I don't know about you but I cringe when I see and hear all this "God Bless America" hoohah over the past 10 years. It reeks of exclusivity, pompousness, conceit, selfishness and ignorance. It's really just embarrassing.
If there's a god who created everything in the universe and if that god's going to bless anything, that god ought to bless everything equally or I don't want any part of it. If we were put here on earth to spar for god's amusement, count me out. I want nothing to do with such a petty deity... I'll serve out my time here and meet all the cool kids in hell.
I was raised in a Christian home and we tried to live by the teachings of Jesus Christ as put forth in the Gospels. We supported social justice, gave generously to the poor and believed that the meek were more blessed than the wealthy and powerful- a concept that is overlooked by today's so called "people of christian faith." Although I practice no religion at this time, I would have no problem if those who claim to be Christian actually tried to live like Christians. It would be a pretty happy country. But alas, most of the charlatans who claim to be Christian are mean and project on to their god, the most base of human traits. These nasty people are taking over American politics and using god to further their cruel capitalist agenda.
Fellow travelers, 'God Bless America!' and the Sin of Arrogance by Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge beautifully sums up everything that is wrong with religion in America today. I know that our readers run the gamut from atheist to agnostic to religious to spiritual. And I know that this essay will ring true no matter where you're coming from (unless of course you're a conservative evangelical person and have been hoodwinked by ill-meaning preachers... and in that case, pay attention!)
Here's an excerpt:
"The "God bless America" crowd, instead of actually revering God, create what theologian Karl Barth, in his book, The Epistle to the Romans, called the "No-God" where "fetishism is bound to appear in which God is experienced in birds and four-footed things, and finally, or rather primarily, in the likeness of corruptible man ... in the half-spiritual, half-material creations, exhibitions, and representations of His creative ability -- Family, Nation, State, Church and Fatherland." America worships many No-Gods including military might, money and capitalism, "family values," "the war on terrorism," and most especially its state form of piety clothed in evangelical Christianity.
The lumping together of Christianity with the "blessed" social order and setting it up as the arbiter of human freedom within history proves Barth right. We put ourselves in the driver's seat and order God to do our bidding. In this way, Barth said, we create a "criminal arrogance of religion" that equates our own desires with the desires of God -- and leads to an inverted set of values. The "blessed" accumulate tangible, material goods. Those who are poor, disenfranchised, homeless or ill are definitely not blessed, and are to be viewed as morally suspect since they must have done something "wrong" to deserve such a horrible fate.
Jesus never mentioned material wealth when he talked about blessings. In Matthew 5:3-11, Jesus said those who are blessed are poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, those who are merciful, those who are pure in heart, those who are peacemakers and those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake.
The United States, as a nation, does not possess any of these qualities of blessedness. We are a rich nation, where the meek, the hungry and the peacemakers are marginalized, not just in society but church as well."
It just irks me that real Christians aren't rising up and challenging those who seek to redefine Christianity in America today. I don't get it. Do you?