With God on our side

“Shortly after the Gulf War in 1992 I happened to visit a July Fourth worship service in a certain megachurch. At center stage stood a large cross next to an equally large American flag. The congregation sang some praise choruses mixed with such patriotic hymns as “God Bless America.” The climax of the service centered on a video of a well-known Christian military general giving a patriotic speech about how God has blessed America as evidenced by the speedy and almost “casualty-free” victory “he gave us” in the Gulf War (Iraqi deaths apparently weren’t counted as “casualties” worthy of notice).The video closed with a scene of a silhouette of three crosses on a hill with an American flag waving in the background. Majestic, patriotic music now thundered. Suddenly, four fighter jets appeared on the horizon, flew over the crosses, and then split apart. As they roared over the camera, the words “God Bless America” appeared on the screen in front of the crosses.

The congregation responded with roaring applause, catcalls, and a standing ovation. I saw several people wiping tears from their eyes. Indeed, as I remained frozen in my seat, I grew teary-eyed as well–but for entirely different reasons. I was struck with horrified grief. Thoughts raced through my mind: How could the cross and the sword have been so thoroughly fused without anyone seeming to notice? How could Jesus’ self-sacrificial death be linked with flying killing machines? How could the kingdom of God be reduced to this sort of violent, nationalistic tribalism? Has the church progressed at all since the Crusades?”

— Rev. Gregory Boyd, Taking America Back for God?

Hat tip: Morning’s Minion over at Vox Nova.

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