Jesus Died For Red, White, and Blue…

Every year many Churches “celebrate” Independence Day in worship services, and with other church related activities. Some have flag strung platforms and echoes of patriotic hymns fill many sanctuaries. Patriotism, and pride in USA are elevated and embraced. The question that has disturbed me more each year, is why?

There are many churches holding to the fundamentals of their faith with steadfast conviction, yet all that is thrown out the window when it comes to Independence Day and the melding of God and country. It is almost as if Jesus died on “Old Glory” rather than an” old rugged cross.”

Let me just say here that there is nothing wrong with patriotic celebration, even I enjoy a good fireworks production. What is so distasteful to me is the whole God and country exceptionalism embrace by the church. The church is not a creation of the american dream. In  fact it’s very message is antithetical to the american dream and to american exceptionalism.

The american ideal is to make as much money as we can, get all the things we want, treat others in the world as “less” than we are, and exert our military might wherever, whenever, and however, because of our superpower status. All of this reeks of pride, arrogance, and self-righteousness. 

Churches and her members thereof , have an ideal too. It is to reflect Jesus to the world around us. What does that look like? The marks of a Jesus reflecting church or individual are evident, humility, gentleness, helpers to the poor, sick, weak, abused, hungry, and neglected. We are to stand in the gap for those who have not power. We are to promote peace, following after the Prince of Peace. Our goal is to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth and our weapon is love. A love the is undying toward God and to our neighbor. 

Does anyone begin to see the problem?

This continual blending of Christianity and American government is creating, or maybe already has created, a religion that is Christian in name only. Maybe the Church has an idol and that idol is a jesus wearing a suit with an american flag lapel pin firmly in place.

13 thoughts on “Jesus Died For Red, White, and Blue…

    1. thanks for your thoughts…they and your blog post just reiterate how ingrained american exceptionalism is in the church today.Here are a two quotes from your blog…

      “The United States is a unique country in which every man was able to choose his and her path”

      In America…”this experiment called man can finally come to full fruition.”

      And finally, freedom is not true freedom unless it is based on the cross and Jesus Christ. No country, without exception, operates in the true freedom God has provided. If you or anyone else wants to celebrate the freedoms we have in the USA, I say celebrate. But don’t don’t attach Christianity to it. Christianity, real, true Christianity is about Jesus and the freedom, and life He alone can give.

  1. 30 years ago, we (Lutheran pastors) almost lost our congregational vice president and family and “as many members as we can take with us” for removing the American flag from the altar area (another whole issue!) of the sanctuary for Lent. Traditionally, since Lent is a time of reflection on our sin/need for Christ, we clear the altar area of any and all non-essentials (things that might distract our worship and reflection). After coming in for worship the following Sunday, and discovering someone had put it back by the altar, we were told they called a special Council meeting right after worship. There, we were angrily told THE FLAG STAYS or…their threats to leave and take as many with them as they could.

    We probably could have removed the Cross and had far less reaction. I fear many wouldn’t have even noticed.

    1. that is a sad commentary but it is prevelent throughout the church in america these days….

      thanks for reading and thanks your good comment as well.

  2. The churches I go to and support do not behave this way. They feel blessed to be Americans but they have no feeling of being superior.

    The freedoms we enjoy can lead to both blessings and curses.

    1. The question for those churches you attend is this, do they feel comfortable mixing Christianity with politics. If they do then they are guilty to wateringdown the powerful message of the Cross. it is that simple

  3. The blending of Christianity and the state is nothing new and it is extremely hard to see some times. It happened back in Israel when the nation was split–simply placing the symbols of Baal in the alternative worship sites opened them up to blending their religion with the other religions and states. Christianity under Constantine, or the Holy Roman Empire, were all examples of blending Christianity with the state. But it is subtle in America since we don’t have the “STate religion.” We do not realize that we are blending our faith with the state when we say that one political party is more Christian than the other or if the other party is elected we will be judged for our lack of holiness. We do not see that we are blending our faith and the state, when we say things like “for God and country.” Those words don’t go together. In Christ Jesus, God no longer seeks to create a country which is Divine but a Kingdom which will not come through the means of any country here on earth. It transcends all nations. We do not see how we are blending our faith and our country when we vote our comfort level or our morality rather than being the voice of the KIngdom.
    And yes, those who are blending their faith and their country, are still my brothers and sisters in the Lord.

    1. I have friends who are part of the Christian Anarchy movement. I have voted in the past and I have skipped voting. I agree with much of your thoughts on the role of Christians in politics. But I am reminded of Paul sitting in I believe on Mars Hill, listening and then sharing Christ with them. If Paul was in America today, I think he would hang out at the Coffee shop or the diner, listen to the politics and then give the Kingdom.

  4. @Leanne, yeah I don’t mean to say it is bad to talk about politics. I do all the time. But my motivation is to lead the conversation into spiritual things.

    I just think it is a distraction to do rallies and protests and become activists, etc.

  5. What is truly dangerous is that this blending of which you speak at the same time overinflates the importance of the Constitution and cheapens the message of redemption through the Love of Jesus Christ. Eventually, the blend will be so strong that people will equate being “American” with somehow being “of God” – what would be good would be to put the whole thing into perspective is to imagine that America, all that it was, is, and ever shall be, is one drop of water in the ocean of God’s infinite majesty.

    I beleive Leanne put it most eloquently when she wrote of God establishing a kingdom in this world, in which all of those who walk in grace are part. The pastors at my church continually use every reference of “nation” to refer to America, and recently I have begun to see that nation used to mean the nation of Israel, but now has been expanded to refer to those who follow Christ above anything else.

    Just my thoughts. God bless us, every one!

  6. Mark, are you off FB? I tried to message you and couldn’t find you so I tried to go to your page and I couldn’t get there. What’s up my friend? Hope all is well with you.

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