civil religion, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, political theology

Civil Religion is :P

I’ll just say this straight up, there is not intention here to fall into Godwin’s Law: “As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one” and when Nazi’s are mentioned, the argument is considered automatically lost.

Nevertheless, I’ve become more convinced about the “invisible” influence of Civil religion. Often this is clearly visible to us in the Nazis:

However, I find the conflation of Nazi Civil religion and their nationalistic Faith with Christianity all too similar to American Civil religion with its own form of Faith and Christianity. We ought not confuse Civil religion and Christian faith. In years past, American Civil religion was called manifest destiny — racist colonization by another name. Today, we find this coming straight from the lips of Messianic politics — quite obvious with Sarah Palin in her closing remarks for the VP debate, asserting with McCain an American exceptionalism and moral superiority based in some sort of faith (albeit not the Christian God, and I’ve already dealt with it here some months back) and less obvious with Obama’s assertion about the state in his closing remarks on that speech about race months back.

There is so much rhetoric this election cycle, I’m getting sick. Seriously, it makes me nauseous. To so easily confuse state salvation and justice with a Christian idea of salvation and justice, and to speak it over and over through the TV — functioning like theologians for the state — will kill us and thousands around the globe. How do we as participants in the Kingdom of God — peacemakers — really compete with this or is this country simply lost?

Jesus is Lord, and therefore, Caesar (our state) and Mammon (our economic system) is not.


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