From: Michael Roberts (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue May 27 2003 - 17:42:59 EDT
I think Joel has a good point, surely our faith is worldwide and not
I think we all need to be wary of a faith which can become nationalistic.
The problem of a civic cum gospel faith is that the civic will win. I think
of examples in South Africa, Russia, Germany and Britain nearly.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Joel Cannon" <email@example.com>
Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2003 5:11 PM
Subject: Re: Do non-U.S. Christians say "God Bless America?"
> From: "Terry M. Gray" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> > Subject: Re: Do non-U.S. Christians say "God Bless America?"
> > Joel,
> > Isn't "God Bless America" a prayer in keeping with Romans 13:1ff and
> > 1 Timothy 2:1-2? You seem to suggest that what is meant by that is
> > "God is blessing America" ("America is God's country.") No doubt,
> > that sentiment exists, but I'd suggest that my reading is more in
> > keeping with Jay's and most people's intent.
> > Isn't it legitimate for Christian citizens of each nation to utter
> > such a prayer for their nation and their leaders? Of course, a
> > Christian's primary allegiance is to the Kingdom of God.
> Perhaps. Maybe it is no different than when Brits sing "God Save the
> Queen" (to the tune of America the Beautiful!), although I suspect
> that "God Save the Queen" had a different pathos (and was more idolatrous)
> at the height of the British empire than it does now. For the reasons
> you mentioned, I was curious about what others from outside our
> country thought.
> How do non-U.S. Christians find language like God Bless America?
> I did not get the sense that it was just what you say, and that is
> partly why I asked what non-U.S. citizens thought. As Calvin
> recognized, a characteristic of our fallen state is that we are prone
> to self-deception---we often do not know why we do what we do. Those
> in power, it seems, are most prone to self-deception. The question is,
> "Are we Americans self-deceived and idolatrous when we use this
> language?" In many cases, I think the answer is yes.
> Why did I think it was more than a simple response a la Rom. 13?
> The 1) juxtaposition of the gospel as captured in John 3:16, 2) a
> overly simple, overly sentimental view that endows U.S. soldiers'
> deaths with questionable grand meaning (a good many presumably did not
> have high principles in mind when they were drafted---does the memory
> of missionaries' deaths, for example, garner the same emotion from Jay
> and others?), with 3) the God Bless America does strike me as
> communicating more than a response to the simple instuction to pray
> for the Emporer.
> While on the subject of being faithful to Romans 13, it does seem
> ironic that the instruction to pray for the emporer comes in the
> context of forbidding revolution (He who rebels against the authority
> is rebelling against what God has instituted, Rom. 13.2). It seems
> that it is difficult to translate Paul's instruction to first century
> Christians into our own. Revolution was evidently a possibility to
> them. They lived in a world that, perhaps apart from Israel, knew
> nothing equivalent to the modern nationalism that we have
> today. Furthermore, the Romans were not vulnerable to national
> idolatry since the statement Jesus is Lord (ergo Caesar is not) was an
> inflammatory political statement that made the state see those who
> proclaimed it as enemies. It is a supreme irony that a number of
> those who are most eager to be faithful to 13.1 by praying for our
> equivalent of an emporer can be the most enthusiastic in celebrating
> on July 4 what the next verse specifically forbids (and which probably
> gave rise to the command to pray in the first place).
> Time to go. I feel like what the Car Talk hosts say ("You have
> squandered another perfectly good hour...").
> >I am curious what non-U.S. citizens think of statements like this,
> >which implicitly tie the gospel to "God Bless America."
> >I find it to be a surprisingly clear manifestation of the national
> >idolatry that characterizes too much of American (U.S.)
> >Christianity. Why not just say "God is on our side" or "America is
> >God's country" and be done with it?
> > There are many things for an American citizen to be thankful for
> >(much of which can be traced, ironically, to the Enlightenment). My
> >post is not anti-American. However, the line between the good and the
> >bad (or the Godly and the un-Godly) cuts right down the middle. Being
> >Christian should encompass among other things telling the truth about
> >the principalities and powers of this age; we are citizens of a
> >different kingdom. Our belief that "Jesus is Lord" should mean that we
> >do not worship America, the American ideal, or other things "of this
> >Forwarded message:
> >> From email@example.com Mon May 26 13:56:26 2003
> >> Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> >> From: "Jay Willingham" <email@example.com>
> >> Save this one and most important thing,
> >> God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that those
> >> believe in him should not perish but have everlasting life.
> >> Remember those who have laid down their life for our freedom.
> >> God bless America.
> >> Jay Willingham, Esquire
--- > >Joel W. Cannon | (724)223-6146 > >Physics Department | firstname.lastname@example.org > >Washington and Jefferson College | > >Washington, PA 15301 | > > > > > > > -- > _________________ > Terry M. Gray, Ph.D., Computer Support Scientist > Chemistry Department, Colorado State University > Fort Collins, Colorado 80523 > email@example.com http://www.chm.colostate.edu/~grayt/ > phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801 > > > -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---- > Joel W. Cannon | (724)223-6146 > Physics Department | firstname.lastname@example.org > Washington and Jefferson College | > Washington, PA 15301 | > > > > >
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