I had a most unsavory experience last Sunday in my own church. I love my church and the people who make it up are a great bunch of folks, but I have a problem when Christians use a worship setting to express their patriotism.
In our worship time Sunday the song God Bless America was sung during the offertory. I understand that the majority of the people in our church are baby boomers and that song has and had great meaning not only to them but also to their parents. Written in 1938, or at least the version we now sing, it held tremendous value under the threat of impending war in Europe. These are also the people who believe that America used to be a christian nation. Anyone who has read anything about the founding fathers knows this isn’t exactly true. (Too bad for you D. James Kennedy.)
I believe it is a fine song to be sung in the right arena, but the connotation to me as a thirty eight year old woman who has grown up watching the gross commercialism, materialism and the downright self-centeredness of American people, I hear “God, bless us because we are so great. We are the best so You must bless us.” Sunday worship is for the worship of God, not the worship of America. A few things were even said about the war in Iraq from the pulpit. Well, it was an obvious implication anyway if not a direct statement.
Speaking of politics (and the war IS about politics), there is also the false belief that all Christians are conservative. I had a friend in our church in Atlanta who was a hardcore democrat who was told that one cannot under any circumstances be a democrat AND be a christian. A lot of Christians are totally against the war in Iraq. The assumption that we all think alike and feel alike about all things is offensive and ignorant. I myself, a sincere follower of Christ, have serious concerns and doubts about the war.
So, back to Sunday morning. I excused myself to the bathroom to get my attitude adjusted after the offertory. Upon returning to my seat I noticed that the final song would be “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” A war song written at a Civil War camp. The original song is called “The John Brown Song” some say about the abolitionist, some say about a Scottish Union soldier. I excused myself again………what a bizarre experience.