6/20/2009

American Patriot's Bible: Thumping the Bible for Patriotism

Bible thumping for Patriotism... it's always been a BIG THING here in the USofA, but good Lord, look at what we have now. Thomas Nelson, publisher of bibles, has produced an amazing product titled "The American Patriot's Bible." There is a devastating critique of it in two parts by Dr. Gregory A. Boyd, HERE and HERE. A secondary review by Inhabitatio Dei can be found HERE. And no, I haven't bought a copy nor do I intend to.

I have read the Bible. The text of that is Good News. All the rest of this supposed bible is a product, just as are the The Woman's Bible, The Man's Bible, etc. In this case, however, it is a bible nicely packaged so one can identify oneself as an American Patriot. That is the product, the biblical text (New King James Version) is the pretext.

Flag waving patriotism is always with us but these days it seems to have taken hold as the comfort to the nation in a time of insecurity. No criticism of the military or specific wars can happen without rousing support of "our men and women in uniform," to make sure we are patriotic. We can criticise our government all we want, and there is great sport in it, but here in the USA we cannot easily criticise our country - suggesting for a moment that it might not be absolutely the best country in the world. Flag waving patriotism wraps up support of the military and the USA into a bundle and makes patriotism equivalent to supporting the military and the best country in the world - right or wrong.

Wrap that flag around a bible, and voila... the American Patriot's Bible.
Well, Thomas Nelson, shame! The trouble is, there will be lots of buyers for this book and many of them will come from around where I live. More bad domesticated religious trappings passing as Christian faith.

15 comments:

  1. What these people call "patriotism" is not patriotism at all. It is nationalism. George Orwell's essay, Notes on Nationalism, makes the distinction clearly.

    By ‘patriotism’ I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.

    The entire essay is a very good read.

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  2. I was told by someone some years ago that our religion owes its freedom to the flag.

    I disagreed then and now. If the "flag" took away our freedom of religion, I would still worship as I choose, freely, even tho I die. And I would do it publicly. If anything, I said, this country owes its freedom to the only flag I follow - the cross of Jesus Christ and him crucified and risen.

    I was labeled as "Your priest hates America and despises the flag."

    Wrong. I love God in Christ Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. I love living in the United States. I do love it less than God in Christ - or, rather, I love it from the perspective of one whose first and foremost love is Jesus, thankful for the Creator's love for all people of whatever flag, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and I hold the cross as having a higher call on me and more authority over me than the flag, regardless of the catch I get when I sing the Star Spangled Banner.

    Thanks, Mike in Texas, for Orwall's distinction between patriotism and nationalism.

    the Reverend Lois Keen

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  3. And how about God's Mighty Warrior Devotional Bible for young boys, which I saw in my local bookshop? I confess that I did not look closely, because the title and the sword on the cover put me off.

    The companion bible for girls is God's Little Princess Devotional Bible. How cute is that?

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  4. Lapin,

    My dau-in-law has been made aware by a friend. It is based on the women should be subservient model.

    FWIW
    jimB

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  5. I wondered, Jim. Thank you.

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  6. Is there really a difference between patriotism and nationalism? If Christians are to leave their father and mother to become followers of Christ, how can we retain any special allegiance to a particular country merely on the basis of having been born in it?

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  7. The problem with the last president was/is that he never could get understand the issue of religious freedom. As a result we had the new and better St. George of the Bush Crusade (his words remember?) into Iraq. Back in my day "we waz killin commies for Christ." We, Americans, just haven't got it yet.

    Hey, my word proof is guess wa?

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  8. OT:
    Mark, you seem to be a big hit over at Sit Limp.

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  9. Or flags of old victories in churches in Europe, especially established (legally)?

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  10. Peter from Scotland

    What I find entertaining (in one way) and sad (in another) is that these bibles which are interpreted in a particular way are much loved by those who insist on using the term "the plain meaning of scripture" in argument!

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  11. I feel so hopelessly old-fashioned. My study bibles are just scripture with historical and translation notes.

    Wow, what an interesting collection of comments on the review site. For the record, those defending the book sound nothing like my devout friends in the military.

    (Verfication word: gasism. Too funny.)

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  12. Even the Puritans, those great champions of the "plain sense of Scripture," were quite fond of their Geneva Bible, which included copious notes and other apparatus.

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  13. it include Thomas Jefferson's gloss on the Gospels? He basically edited out the miracles and kept the moral teachings.

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  14. Ya know, I'm probably going to step in it here but as an occasional poster and slightly right of center Libertarian, I've got to cast my two cents.

    I'm not convinced that patriotism is a zero-sum proposition. Though I gave my salad years in service to our Republic (and would likely do it again), doesn't make me blind to the incidents where our leaders have royally screwed up.

    Patriotism shouldn't be construed with the blind mantra of "My country, right or wrong." I am of the mind that the follower of the way must be a lover of country, but one who holds that love loosely. As voices of the way, we should encourage and exhort her when she is on the right path, and admonish her when she strays.

    Big brothers and sisters, I say this without reservation; though our nation has some serious flaws, she is one of this world's brightest lights for liberty and opportunity.

    Here endeth my two cents.

    Your younger Brother,

    Andy

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