Monday, June 26, 2006

American Idolatry

I was wondering if anyone else but me ever noticed it. Apparently the Internet Monk has. An excerpt:
How did it become possible to say that to be a follower of Jesus is to be a flag-waving American? Or a flag-waving anything for that matter? The Bible doesn't have a single sentence that takes us in this direction. It's simplistic idolatry and pure invention. The Kingdom of God isn't represented by the government of the United States, no matter how superior our constitution might be to that of other nations (and I believe that, in God's common grace, it is.) Our values and way of life may be influenced by a heritage that includes Christianity, but in what delusion does America, today, inspire this "cross and flag" version of our culture? It's bizarrely idolatrous.

"God and Country" worship is common in Kentucky and the Bible Belt. The message is clear: Jesus is pro-America, and the agenda of America, American culture, American policy and American religion, are all superior to others because, as Bob Dylan said, God is on our side. One cannot be a Bible-believing Christian and not be a flag-waving American.

My own Southern Baptist convention is neck-deep in this mindset. Baptist Press is an echo chamber for the Bush Administration and Right leaning Republicans on most issues. Recently, Lifeway published Judge Roy Moore's book and heavily promoted it. It isn't a question of whether Judge Moore's views are palatable or possible. The question is why would Lifeway publish a book like this at all and promote it in its stores? Why would SBC leaders - with all their talk of "Kingdom" priorities, get involved in patriotic worship every year?

I have tended to find some reason to miss church services around July 4th every year, just because I feel very, very compromised by the whole "God & Country" stuff. Please don't get me wrong; I do love my country. But when I'm in church, I want to worship GOD, not the USA, and I fear that many people have the two inextricably intermingled. God is not a God of borders or of nations. He is not bound by the Constitution or the United Nations. If we're going to celebrate national holidays, let's do it somewhere besides a worship service, k? Just my opinion.

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