Patriotism...Hijacked by Christianity

Happy Fourth of July weekend (or not, if you're reading this after the week of this post)!

One common misconception that I've briefly dispelled in various other posts like the one here is the idea that America is a nation founded by Christians with Christian principles. This sentiment is false and has become a very common misconception amongst people of all different faiths. The true character of this nation is a secular one in which power is derived from the people. Church and state are to be separate.

This spin machine from the "No Spin Zone" is quite active, of course...

but Keith Olbermann deals with Palin here and educates us about the non-Christian character of America and the founding fathers.

The Treaty of Tripoli is quite a telling document that clearly states,
"Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..."

In this post, I'd like to focus on how patriotic songs and patriotism in general have been hijacked by Christianity. Songs about America containing God are viciously perpetuating this myth that America is a "Christian nation."

The Pledge of Allegiance

The phrase "under God" was added to the pledge of allegiance in 1954. In the following video of a 1939 cartoon, you can clearly see that "under God" was not part of the pledge. This phrase was added during the Red Scare and the fight against "Godless communism."

Proud to be an American/ God Bless the USA

This is a very popular song that is heard all throughout "the land." You probably know the chorus to this song...but what do we have at the end of each chorus? "God bless the USA." The song is largely about how great the USA is, what patriotism means, and is also a tribute song to soldiers. Great...but why do we need God to be in this song? A majority of this nation certainly identifies with some sort of belief, but this majority belief ought not represent what it means to be patriotic. What if this song talked about how people are proud to be white Americans? The majority of people in America are white, but this doesn't reflect this nation as a whole. Why don't we just remove the lyric "God Bless the USA" and make this song representative of patriotism and our diverse country?

There is also a great deal of confusion dealing with this song from what I found on Youtube. Typing "Proud to be an American" and "God Bless the USA" reveals the same song...and it turns out that the "two songs" are actually the same song with a different name. To me, "God Bless the USA" sounds like a religious song calling for some sort of religious benediction and "Proud to be an American" should be something totally different.

America, the Beautiful

Everyone knows the first verse and the chorus, right...but what about the rest of the song? There's a great deal of God in this song and perhaps more than you've ever heard...

America! America! God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.

When is God mending flaws (of people or nations) anyway...and why is this in a song that's supposed to be about the United States? We hear about purple mountain majesties and amber waves of grain and that is fitting, but this confirming of the soul is very much out of place.

Happy Fourth of July!
All Americans are Americans whether they worship a god or not.