Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Hollow pledge:The problem with "under God"

Once again, I have a completely different take on an issue of importance to American Christians. Luckily, so does Rodney Clapp, who always says things so much better than I do.

For the record, I do not care if they take "under God" out of the pledge of allegience. If they said, "under the God of mammon" I would find it better suited to the US. Anyway, Rodney calmly expresses why Christians shoudl support taking "under God" out of the pledge, for truly Christian reasons. he sees the pledge of allegience's "under God" as "taking the Lord's name" at best and Idolotry at worst.

It is worth the read. Here is an excerpt...

Like Rehnquist, Olson and O’Connor would retain the God-phrase in the pledge. But they can do so only by expressly denying that the God here referred to is the God of Israel, met in Jesus Christ. And they can do so only by admitting outright that for such a pledge they want an amorphous “God” who is always and only on the side of the flag and the Republic for which it stands. They frankly argue not for a Christian (or Jewish or Islamic) monotheism, but for what H. Richard Niebuhr called henotheism, that is, loyalty to the “god of my country over all others.”
Henotheism in premodern times, according to Niebuhr, centered on clan or tribe. Its pervasive form in the modern world is nationalism. “Nationalism shows its character as a faith whenever national welfare or survival is regarded as the supreme end of life; whenever right and wrong are made dependent on the sovereign will of the nation, however determined; whenever religion and science, education and art, are valued by the measure of their contribution to national existence.”
Henotheism is not the theism of any stripe of serious, intentional Christianity—especially not after the German church’s experience under Nazism. What Olson and O’Connor propose at worst is idolatry—if they mean to posit a henotheistic and false “God” of the American flag in addition to the one and true living God. At best, if they mean merely to allow or encourage professed Christians to confuse the Living God with the “generic God” propping up the pledge’s “ceremonial deism,” they propose a taking of the Lord’s name in vain. Either way lies serious theological error and offense.

1 comment:

james said...

Have really enjoyed your past two posts. Have you picked up Clapp's Tortured Wonders yet? Looks to be a fine read. Will be interested in your thoughts.