An interesting debate between two German nationalists recently took place in the German nationalist youth magazine Blaue Narzisse concerning Christianity and identity. The magazine, under the chief editorship of Felix Menzel, takes the European Identitarian (nationalist)/new right position.1 I’ve translated some excerpts from both relevant pieces which should convey both authors’ arguments sufficiently.
Richard Meissner, lamenting that Christianity has made a comeback in discussions among European nationalists – which he attributes partially to the prominence of Islam in the Identitarian discourse as well as the increasing popularity of the Russian Orthodox philosopher Aleksandr Dugin on the European right – argues for the incompatibility of Christianity and a healthy nationalist love of family, folk, and fatherland.
In his piece that appeared on the 31st of March, he proceeds to explain why he considers the re-emergence of Christianity in European nationalism a very bad development:2
You can twist and turn as you want: Christianity is not a religion of self-assertion. The words of Jesus are clear: we should not resist evil but turn our cheek, and not defend our bodily existence. The same goes for our possessions, which we should surrender completely. And what is the requirement to hate his father and mother other than the command to hate one’s own country, denying one’s own identity?[Christ] is humiliated, tortured, and murdered. Yet he tells himself, his tormentors know not what they do. He who tortures others always know exactly what he does and why he does it. “They know not what they do” – these are also not unfamiliar words, often coming from the the mouths of politically-correct politicians, journalists, and priests, every time a German is violently murdered by a foreigner.
The early Christians were aware that self-sacrifice is the core of the Christian faith. They did not defend themselves. It would have been counterproductive, and their death was a way to achieve martyrdom, and extend their stay in the kingdom of heaven.
He then continues with a (rather ridiculous) paragraph in which he tries to make the point that the entire medieval establishment of European Christendom was really at odds with Christ’s teaching. Thereafter continuing the argument:
Modern Christians preach, for the first time since the early Church, what the essence of Jesus’ teaching is – self-abandonment. We are not to resist evil, nor the terrorists, nor the gangster. Give out anything you have here to the incoming refugees of the world. And who does not hate his father and mother, and even more-so their Nazi forefathers [grandparents?], cannot follow us!
Christianity would that the gospel be preached to all nations, but it has never claimed to save all nations. The people fall prey in his eschatology of destruction. Heimat and loyalty are words that sound grotesque in a Christian context. He who really believes Jesus’ teachings, neglects responsibility for family, people, and traditions. . . . [T]his is not identitarian. He who wants to be a man who stands up for his people and defies evil cannot be a Christian without falling into hypocrisy or sophistry. The God of the Christians saves no nations.
On the 4th of April, a response from the hand of a fellow German nationalist, Dennis Spiess, appeared, entitled Christ as Identity:3
I am a Christian. And I must admit that the article by Richard Meissner has some merit. It is true that in particular, the large, popular churches today often proclaim a very strange message. I must also agree with Meissner that it is not consistent and does not even make sense, as right-identitarians to advocate what he holds to be Christianity. . . .
To be a Christian does not necessitate having no identity or wanting to unify all identities. No, it’s simply an identity that ranks higher and deeper than gender, status, race, and nationality.[Christian unity] concerns a spiritual unity and does not concern group formation – and certainly does not amount to egalitarianism. Yes, we know diversity. [Christianity] is colorful. But it does not necessarily make of us a bunch of “do-gooders” who sacrifice their rights to the [modern] multiculturalist, pluralist ideology, but it is [a diversity celebrated] in terms of the creativity of the Creator – “For God is not the author of disorder but of peace,” it says in 1 Corinthians 14:33.
And yet even if the Christian is first and foremost a citizen of heaven and has no lasting earthly city, he is committed to his earthly society. It is not for nothing that Jeremiah 29.7 reads: “Seek the welfare of the city whither I have carried you into exile, and pray to the Lord for its welfare, so you will find peace.”
Are we really commanded not to resist evil? Granted, at first glance the Sermon on the Mount appears to advocate that justice be sacrificed for the sake of injustice. But Paul beautifully clarifies the Christian attitude in Romans 12.17-21. The point is not to repay evil with evil. Jesus does not say, “Let them beat you death no matter what.” But he does not advocate a vicious circle of never-ending violence. One is to avoid the sin of self-righteous retaliation when you yourself are full of guilt. And all are in some respects perpetrators. No one is a victim only. He who forgives his enemy, not only creates a real possibility that both parties involved in conflict will live together in peace, but he gives his enemies over to the infallible judgment of God.
What to do now, when our enemy is a very real threat? I trust that God will save us, as He has saved his people throughout the history of the Bible countless times. God has given the government the sword to keep law and order. If she refuses to do this, however, sooner or later she will come to a fall by a divinely-sent force. In this regard we can also reject the pacifist misunderstanding that a mindset of peacefulness implies that one cannot stand up for family or nation. The Christian is also obliged to take up the sword when God commands it. . . .[W]e are to love our family, as it says in the ten commandments. The Lord is the Giver of all good gifts and without his benevolent grace, true familial happiness cannot exist. . . . [W]hen Jesus prayed on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” he did not mean that the Romans did not notice that they were crucifying someone. The point is rather that they were crucifying the Supreme Authority over the universe – and this unjustly.
Meissner mocks [divine] authority . . . when he writes that a recognition of that authority means a self-sacrifice. On the contrary, a lack of [divine] authority implies relativism by which our identity . . . loses all of its actual significance and meaning.
Everything is relative without God. Albert Einstein once said that everything is relative. This statement, however, he could only make because it was based on what he considered to be an absolute truth. For if the truth is relative, what would his statement possibly mean? It’s the same with morality. If we do not believe in God anymore and leave Christianity behind us, what is really left as a solid foundation for the distinction between good and evil? How can Meissner write that a man should “defy evil” if he fails to provide any moral standard by which to know what is evil? Why am I the good guy and not the jihadists or the greenies? Claiming the moral high ground without possessing an absolute standard for morality – this is the real hypocrisy!
I think I speak for all Christian ethnonationalists when I say to Dennis Spiess that we salute you for standing up for Christian truth amid the antagonism it receives. This antagonism comes not merely (as expected) from the left, but also from the right through white nationalist neo-pagans, who often might appear to be fighting on our side, but are actually at enmity with our highest desire and end, the glory of God (I Cor. 10:31; Westminster Larger Catechism Q&A 1).
If I have one criticism of Spiess’s reply, however, it is that he fails to provide a more solid biblical case against gnosticism, which he also fails to mention as the religion Meissner identifies with biblical Christianity. In this regard, his particular use of Jeremiah 29:7 is also questionable, as this text was actually written to encourage a people in bondage and exile earnestly desiring to return to their fatherland. This does not exactly reflect the attitude of the Christian, as we believe that God’s kingdom is to be manifested within our earthly, material reality, and our desire for the Kingdom of God to come is very far removed from any escapist notions as suggested by Meissner. It would be better to make the case that the entire Bible and biblical law presupposes and appreciates national identity as valuable and positive. In traditional Christian theology, our identity as Christians is not merely spiritual as opposed to material or external; rather, it is Christianity which sanctifies our God-given material identities as members of a particular family, nation, and race – giving it a transcendent purpose by which it can, in Christ, be cultivated to the glory of God. Nonetheless, it is extremely encouraging to see that Christianity is indeed once again being seriously considered within the European nationalist movement, which for many years now has falsely shunned Christianity as partially to blame for the suicidal path on which modernism has set Europe.
For further systematic elaboration on the very valuable points made by Spiess, I most highly recommend our very own Nil Desperandum’s series, “Christianity as a Necessary Foundation for White Nationalism.”
- http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blaue_Narzisse – note: page is in German ↩
- http://www.blauenarzisse.de/index.php/anstoss/item/5219-identitaeres-christentum – note: piece is in German ↩
- http://www.blauenarzisse.de/index.php/anstoss/item/5224-christus-als-identitaet – note: piece is in German ↩