Tuesday, July 8, 2008

American Patriotism: A Competing Metanarrative?

A cover story at CNN.com depicts the new fight an atheist solidier is waging against the U.S. Department of Defense. What is most interesting, however, is a quote from Michael Weinstein, a retired senior Air Force officer and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. He states: "Our Pentagon, our Pentacostalgon, is refusing to realize that when you put the uniform on, there's only one religious faith: patriotism," Weinstein said. (Click Here for Article)

I realize this is a rather touchy subject, but in the first century religion and politics were not separated, there were not neat taxonomic glasses through which one could parse out their spiritual life from their socio-political life as is often the norm in America. This is a vexing question that I am really dealing with. Though I have been accused of it lately, I'm not a card carrying leftist liberal (whatever that means!). I'm someone who was raised in the deep South, raised to sincerely be devoted to my country. As an academic and as a thinking Christian, it is my duty to QUESTION whether patriotism can be, is, or could possibly be construed as a competing religious metanarrative. Therefore, I query: Is Patriotism a religion? Why or why not? Is Patriotism compatible with following Jesus?

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