5 Reasons Why I Categorically Reject the Alt-Right Version of Jesus
The alt-right is not a monolithic movement, and so it does not have a uniform view of Jesus. And some on the alt-right do not profess to be Christians at all. But, to the extent there is an alt-right version of Jesus, I reject it categorically. Here’s why.
1. Jesus was a reconciler, not a racist.
He crossed some of the traditional boundary lines of His day. He associated with Samaritans and included women in His larger team. (Note that He crossed no moral boundary lines. Instead, He raised those moral standards even higher.)
But when it came to racial divisions, while His mission began with Israel, He reached out to Gentiles and pointed to the day when they too would participate in His kingdom (see Matthew 8:5-13). And He calls His very diverse, worldwide Body to unity (see John 17).
In contrast, as Michael Knowles pointed out, “Racism is not a fringe element of the Alt-Right; it’s the movement’s central premise.”
Allegiance to Jesus transcends allegiance to country. The kingdom of God transcends party lines.
2. Jesus was a servant, not a supremacist.
As He said to His disciples:
You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:42-45)
It is true that He is Lord and that He will return one day to judge the world. And it is true that all authority belongs to Him (Matthew 28:18). But He accomplished His mission through service, not supremacy, which is why God raised Him up to the highest place. And He is our example (see Philippians 2:5-11).
3. While not a racist, Jesus was King of the Jews, not part of the KKK.
Unfortunately, a number of alt-right leaders are unashamedly anti-Semitic. To quote Knowles again, the alt-right is “explicitly anti-Semitic.”
Writing for the liberal Jewish publication The Forward, Sam Kestenbaum noted that alt-right leader Richard Spencer “isn’t the first white separatist to hold seemingly contradictory views on the Jews. Earlier white supremacists like the Ku Klux Klan had a similar love-hate relationship; Spencer and his cohort are building on these foundations.”
Kestenbaum points back to
a 1926 tract on “religious and patriotic ideals,” [where] one KKK-affiliated minister praised Jews as “a wonderful people,” particularly the way in which they have maintained the “purity of their racial blood, refusing to intermarry with other races.”
The minister, a Texan named W. C. Wright, called Jesus Christ a Klansman — because he “belonged to the oldest Klan in existence, the Jewish theocracy.”
In Wright’s imagination, Jesus promoted a type of Jewish supremacy — just as the KKK fought for white supremacy. “Jews have been Klannish since the days of Abraham,” Wright wrote.
This attitude seems to mirror that of the alt-right today, and it could not be further from the attitude of Jesus and His Jewish followers.
4. While a devoted member of the people of Israel, Jesus was not a hyper-nationalist.
His great emphasis was on the coming Messianic kingdom, which, as He stated, was not of (or from) this world (see John 18:36, which I’ll cite below).
Accordingly, His followers who live in this world do so as “foreigners and exiles” (1 Peter 2:11), praying for the well-being of our respective countries and serving as loyal citizens while also recognizing the imperfections and failings of our respective countries.
5. Jesus did not equate military might with strength.
For Him the way of conquest was the way of the cross, overcoming evil by good and overcoming hatred by love (see Romans 12:14-21).
Jesus also opposed the use of the sword to advance God’s kingdom. He told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, My servants would fight to prevent My arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now My kingdom is from another place” (John 18:36). And while I do not believe this is a blanket condemnation of the military or a prohibition of self-defense, we can deduce from this that the gospel does not advance by the sword.
The Jesus of the alt-right bears more likeness to the Jesus of Hitler than to the Jesus of the Bible.
In contrast, the Jesus of the alt-right bears more likeness to the Jesus of Hitler than to the Jesus of the Bible. As Hitler said in a speech on April 12, 1922, “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter.”
Of course, in many ways, the Savior was a fighter, and He will demonstrate His power when He “returns in blazing fire with His powerful angels.” At that time, He will punish those “who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8). Yet while here on earth, in contrast with military-religious leaders like Muhammad, Jesus didn’t kill His enemies, He died for them.
Again, that doesn’t mean that we should not try to take out groups like ISIS (I believe we should). And that doesn’t mean that wimpiness is virtuous or cowardice is Christlike. God forbid.
But it does mean that allegiance to Jesus transcends allegiance to country and that the kingdom of God transcends party lines.
That’s why Jesus and the alt-right do not mix.