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Progressivism on the big screen

Rob Reiner’s God & Country is the hit piece you expected it to be


Still from God & Country God & Country Movie

Progressivism on the big screen

The much-discussed Rob Reiner-produced God & Country documentary is now in theaters and the final product confirms how the documentary was marketed. It’s a biased vilification of conservative Christians that is little more than an exercise in fanning progressive wrath.

Admittedly, the documentary landed a few good punches in its criticisms. Did it rightly call out a lot of cringe and horrible theology done to defend Trump? Yes. Some of the precincts in conservative evangelicalism deserve scathing criticism for sycophantically excusing or defending Donald Trump’s many flaws. But one need not be a theological or political liberal to make that criticism.

To its credit, the documentary did offer mild qualification that not all conservative Christians are enemies of polite society—but only because the interviewees couldn’t speak for all Christians. Even giving that qualification, one would never know at what point one of those culturally acceptable values that Christians affirm—like human dignity—runs afoul of progressive views, especially when politically mobilized. But one can assume from later in the film that if you mobilize to oppose abortion, you hate women and have sacrificed your faith on the altar of politics.

Seems balanced, I know.

But, dear reader, let me ask you a series of questions:

Do you oppose abortion? If so, that’s a marker of Christian nationalism.

Do you oppose LGBTQ ideology? If so, that’s a marker of Christian nationalism.

Do you oppose critical race theory? If so, that’s a marker of Christian nationalism.

Do you oppose feminism? If so, that’s a marker of Christian nationalism.

At one point, innuendo suggests that worldview formation is a marker of Christian nationalism.

That’s what one learns from the film. In other words, opposing the above items are left-coded ways of disenfranchising conservative Christians as fair players in the game of democracy. According to the film, the only authentic expressions of Christianity are the forms of Christianity that are left-coded in our society. In truth, helping the poor, loving the immigrant, and helping the helpless are not left-coded. That’s just Biblical Christianity. But it becomes left-coded when left-wing pundits and left-wing academics and activists consider all right-coded concerns about abortion and the LGBTQ agenda as “political.”

The only acceptable form of Christianity in this film is the politically neutered and de-natured Christianity, one that is little more than sentimentality and social justice.

The film also strings together a historically simplified, exaggerated, and contradictory storyline. One moment we’re literally on the “precipice” of theocracy by those funneling billions of dollars into activist organizations to take over America. In other parts of the film, Christian Nationalists are just a very small percentage of Christians. Which is it?

Of course, anyone paying attention knew the film was going to end in this direction with slapdash labels affixed to Christians that honor Scripture and affirm law’s accountability to natural law. In 2022 as Christian nationalism was all the rage, I asked progressives: “Convince me that your skepticism about Christian nationalism isn’t just a cover for wanting Christians out of politics and out of power. Convince me that Christian nationalism is not just another progressive epithet hurled against conservative Christians. Convince me that your opposition to Christians having political power is not really just a blanketed opposition to what others might simply call the natural law. It’s just too convenient to delegitimize the areas where progressives are always prone to disagree with Christians by slapping the label ‘Christian nationalism’ on it. So where, exactly, does the line differentiating opposition to ‘Christian nationalism’ in particular, and opposition to biblical morality in general, begin and end?”

The film validates my concerns from 2022: If you are a biblical Christian, you are now a Christian nationalist. But outside the typical precincts that do little else than remind you of how awful evangelical Christians are, the movie is a general market flop. Ticket sales reached only $38,415 opening weekend. That’s not exactly the sign of a groundswell for a looming fear of theocratic take-over.

The film is yet just another classic example of left-wing hypocrisy. William F. Buckley, Jr. once remarked that “liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.” This film is the same song, just a different verse. Consider that many interviewed for this documentary ostensibly exempt their own progressive political ideology from being labeled “Christian nationalism,” and one wonders whether that wasn’t the whole goal from the start. “My brand of religion is uncorrupted by political influence,” says the politically progressive theologian. Heads, I win; tails, you lose. Always. The only acceptable form of Christianity in this film is the politically neutered and de-natured Christianity, one that is little more than sentimentality and social justice. Of course, when you consider that evangelical Christians give far more to charity and mercy ministries than to political organizations, the narrative of God & Country quickly falls apart.

In the end, this documentary is a Trojan horse for progressive ideology. Christian participants in this documentary will deny this intention. Still, the result of this documentary is the continued delegitimization of any form of Christian witness in the public square that dares to challenge progressive dogmas. The whole documentary ended with an extended discourse on abortion. Of course, it also ended with a reference to the “least of these” in Matthew 25, but apparently with no regard to asking whether the unborn qualify as “the least of these.” The documentary is as intellectually serious as that argument.


Andrew T. Walker

Andrew is the managing editor of WORLD Opinions and serves as associate professor of Christian ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also a fellow with The Ethics and Public Policy Center. He resides with his family in Louisville, Ky.


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