Re: Do non-U.S. Christians say "God Bless America?"

From: gordon brown (
Date: Wed May 28 2003 - 16:03:02 EDT

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    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.

    Gordon Brown
    Department of Mathematics
    University of Colorado
    Boulder, CO 80309-0395

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