ideology, evidently in an attempt to make their teachings more palatable. Racism is far more appealing if given divine sanction. That trend is increasing. Christianity, however, is an ill fit, and historically Christ had no place in the ideological roots of the moment—Nazism crushed biblical Christianity. National Socialism’s anti-religious bias helped, in fact, to secure its demise. The nations of the earth saw in Nazi ideology a belief system that was and is incompatible with civilized society, and which must never be allowed to find purchase in the competing philosophies of government and nationhood. Millions therefore died to eradicate it from the earth. While it continues to rear its ugly head, and while there will always be men attracted to its form of violence, the media response to Charlottesville, which is coming from across the political spectrum, reveals that nobody is fooled by the awkward draping of Christian rhetoric over Nazi ideas. It is still a virulently anti-social movement that is simply incompatible with the civilized nations of the earth.
The West has struggled, however, to think as clearly when confronted with the ideology of radical Islam. Radical Islamic fundamentalism is as virulently opposed to civilized society as is Nazism. Though coming from very different perspectives, each arrives at largely the same set of convictions, in which world subjugation and a stratified society—comprised of superior and inferior persons—results. Whereas Nazis attempt to divide the world by race, radical Islam purposes to do so by religion, pursuing the eradication and oppression of all those who refuse to bend the knee to their god.
The West respects religion. Religious wars in Europe fueled centuries of conflict, and it has only been relatively recently that the Western nations of the world have agreed that allowing religious liberty is a good idea. Enforced religious conformity—so far from creating national unity—fosters conflict. Religious freedom is thus a hard-earned right born of a series of costly lessons.
That very respect is, however, preventing the West from responding to radical Islam in the same way it responded and is still responding to Nazism. We are unwilling to condemn an ideology that is tangled up with a religious faith. Refusing to fight a war on radical Islam, we instead we fight a war on terror, as though terror is an opponent that can be engaged or defeated. Politicians and media outlets trip over themselves to affirm non-radical Muslims, for our leaders fear that any verbal attack on radical Muslims will somehow offend non-radical Muslims.
Contemporary alt right groups are wrong, but they are not stupid. They have seen that the media fears to cover the activities of radical Islam in the same way it covers KKK rallies. Where religion is present, the press—to a degree—backs off. The recent attempt of far right groups to paint themselves into the Christian mainstream thus makes perfect sense.
Fortunately, it does not appear that many people are buying it. These groups have no affinity with biblical Christianity, and those of us who follow Jesus should clearly repudiate their teachings and contrast their ideology with true, biblical Christianity. No matter how much they attempt to varnish their teachings with Christian rhetoric, their views are simply incompatible with Christ, and do not represent His Church.