Christianity to North America

Jesus Christ Savior | The first Mass of Thanksgiving on North American soil was actually celebrated by the Spanish with the Timucuan Indians from Seloy village in attendance on September 8, 1565 in St. Augustine, Florida.

Christopher Columbus reached America in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492. Following the discovery of Florida by Ponce de Leon in 1513, St. Augustine, Florida became the first permanent European settlement in North America in 1565, from which missionaries spread Catholicism to the Native American Indians. The first Mass of Thanksgiving on North American soil was actually celebrated by the Spanish with the Timucuan Indians from Seloy village in attendance on September 8, 1565 in St. Augustine, Florida. Spanish explorations extended as far as Santa Fe, New Mexico, established in 1609.

A wave of explorations to the New World continued. Jamestown was founded by the British in May of 1607, and the Anglican Church of England was established in Virginia. Samuel de Champlain explored the St. Lawrence River and founded Quebec, Canada for Catholic France in July of 1608. Henry Hudson sailed for the Dutch East India Company and explored the river that bears his name in September of 1609; the Dutch Reformed Church was established in New Amsterdam after the Netherlands purchased Manhattan in 1626.

Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor by William Halsall (1882)

Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor by William Halsall (1882)

Christianity continued to thrive in the New World as our young Nation developed. Four of the original 13 English colonies were specifically chartered for religious freedom, as a refuge from religious persecution in England at the time. William Bradford and the Pilgrim Congregationalists arrived on the Mayflower at Cape Cod in 1620 and the Calvinist John Winthrop and the Puritan Protestants in 1629 in Massachusetts. Lord Baltimore George Calvert and his son Cecil Calvert received a charter for the Catholics in 1632, and Cecil’s younger brother Leonard Calvert arrived on the Ark and Dove in Maryland in 1634. The settlers soon enacted the Toleration Act of Maryland and founded St. Mary’s Chapel in St. Mary’s City, Maryland. Roger Williams established a Church for the Baptists in Providence, Rhode Island in 1638. William Penn and the Quakers settled in 1682 in Pennsylvania. The Mennonites also moved to Pennsylvania in 1683 at the invitation of William Penn. The universal toleration offered in Pennsylvania continued to attract groups such as the Amish, Moravian Pietists, and Presbyterians. Early American writings reflect the Christian Heritage of our nation, the United States of America.

Our anonymous author is a physician and a Masters graduate in Theology and Christian Ministry from Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio. He teaches Sunday Bible Class at St. James Catholic Church and serves both Pastoral Care and the Medical Staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Genocide in Nigeria!

by Joanna Bogunjoko | Despite his re-election, Buhari has not begun to change or do things better. Alas, he has not even acknowledged anything is going on. The All Progressives Congress (APC), South African Chapter, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that the lives of Nigerians are safe in South Africa.

A university professor was gruesomely axed and murdered recently. He was 40 years old, married and a father of three young children. This is one in a thousand stories, and each murder was deliberate, planned and done without remorse or consequences. Is this how the story of Nigeria will continue? Will the world keep being quiet and turning a blind eye and deaf ear to the GENOCIDE going on in Nigeria?

Despite his re-election, Buhari has not begun to change or do things better. Alas, he has not even acknowledged anything is going on.

Please click the links in the references below and read about the massacres. And, please ask your government to put pressure on Buhari to stop these barbaric killings and bring the man-slaughterers to justice.
I can’t help but cry out the words of Psalm 10 that I have shared below.

Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?….

He lies in wait near the villages;
from ambush he murders the innocent.
His eyes watch in secret for his victims;
like a lion in cover he lies in wait.
He lies in wait to catch the helpless;
he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.

His victims are crushed, they collapse;
they fall under his strength.
He says to himself, “God will never notice;
he covers his face and never sees.”
Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.

But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted
you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.

Break the arm of the wicked man;
call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
that would not otherwise be found out.
The Lord is King for ever and ever;
the nations will perish from his land.

You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that mere earthly mortals
will never again strike terror.

Thank you for your prayers and support for my country!


Nigerian Christians Under Siege: Attacks Claim 120 Lives Since February

A Dozen Christian Villages in Nigeria Wiped Out in Four-Day Killing Spree:

New Zealand: Fani-Kayode queries international community over silence on Kaduna killings

2 Islamic Groups Target Nigerian Christians – 300 Killed While 72 Others Supernaturally Saved from Firing Squad

Media IGNORING Mass Slaughter of Christians in Nigeria

Muslim Terrorists’ Merciless Killing of Nigerian Christians Continues as Mainstream Media Remains Silent

Joshua and Joanna Bogunjoko

Joshua & Joanna Bogunjoko

Joanna Bogunjoko is the SIM’s Special Assistant to the International Director and Archives Assistant under the umbrella of SIM International Leadership and Services. She have served at three mission hospitals in West Africa and became full members of SIM in 2001.


What Nationalism Means Today

by James Kalb | Among ordinary Americans, though, the usual form of what’s now called nationalism is the belief that the first obligation of American government is to look after the common good of the American people. (image: Mount Rushmore Sculpture Monument Landmark, Pixabay).  

A piece I wrote last month on globalism and nationalism led to some extremely spirited discussion. A few more comments may be useful.

Journalists and commentators today use the word “nationalism” very broadly to refer to any resistance to globalization based on attachment to national identity. This usage lines up with current disputes regarding the legitimacy and future role of the nation state, so it makes sense to go along with it when discussing current affairs.

One point that confuses discussion is that Americans for the most part haven’t called themselves nationalists. They’ve been more likely to call themselves patriots or just plain Americans. The few who view nationalism as their basic political identity have often held views that most find deeply misguided. They might be “national greatness” conservatives, who think America has a manifest destiny to put the world in order, or white nationalists, who don’t much like America and want to establish a new nation on the basis of racial separation.

Among ordinary Americans, though, the usual form of what’s now called nationalism is the belief that the first obligation of American government is to look after the common good of the American people. This is generally taken to mean less immigration, fewer foreign wars, fewer social innovations like multiculturalism and transgenderism which threaten the structure of everyday human relations, and measures, like more advantageous terms of trade, to support well-paying jobs for Americans.

This kind of nationalism lines up with standard popular conservatism. Commentators sympathetic to it—some of whom have begun to use the term—generally think it’s important for societies with some historical and cultural coherence to maintain it, for example, by resisting mass immigration, and to determine their policy in accordance with their own understanding of the common good of their people. The alternative, they believe, is for them to hand over their national fate and the well-being of their people to bureaucrats and billionaires who answer to no one but themselves.

Another source of confusion is the varied meanings nationalism has had over the years. When many people hear the word they think of arms races, the two world wars, suppression of dissent, and so on. There’s some basis for this association, but one could just as easily associate nationalism with democracy and resistance to foreign domination. It depends on which account of history one believes.

In broad terms, a nation state is a state that represents a people that exist pre-politically. This means it represents a people that understand themselves as such because of historical and cultural ties that don’t depend on the state, so that they would continue to be a people even if the state were divided or absorbed by another state. Thus, Poland is a nation state, Austria-Hungary was not a nation state, the Kurds are a nation without a state, and the extent to which the United States has been a nation state is debatable and has varied over the years.

Nationalism has to do with supporting the nation state as a political form. What that involves varies. It matters, for example, whether the point is to support the supremacy of the nation, state, or ethnic people over family, locality, and religion, or to support one’s own nation against other nations, or simply to maintain the existence and distinctiveness of nation states in the face of the global order now emerging.

It also matters how intense the support is. Is the nation the supreme loyalty, so that the national interest takes precedence over all other considerations? Or is the claim merely that the national community is legitimate and important, and the common good should normally guide its government’s policies?

The presence of regional variations and national minorities, and the attitude toward them, also make a difference. The idea of the nation state, like the idea of democracy, implies a state that basically represents the majority. So if the majority is Catholic and French-speaking then Catholicism and French language and culture will pervade state institutions. Something must pervade them, since they’re not going to be neutral on issues like language and the nature of man and reality, so why not go along with what predominates in the society unless there’s something inherently wrong in it?

On the other hand, no people is altogether unified, and justice requires respect for minority rights and interests. How that plays out always involves compromise. It seems wrong for the French to forbid the Breton language, yet acceptable for them to insist Breton schools teach French, and right for them to resist immigration by people who aren’t much like the French and don’t seem likely to become so any time soon. Attempts at perfect solutions to such problems work badly. These include present-day multiculturalism, which tries to equalize the position of all groups in all settings, and overreaching forms of nationalism that try to do away with minority and regional cultures, languages, and religions.

How these things work themselves out changes with the times. At first nationalism had to do with making the territorial state stronger than the webs of the local and international authorities which ordered medieval society. This generally meant increasing the power of the king over other political actors. The justification for this, apart from royal self-interest, was efficient governance. The king didn’t want the Church, nobles, or local authorities disrupting policy.

As time went by, better communications and the growth of cities and the market economy led to the decline of personal, local, and religious ties in favor of general linguistic and cultural connections as a ground for social loyalty. As a result the emphasis shifted from unification of monarchies to unification of peoples.

The people hoped this trend would strengthen their position with regard to government. If the citizens of a state had a common history, culture, and language they would be able to deliberate and act collectively and so affect policy. And governments hoped that the nation state would become stronger with a more unified people.

But as nationalism won out, and Europe became a continent of nation states, it had fewer constructive goals. It was less concerned with making government effective and putting it in touch with the people than asserting the nation over against other nations. It also acted more and more as a substitute religion. These trends led to catastrophe, so after the Second World War nationalism was discredited in the West.

In the Third World, though, nationalism arose because it gave form to the desire for independence from colonial powers. And in our own time it’s making a comeback in the West for similar reasons. What’s called nationalism in the West today isn’t a struggle against local autonomy or the Church, nor is it a matter of competition among nations or suppression of minorities. Instead, it’s a struggle against an emerging world order that destroys all borders and all authority other than that of the global markets and transnational regulatory bureaucracies. It’s a way of protecting what is local and particular through borders backed by sovereignty.

This was the point of Brexit and of Trump’s election. The nationalism those events express has something in common with the regional nationalisms of Europe. It’s basically defensive, and stands for what has evolved among the people and defines them over against constructed larger wholes like a unified Italy, the EU, and global economic authorities.

The extent to which Catholics should favor one side or another in such disputes is a matter of political prudence. Church spokesmen today mostly favor global institutions over nationalism, and free migration over restrictions. I’ve discussed the social teaching of the Church regarding these matters, and argued that the teachings on government, immigration, and nation don’t quite support those views, largely because they don’t sufficiently take into account basic aspects of modern political life.

Too much can be said on both sides to resolve the matter here, though, so further discussion will have to await another occasion.

James Kalb is a lawyer, independent scholar, and Catholic convert who lives in Brooklyn, New York. He is the author of The Tyranny of Liberalism: Understanding and Overcoming Administered Freedom, Inquisitorial Tolerance, and Equality by Command (ISI Books, 2008), and, most recently, Against Inclusiveness: How the Diversity Regime is Flattening America and the West and What to Do About It (Angelico Press, 2013).