Heresies

Cult of America, Part I

Whether or not America is or ever was a Christian nation is hotly debated.  It is fashionable today on the left to ascribe whatever currently is deemed by it to be unacceptable—“trans phobia,” say—to the legacy of privileged patriarchal white men whose Christianity gave them an excuse to own slaves and otherwise oppress minorities.  The “right’s” reaction to this line of thinking (or emoting) has been to find the “self-evident truths” of the Declaration of Independence in the Bible and/or natural law—universal truths which, when more fully applied by Christians over time, have made our union more “perfect,” and if applied more fully still today would make America great again.  Yet there is a much deeper darkness that envelopes the United States, a cloud that hangs over our churches, penetrates our cultural institutions, and poisons our politics.  So much so that we might say that, regardless of our status at the Founding, America has become a cult.  And contrary to our Bill of Rights, we have an established religion.

Religion, properly speaking, has to do with the outward expressions of a particular faith.  “Pure religion [θρησκε?α, Lat. religio] and undefiled before God and the Father is this,” wrote St. James, “To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction,...

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