Nationalism is dumb. Religious nationalism is dumber.
Believing that your country is superior to all others makes no sense, since lots of people in many countries, maybe most countries, consider that they're fortunate to live in the best country on Earth.
But at least there's no doubt that these countries exist. They have governments. They have boundaries. They can be photographed. So nationalism, as misguided as it is, has a foundation in objective reality.
Religious nationalism, though, adds a fantasy -- the unproven belief that Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, or some other religion is rooted in a supernatural realm that truly exists even though there is no demonstrable evidence of it.
This makes religious nationalism a delusion attached to a irrational assumption.
Not surprisingly, religious nationalism is destructive. Hindu nationalism leads to violence and oppression of minorities in India. Jewish nationalism makes it more difficult for Israel to reach an agreement with Palestinians. Islamic nationalism encourages terrorists. Christian nationalism fosters divisiveness in the United States.
Actually, more than divisiveness. Christian nationalists played a central role in the January 6 insurrection at the nation's Capitol that was notihing less than a coup attempt.
An opinion piece in USA Today describes how the Trump rioters who broke into the Capitol used Christian rhetoric to justify their unjustifiable actions. Here's excerpts from "Christian nationalism is a threat, and not just from Capitol attackers invoking Jesus."
After a portion of the mob entered the Senate chamber on Jan. 6, a handful of men mounted the podium. One of them lifted his hands and cried out, “Jesus Christ, we invoke your name. Amen.” Then Jacob Chansley, sometimes called the "QAnon Shaman," took his bullhorn and announced gratitude to God for being able to “send a message to all the tyrants, the communists, and the globalists that this is our nation, not theirs.”
Bare-chested to expose his white supremacist tattoos, he had paused briefly to remove his Viking-inspired horned headdress and cap — presumably to assume a properly humble posture as he claimed the United States for himself and his fellow-believers.
...It is easy to protest when white Christian nationalism turns violent. Within the chorus of critics, however, are a substantial number of Christians who plan to take the country for Jesus another way. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, a leader of the misinformation campaign that led people to believe (falsely) that the presidential election was stolen, is among them.
Speaking in his official capacity as attorney general of Missouri in 2017, he proclaimed at a “Pastors and Pews” meetingthat their charge is to “take the lordship of Christ, that message, into the public realm and to seek the obedience of the nations — of our nation… to influence our society, and even more than that, to transform our society to reflect the gospel truth and lordship of Jesus Christ.”
Hawley is aware that not everyone will become Christian, but believes we should all live by his interpretation of Christian values. The lieutenant governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, asserts that elected officials should look to Scripture when making policy, “because every problem we have in America has a solution in the Bible.”
Look, there's nothing wrong with loving your country, just as there's nothing wrong with loving your religion. But this is akin to loving your spouse or children.
Love isn't a competition. I can love my wife and my child without thinking that they are the very best wife and child in the whole world. It would be crazy for me to think that way.
Yet that's what religious nationalism does. It perverts the natural love of country and religion into an extreme view that elevates a particular country and a particular religion into an exalted position that is indefensible and dangerous.