Dangerous Religion

Found it at Smirking Chimp.

As of 11:34 pm today, the server for this site can't be found from my computer. But this is a great article, and I'm going to comment on my own experience with dangerous religion next week.

Dangerous Religion

President Bush uses religious language more than any president in U.S. history, and some of his key speechwriters come right out of the evangelical community. Sometimes he draws on biblical language, other times old gospel hymns that cause deep resonance among the faithful in his own electoral base. The problem is that the quotes from the Bible and hymnals are too often either taken out of context or, worse yet, employed in ways quite different from their original meaning. For example, in the 2003 State of the Union, the president evoked an easily recognized and quite famous line from an old gospel hymn. Speaking of America's deepest problems, Bush said, "The need is great. Yet there's power, wonder-working power, in the goodness and idealism and faith of the American people." But that's not what the song is about. The hymn says there is "power, power, wonder-working power in the blood of the Lamb" (emphasis added). The hymn is about the power of Christ in salvation, not the power of "the American people," or any people, or any country. Bush's citation was a complete misuse.

On the first anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, President Bush said at Ellis Island, "This ideal of America is the hope of all mankind…. That hope still lights our way. And the light shines in the darkness. And the darkness has not overcome it." Those last two sentences are straight out of John's gospel. But in the gospel the light shining in the darkness is the Word of God, and the light is the light of Christ. It's not about America and its values. Even his favorite hymn, "A Charge to Keep," speaks of that charge as "a God to glorify"—not to "do everything we can to protect the American homeland," as Bush has named our charge to keep.

Bush seems to make this mistake over and over again—confusing nation, church, and God. The resulting theology is more American civil religion than Christian faith.