Intersectional or Christian –  Answering the “Who are we?” Question

Intersectional or Christian –  Answering the “Who are we?” Question

Author: SM White


One of the hot topics of discussion among Christians in the United States is the issue of Christian Nationalism. One of the most glaring problems with it is some of the proponents of it make no distinction between the theocracy of Israel and the other common kingdom nations that exist today. They propose that since Jesus is King, that there should be some sort of minimal national fidelity to a Christian creed, or some even suggest applying the moral law, even including the first 4 commandments, which would essentially make the nation a form of Christian theocracy. One can only imagine with politicians swapping out every 4 years or so what kind of God Biden or Trump might get to dictate what we worship, or perhaps which church they would delegate that responsibility to. Rome?

With Biden’s continuation of Obama’s fundamental transformation, and with a sort of cultural decline in general, there is distinct new culture arising to be the Antithesis, and even replacement of traditional Christian, (or so called family) values. Under the name of democracy, and human rights, abortion, race, LGBTQ, trans-humanism, and a host of other intersectional commitments combine where there may be a narrative of grievance or inequality, even down to “healthy-at-any-size” individuals joining together via “identity politics” in  movement that has been termed Cultural Marxism.

Cultural Marxism is not like the old Marxism where the inflection points were between the material divisions between the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat.

Cultural Marxism is not like the old Marxism where the inflection points were between the material divisions between the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat.  The social classes and grievances today have been remapped to a group of intersectionals who oppose issues such as white-privilege, male-domination, hetero-normative dominance, with even traditional families being considered part of racial inequality, and therefore at cultural enmity with the intersectional comradery. These new intersectional cultural norms are considered necessary parts of democracy, which America assumes it has the right and responsibility to spread democracy globally, which now comes with these features such as LGBT included, or else the nation or leadership of that nation is pegged as undemocratic, or dictatorial and are therefore problematic.

One of the nations in the sights of this new values democracy is a more traditional values friendly and therefore new values resistant Hungary. Which is one reason many conservatives in America look to it as a beacon and guide for what America should be like. As a American, Reformed Christian who lives in Hungary, I have thought about these things and hopefully have some insights that might be helpful.

First off, Hungary is a culturally Christian country which reminds me more of the 1970s or 80s America. Hungary is more culturally Christian than formal.  The statistics are that about half of the population identifies as Christian, where most of them identify as Roman Catholic, but about 1/3 as many of those identify as Calvinist. It has been my experience that most of the churches that identify as “Reformed” or Calvinistic, most would resemble more of a sort of “do-gooder” type of Christianity without much doctrinal understanding or confessional fidelity. Still, nearly 1 million people identify as Calvinists in this small country of about 10 million people.

It does differ from America and many of the Western European nations in that there is not much crime, or delinquency in its capital city Budapest. For example, there is not as much street art painted on buildings and hoodlums don’t go around and destroy cars, or art, and most parts of the beautiful city of Budapest are safe for a woman to walk alone, even at night. Right now the bricks on our sidewalk are being replaced, and there is this sense that the government cares for its citizens, the beauty of the city, the public transportation, good affordable food, natural gas heating, and clean water. It’s not a panacea here. Inflation rose by over 17% last year, and many people are struggling as over all of Europe, but in all, it’s my favorite European city, for reasons of its culture, and still relative affordability.

Significant, there were a series of important amendments written in 2013 and added to the Hungarian constitution in December of 2020 under the heading of: Hungarian Fundamental Law.  Among the statements in this document (which reads as a civilizational constitution) are statements like:

“We recognize the role of Christianity in preserving nationhood.”

“We recognize the role of Christianity in preserving nationhood.” , and “The protection of the constitutional identity and Christian culture of Hungary shall be an obligation of every organ of the State.”;  and

“Every child shall have the right to the protection and care necessary for his or her proper physical, mental and moral development. Hungary shall protect the right of children to a self-identity corresponding to their sex at birth, and shall ensure an upbringing for them that is in accordance with the values based on the constitutional identity and Christian culture of our country.”

Now before would be Christian Nationalists in America get too excited, I would say that there are some fundamental differences between Hungary and the United States that I believe leaves America simply unable to establish something like what Hungary has. The fact that they came out of Communist oppression gave them a sort of mandate or even requirement to search for their identity.  So a sort of “who are we?” question was not only valid, but necessary after what was a national and cultural usurpation and imposition of a liberal enlightenment philosophy, which is what Marxism arguably was/is.

There is also the fact that Hungary as it is established, and has even codified in its constitution is in the category of a civilization-state, and America falls more in the category of a nation-state. Whereas the nation state is a nation built more on ideas, and socio-political modes, a civilization state is built more on the historical and cultural continuity, and therefore has a civilizational identity which in this case Hungary has asserted that it was founded over 1000 years ago as a Christian nation, and that Christianity itself has a role in the preservation of its nationhood. This is claiming a historic reality of Christianity as the constitutional aspect that is necessary to the nation’s very continued existence.

There is simply no way that without massive coercion and probably bloodshed, that America could impose something like this. Partly because America was founded much later, after the Reformation on more of a syncretism of Protestant Christianity and secular Enlightenment philosophy. Which are both aspects of Western liberalization, and which has progressed to the point of individual atomization, and it’s final form of anti-humanity intersectionality and quest for global-hegemony in the name of democracy.  Hungary in its original form was a Christian monarchy, and this is it’s current constitutionally codified claimed national identity which lives on in the form of a democracy, although there are many with the West  who would claim that since it codifies traditional Christian values that this is in itself anti-democratic. Because the new values democracy must include enlightenment’s final form of post-modern liberalism or else it’s not a real democracy but is instead authoritarian.

There is this split within the West, which America must work though it’s own future based on its own “who are we?” questions without the cultural homogeny or unique national and political will to identify with that Hungary had and was able to appeal to its own deeper historic foundations to the point of its codification of Fundamental Law stating the importance of Christianity it its existence. The fact that the idea behind the democratic process has resulted in radical policy shifts every 4/8 years within democracies like America has devolved into a sort of bipolar culture war between new and traditional values, with most education, government, social-media and many big corporations united on or pragmatically betting on the success new-values side. The end result is a deeply divided nation in regards  to national or cultural identity or beliefs about where now there are more intersecting divides between Americans than what unites them.

What this means for the church is that these cultural divides and atomized individualism will continue to negatively impact church bodies. Which I  believe that Reformed confessionalism (Reformed confessions and catechisms guiding ones biblical understanding)  and a sacred-secular distinction between what could be called: “God’s two-fold kingdom”  offers a path forward for the necessary “who are we?” question that Christians and churches will need to answer. Indeed, being unable to answer that fundamental question, leaves one’s principles and values open in a time of great confusion and chaos in the common realm. For the church I believe that the old adage is true that: “If you don’t know where you stand, you’ll fall for anything.”

The same way a civilization state will probably do better in the future than a nation state is that it stands on deeper foundations, and this truism applies to the Christian as well. While Roman Catholics or even Eastern Orthodox can always appeal to and found core beliefs on deep historicity, we Protestants, being the product of Reformation have either the choice of being established in our Reformation roots (even back to proclaiming historic creeds) , or face endless atomization the same way that the broader Western liberal cultures are going.  

There is always a danger that intersectionality is a temptation to culturally attuned and influence seeking churches. Yet a commitment to Reformed confessionalism and a recognition that God distinguishes the spiritual and temporal kingdoms he rules over we will have a bulwark against those who would wish to insert worldly agendas, and in particular those who seek to insert intersectional mandates to either syncretize or make use of Christianity towards an earthly end. The fact remains the new values intersectionality or Cultural Marxism is completely incompatible with historic Reformed Christianity and could rightly be classified as a secular infection of Christianity as it is of traditional culture. We should beware of those who claim otherwise.