From: gordon brown (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed May 28 2003 - 16:03:02 EDT
On Tue, 27 May 2003, Joel Cannon wrote:
> I am curious what non-U.S. citizens think of statements like this,
> which implicitly tie the gospel to "God Bless America."
I thank God for the blessing of being a U.S. citizen, and I pray for my
country, but I do not equate American patriotism with Christianity.
Christianity is a world religion. We Americans are not God's chosen
people. Our bond with fellow believers of whatever nationality should be
greater than our bond with unbelieving fellow Americans.
When I was a graduate student, I had a postdoc friend who was British. He
went to a midweek prayer service at our church on a Wednesday evening that
happened to be July 4. The pastor decided that independence should be his
topic for Independence Day. My friend was uncomfortable, especially as he
asked himself, "Independence from whom?".
It happens so many times in our churches the first week of July that we do
things in our services that would not be part of a Christian service
elsewhere in the world because they only apply to Americans. The music
praises America rather than the Lord. We even have patriotic songs in our
hymnbooks. Even though there may be an occasional mention of God, many of
these are not Christian, perhaps not even authored by Christians. For
example, America the Beautiful was written by a woman who was the daughter
of a Congregational minister but rejected her upbringing. In one of her
poems she called herself a little infidel and told how she had to get over
her childhood attachment to her mother's catechism book because she didn't
believe it. In another she said it is futile for the Armenians threatened
with genocide to call on Christ for deliverance, and implied that Jesus
was a naive Jew.
Department of Mathematics
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0395
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