Friday, September 16, 2005

U. S. civil religion and idolatry

In response to the latest Pledge of Allegiance court ruling, Joe Carter has shined the light on the whole concept of "civil religion," with its origins in the atheistic thoughts of Rousseau (HT: Keith Plummer). And Joe's evaluation of the fundamental idolatry of American civil religion is bang-on:

There is a vast and unbridgeable chasm between America’s civil religion and Christianity. If we claim that “under God” refers only to the Christian conception of God we are either being unduly intolerant or - more likely - simply kidding ourselves. Do we truly think that the Hindu, Wiccan, or Buddhist is claiming to be “under” the same deity as we are? We can’t claim, as Paul did on Mars Hill, that the “unknown god” they are worshiping is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Pledge is, after all, a secular document and the “under god” is referring to the “Divinity” of our country’s civil religion. Just as the pagan religion of the Roman Empire was able to incorporate other gods and give them familiar names, the civil religion provides an umbrella for all beliefs to submit under one nondescript, fill-in-the-blank term.

Our God is a jealous God and is unlikely to look favorably upon idolatry even when it is put to good service. While we should be as tolerant of “civil religion” as we are of other beliefs, we can’t justify submitting to it ourselves. That is not to say that we can’t say the Pledge and think of the one true God. But we should keep in mind that this fight isn’t our fight and the “god” of America’s civil religion is not the God who died on the Cross.

Amen, amen, and amen.

Note: I've edited the post to make it clear that Keith Plummer gets a hat tip and not that he's synonymous with Rousseau.


Anonymous Arlan, SpG said...

"For the sake of the Body, the left hand & right foot must yield to the Head." - While we may disagree, we walk together with a Love that can never be silent.

1:15 AM, September 17, 2005  
Blogger Debra said...

Hmmm... For the record, this is what I believe:

...God bless... Debra

7:42 AM, September 17, 2005  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Thanks for the comment, and for the link, Arlan. Peace.

8:07 AM, September 17, 2005  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Thanks for the link, Debra, and for being a regular reader of this blog. Peace.

8:29 AM, September 17, 2005  

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