Commandments Concerning Patriotic Services

And concerning the celebrations of the times and occasions wherein we cover our crosses in flags and drape bunting on the communion table we give these commands that thou forget not the Christian nation that thou hast been given to dwell in.

For in that day thou shalt rest from the labor of decrying the wickedness of thy land and shall instead sing its praises and render it all due benevolence speaking the words long written: “I still wouldn’t want to be livin’ anywhere else because them other folks don’t even speak English!”

Then shalt thou honor the founders of the nation and call them good Christian men and shall speak not a word of their beer drinking and whoring and slave owning. For they brought forth on this continent a new nation wherein the sodas are large and the people are larger and for this and all their many other blessings we give them reverence.

And thou shalt sing the songs of war and the songs of national pride and the songs of remembrance of times past. Then thou shalt preach a sermon sparing not to give honor to whom honor is due. For there are three who bear witness to Washington the Tea Party, the Capitol Connection and David Barton. And these three are our one last best hope.

For we all know that if Jesus had been born today he would have been born in Bethlehem, PA, in the country with the language and culture that God loves most.

Independent Baptist Book of Everlasting Rules and Requirements p 74.

257 thoughts on “Commandments Concerning Patriotic Services”

        1. I’ll tell you just as soon as I finish opening these cans for my Lords and Masters.
          >^. .^<

    1. I’m just grateful that the 4th is a Friday this year. And I get to watch the fireworks from my living room window.

      As for the whole mixing of religion and American history, I wonder how many actually know actual American history and not the revisionist stuff that’s going around, especially in some circles.

      1. Well, it started off with Columbus finding America. Then a handful of God’s chosen people sailed over to claim their religious liberty. They made this a Godly nation. We fought against the evil tyrant King George for religious freedom. Godly men like Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin prayed every day and followed old paths to ensure our place in the world. (We are like one of the tribes of Israel.) Then God made it clear it was our manifest destiny to spread his Republic from sea to shining sea. We defended America against the Mexicans and rightfully claimed our land out west. We had a little skirmish over property rights and a “peculiar institution.” We spread liberty, justice, freedom, free markets, and God’s word across the continent. Then we had to go help our brothers in the Phillipines and overthrow some bad people in other places. Later, we had to go fight two wars in Europe. Eventually, we fought against the godless heathen communists. Throughout the modern era, we have always stood with our brothers in Israel, on every issue.. Today our fight is against liberals, secular humanists, and Islamists. This is the Real and True History of America.

        1. @BJG thanks 🙂 I was being a little snarky.
          I have read a lot of Howard Zinn in the past three or so years and it has opened my eyes. The authorized version as printed in the books approved by the Texas book committees and what really happened are two fairly different things…

        2. “War is God’s way of yeaching Americans history”
          – Ambrose Bierce (an American)

        3. I will most likely be “borrowing” this and adapting it as my own.
          As someone who enjoys explaining the difference between “founded as a Christian nation” and “based on Judeo-Christian values” (even though the phrase itself is a nineteenth century invention whose meaning changed in the 1950s), I enjoyed your brief outline of Mercan Hist’ry.

        4. I thought war was God’s way of teaching Americans geography.

          Fifteen years ago, how many Americans could find Afghanistan on a map of Afghanistan?

          I remember that when I was a kid and the Vietnam war was going on, my grandfather said it was his understanding that everyone in Vietnam speaks Spanish.

        5. Dear Old McDonald:

          Cackle, cackle here, cackle, cackle there!
          Oink, oink here, oink, oink there!
          Moo, moo here, moo moo there!
          E – I – E – I – O!

          On a more serious note, note Chris Hedges’ ‘War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning.’ Also, Stanley Hauerwas’ observation that for the United States, war is our central, liturgical ritual.

          Christian Socialist

          PS: Thanks for the great summation!

        1. Yes.

          I attend an SBC church now, that is worlds different than then IFB church I used to be a member of. But sadly the nationalism is still there. Flags, colors, patriotic video. Pledge to the flag. I think it’s just an evangelical American thing, not just fundies. Anyway, I couldn’t help myself and told my wife, “I wonder what Paul would have thought about this? I wonder if he’d call it idolatry?”
          Mercifully the sermon was “normal” – on working faith from Heb 11.

        1. When socialism comes to America, it will be wrapped around a Muslim born in a foreign country. Amen?

          😉

    1. Dear Breaking Away:

      4n lands refusing our missionaries [of capitalism] can be associated with hell when our bombs explode over their heads. All praise be to the heretical doctrine of redemptive violence!

      Christian Socialist

      PS: I’m being sarcastic. That should be evident; but then, this is the internet.

  1. The time of year we allow Lee Greenwood honorary membership in the club and dust off “Proud To Be An American” and elevate it to “Ole Fashion Hymn” status.

    1. During my last year of college, I worked a night shift at a local convenience store that piped in a local radio station. Every night at midnight, they played a group of children reciting the pledge of allegiance, followed by the radio chorus singing: “but their ain’t no doubt I love this laaaaand, God bless the Uuuuuuu Esssssss Aaaaay . . . 104.1, KMGL!!!”

        1. The tradition of standing goes back to George I, that when he first heard it he was so impressed he stood up. Does your mother have a beef with the Hanover regime? 😀
          You’re not supposed to clap, either, as only God is due the glory.

      1. I don’t know the song, apart from a passing familiarity, and was not familiar with any tradition around it. Tonight we sang it as part of a patriotic medley sing-along, and it got the loudest response. I was surprised when people stood.

  2. Hahaha the Tea Party..and David Barton. LOL.

    The tea party..well, I could write for hours. It’s a phony astroturf movement of people (who believe it is 100% real) but they are being played. Quite well, too. The real money and organization for all of their crap comes from a handful of $ource$. They are being manipulated to go protest.

    David Barton…well, ask his publisher. Ask any scholar of US History.

    Didn’t sinclair Lewis once write when fascism comes to America, it will be draped in a flag and carrying a cross?

    1. I’ve been to Tea Party rallies. I marched in DC a few years ago with more than a million “delusional” people, according to you. Say what you will. We got off our ASSES and showed up to give our opinion. And I respect David Barton.

      Not everyone here has been drinking the liberal kool-aid.

      1. I don’t respect somebody who just makes up a lot of stuff based on wishful thinking and calls it history. No, I do not.
        David Barton being exhibit “A.”

        1. I’ve got to admit I am amused by David Barton’s name, though, because I have a friend who happens to have the same name. My friend David is nothing like the jackass who keeps grabbing headlines. I like to tease him by sending him clippings about the other David Barton.

          Suppose you were a perfectly decent person named Josef Stalin or Pol Pot or the like …

        2. Isn’t it wonderful that we have found a way to turn fiction and outright lies and untruths into Truth and Verity? All we have to do is assert them in God’s name.

          And viola! Suddenly History has changed its course from what it was to what we have now asserted! God works in mysterious ways!

          But God does need to do a better job of cleaning up with the miracles. Somehow, the records keep showing the old version. Dratted inconvenience, these fact checkers!

      2. Marcie, neither I nor anyone I know has a problem with you or anyone else expressing their concerns through Tea Party activism. I should hope with all my heart, however, that no one with two brain cells to rub together for friction would give Barton the time of day.

      3. The 2009 tea party march in DC had crowd estimates ranging from 60,000 to a wildly inflated 600,000 (TP estimate).

        I think that David Barton was doing the crowd estimates for the TP, since he’s a bit of a stranger to the truth.

        1. Yea, I have heard some TPers claim up to 1.5 million. With no aerial photographs of the crowds, it certainly is hard to verify.

          I can believe 60,000. I could believe 80,000. Past that, it gets tougher to believe.

          A recent Tea Party call to oust Obama, predicted by right wing Radio Nutjobs had predicted a million in attendance. By the looks of things, there were only about 300 there.

  3. I am a proud descendant of DEACON John Doane of Plymouth Colony who was once fined for selling liquor without a license.

    And he did some other stuff too…I just find that most memorable for some reason. 🙂

  4. Haha, awesome! I have a feeling you’ve been to my in-laws’ church in…wait for it….Bethlehem, PA! We were there last Memorial Day and watched a 7 minute patriotic photo montage with stirring patriotic music. It felt like hours.

    1. Southwest Baptist Church in OKC is one of the WORST about this. They always do some semi-stirring patriotic cantata God/America mash-up that lasts for about 20 agonizing minutes.

    2. What was the church? I might know of it. I grew up on the other side of South Mountain, just south of Bethlehem. I have lived away from the area for over 22 years.

  5. For once, I actually agree with SFL! I too am tired of the pro war nuts like Fox News and Obama. Enough already. Every time I see a soldier, I like to say “you’re welcome” for giving him or her the opportunity to waste tax dollars in useless wars. I am tired of the media attention about those big bad terrorists, and how we need to constantly fight them.

    I know I’m going to offend the multitudes of people who secretly read this site and agree with me on my posts, so let me assure those folks: I have not turned Communist! I am not suddenly a leftist peace activist.

    The US secretly funded Nazis in WWII, funded the North Vietnamese in the Vietnam War, and is now funding the terrorists. It is stupid to aid your enemy and then go to war with them. I would agree with the wars, if they were really what Fox news claimed they were. The Vietnam War was not about “fighting communism” and the current wars in the Middle East are not about “fighting terrorism.” True, we may be actually fighting terrorists, but why fight an enemy who you fund and provide with weapons? It makes no sense. There are deeper meanings and political machinations than what Fox news tells you.

    To all the soliders who are actually fighting: I am not disrespecting you. You are only doing what you are told and that is honorable and decent. It’s the true powers who control the wars who are wrong, not the average enlisted man or woman.

    1. “I know I’m going to offend the multitudes of people who secretly read this site and agree with me on my posts”

      The delusion is strong with this one.

      1. You actually read all of her comments?
        WOW! I just read the first couple of sentences, then scan the rest. Even doing that, to quote the great Berra, “It’s déjà vu all over again”.

      2. Sorry, Darrell, or “Darrell,” no delusion going on. There are many people who agree with me and just don’t comment because they don’t feel like being trampled over and pilloried by liberals.

        There are many people who do secretly read this blog and are glad that someone who is not a leftist finally spoke up. Thank you for allowing someone with a conservative point of view to speak.

        I don’t hate America and I am not a pinko. So even though I agree with the latest blog entry about the over-display of patriotism, it’s not because I dislike America. I like America and what it stands for: freedom, peace, economic freedom, religious freedom, etc. And by the way, America is (“was” is more like it) a republic, not a democracy.

        But unfortunately, there is a lot of deception that has gone on. The country has been taken over by Socialists who want to turn the world into one big Communistic state. They do this by secretly funding both sides of a war, among other tactics. So yes, I am pro-American and what it was originally meant to be, but I am not pro-American in that the country has been taken over by globalists whose goal is to destroy the foundations of what was a great country.

        1. Yay, socialism!!

          Oh, wait …. I’m a libertarian converting to anarchism.

          Am I allowed to do that since I comment on SFL?

        2. Stacy, it’s not a question of agreeing with you or not, it’s that you are using a generally light-hearted forum as a grandstand for matters that don’t quite match its purpose.
          You make some very good points about America’s history and its military, but right now the concern is for Fundies and their patriotic zeal, almost amounting to religious, for our country, one which can blind them to any other opinion that isn’t all RAH-RAH! USA! or set anywhere but Mayberry.
          Whew! 😐

        3. @petrushka

          Of course. 😉

          I’m not a member of any party nor am I liberal or conservative. I’m a little of all depending on the subject.

          That bugs the HELL outta people. :p

        4. Natalie, you have to be categorizable. It’s a rule. Fundies hate it when they can’t put a person in a box, whether it’s the box for SUPERDUPERXIANS or the LIBRULHEATHINPOSTATES. You’re being lukewarm and it makes the fundies spew fire and brimstone from their gaping mouths. So just stop it, will you?

        5. Dear stacymcanderson:

          We’ve been taken over by socialism, have we? You’re forgetting something. We’re Americans. We would be so lucky as to have a genuinely socialist society.

          Christian Socialist

          PS: Does it bother you not in the least that your stand against militarism is thoroughly socialist doctrine?

        6. “….The country has been taken over by Socialists who want to turn the world into one big Communistic state.”

          Because Socialism and Communism are the same thing. Right?

          stacy – You are winning the hearts and minds of the soul-less heathens who read this site (secretly or overtly). On this most religious of national holidays, I salute you.

        7. CS (Not Lewis),

          I think you misunderstood my point. I am NOT being Socialist by standing against militarism.

          I am all for fighting Communists and Nazis who want to overtake the world – if that were really the truth. But the truth of the matter is that war is not all that it’s portrayed to be in the media. US corporations funded Nazis in the WWII, the US funded North Vietnam, and today the US is funding the terrorists that we are fighting. If the wars were really what they were portrayed to be on Fox News, then I would tend to be more agreeable to them. But they are not. The political machinations behind wars are done by central bankers and the ilk who have no loyalty to America or freedom. They want you to believe that America really is fighting for freedom and not know that the true players behind the scenes are globalist socialists who are really controlling things.

          I hate to have to correct you here, but Socialists are not anti-militaristic.

        8. stacy, my love, I just want to make sure you, and all the secret readers of SFL, understand that Socialism is an economic system and Communism is a political system.

          But you keep it up girl. You are on a roll today.

        9. Oh, Natalie! Say it ain’t so! I’m shocked, shocked, to find pot-stirring going on here!

        10. Maniacal laugh….. MANIACAL LAUGH!!!!

          (And if you don’t know that’s a Muppets reference, you’re both a Communist AND a Socialist).

        11. Dear stacymcanderson:

          By repudiating militarism, you endorse a major plank of any self-respecting, socialist party.

          How is it that you want to fight those who want to ‘overtake the world’ when it is clear from the Revelation that Jesus conquers NOT as the lion of Judah but as the lamb that was slain?

          Does not ongoing United States acquiescence to powerful corporations practice the fascist politics from which you feign to separate?

          Does the banking system not exist as a mechanism of the ownership/investment class? Do you truly believe that the IMF is a socialist institution?

          And why would capitalism [a transnational system if ever there was one] have any particular devotion to the United States – or to Christian faith for that matter? Doesn’t capitalism exist for ‘profit?’

          What is the origin of the language of ‘globalist socialists who are really controlling things?’ Why exactly is that supposed to be believed? Doesn’t Capitalism truly seek to be a ‘globalist’ system?

          Where would Capitalism be without the threat/use of war to open up new markets and ensure that fiscal arrangements and social relations continue to serve the wealthy and powerful? Has it not occurred to you that Capitalism would be impossible without war?

          The Socialist Equality Party demands that total US military spending be cut by 85%. If that is not
          anti-militaristic, would you please explain to us what anti-militaristic looks like?

          Christian Socialist

        12. I’m assuming you are a Poe, so thank you for the many laughs of late. You make me truly “LOL”.

        13. Ha! I live in a country where the President comes from a party called (dum dum dummmmm! ) the Socialists. We also have an actual bona fide Communist party.

          Your average right-wing American wouldn’t recognise Socialism if it danced up to them in a tutu waving a big banner emblazoned with “I am Socialism”.

        14. Bella, unless it’s a girl under the age of five in said tutu, the offending person will be automatically labeled “gay”. That’s worse than socialism. If it’s a young girl, she will be shamed for wearing a tutu because that’s what dancers wear and dancers dance and dancing is a sin committed by shameless brazen hussy Jezebels and gay men, doncha know?

        1. Bean, I didn’t even laugh at your comment. It’s so naive that it’s beyond the point of even being cute. It’s sad more than anything.

        2. bean – I didn’t laugh either. That’s because stacy has bought up all of the tin foil in town. How can a fella make a baked potato without tin foil?

        3. Hahahaha..I wasn’t trying to be cute. I find it amusing though that your favorite evil in the world is lib-rulls and socialists and almost every thread you find a way to come on board and comment about the liberal, godless, secular humanists destroying our nation. Then you go out of your way to be disrespectful to veterans. So I’m not quite sure where you are coming from day to day. A “tin foil hat” is so “they” can’t control what you are thinking. Google it.

          I don’t think I am being naive at all. Naive means not being able to accept simple hard truths about life. I don’t see that as the case.

          I am in favor of fair, free markets. I don’t encourage or support communism, though I do believe that when everybody does better..we all do better. There are some things that we cannot do on our own, so we work together. I’m for hard work, busting butt, getting up in the morning, and being respectful. Does that make me a commie lib or am I a patriotic American who loves his country? (Hint, if it were the 50’s, I’d probably be a republican.)

    2. “Every time I see a soldier, I like to say “you’re welcome” for giving him or her the opportunity to waste tax dollars in useless wars. ”

      “To all the soliders who are actually fighting: I am not disrespecting you. You are only doing what you are told and that is honorable and decent. It’s the true powers who control the wars who are wrong, not the average enlisted man or woman.”

      That first sentence is the definition of disrespect.

      1. No kidding.
        I am for peace. For justice. And for helping people.
        But I am also 100% in support of our servicemen and women who are doing what they are being asked, and serving selflessly. They deserve our respect and much more!

        That’s not to say we don’t need a policy discussion about appropriate uses of military force. And I think the two can both be done…

      2. A, just because someone is a soldier they are not a “hero” like Fox News wants to make them out to be. Granted, many, many of our service men and women are fine, decent, morally upright people. I mean no disrespect towards them at all. Many of them are lied to about the true purpose of military actions. And even if they know the truth, they are just pawns and have no power or authority at all to make a difference, other than to educate others. So I apologize if I came across as disrespectful. That was not the intent. Although, I will not automatically* call anyone a hero just because they serve in the military.

        1. I don’t even know where you came up with the word “hero” since it certainly wasn’t anywhere in my comment. I was born and raised military, so I know better than most that most service members are simply ordinary everyday people doing what is an undeniably difficult job (or, in Stacy-world, sucking down your tax dollars).

          That said, the fact that you pride yourself on walking up to complete strangers and making hateful comments to them about your wasted tax dollars (“Every time I see a soldier, I like to say ‘you’re welcome’ for giving him or her the opportunity to waste tax dollars in useless wars. ”) tells me that you’re an abysmally solipsistic person who can’t see past the end of her snotty nose. So yes, madame, you are absolutely being disrespectful.

      3. ^^^^^ This right here. THANK YOU. I am a veteran and I was highly offended. I didn’t waste your tax dollars at all. I worked my butt off, provided for my family, learned a skill (medic, to save your a**in the civilian world, Stacy,) and I went to college and got a degree. Your entire statement was offensive. (Btw I have socialist leanings. Mind blown, Stacy?)

        1. Dear Redheadedstepchild:

          You wrote: ‘I have socialist leanings. Mind blown, Stacy?’

          I reply: ‘Whereas our soldiers are drawn overwhelmingly from the working class, I’m surprised that socialist leanings don’t dominate in the ranks.’

          Christian Socialist

        2. Christian Socialist: I love your reply!!! It took me joining the military and then working as an emt in civilian life to come over to Socialism. I get called a “libtard Democrat” alot. Which I find hilarious that the word liberal is so dirty. And I reply that they have no clue what my political leanings are. I just have seen enough suffering in the world to know that things need to be changed. And arguing across party aisles dont cut it. I think I’d enjoy chatting with your extensively, CS.

        3. Dear Redheadedstepchild:

          Have you considered saying that ‘if you had a clue as to what my political leanings really are, you’d run like hell?’

          Thank you for your ‘suffering world’ remark. Isn’t it curious how our bombs unerringly end up liberating the most misery-ridden peoples!

          Do you enjoy good beer, Redheadedstepchild? The Brew Kettle was named the 3rd finest pub in North America. So if you’re ever in Cleveland and don’t mind being seen with me in public, I’m up for it. My nickel. Of course, I’d tip one with Stacy for that matter. Wanna bet we could make her come unglued? Should we invite her? I think we could sell tickets for that event!

          Love you, girl!

          Blessings!

          Christian Socialist

        4. Christian Socialist, I am a country girl and country girls love a good beer. If I’m ever in Cleveland, we will definitely knock a few back!

          Yes from time to time I have uttered the remark you said. It scares the heck out of people that I am neither Republican or Democrat. So then everyone assumes I’m a Communist. It’s all great fun in my mind.

          Yes let’s invite Stacy. I haven’t had a good debate in a long time.

          Cheers!

      1. There is *NO such thing as luck. That is a heathen saying. Also, the memo from last month in the bulletin made it clear, it’s called a “Pot BLESSING” meal, not “pot luck.”

        LOL

        1. You can’t say “pot” anything because then people will think you are a dope addict.

        2. @robert. Yes. Many times. Many, many times.
          My former church had a few people that held to potluck, but many that called it a covered dish or a potblessing meal

          Potblessing. Now there’s something. That might have a whole ‘nother connotation in Colorado.

        3. Bean

          -_-
          Seriously? YHGTBKM. I guess they think they are being more holy or some thing, but that’s just superstition masquerading as holiness. Pathetic.

          And LOL at the Colorado joke! 🙂

        4. @Lady Semp,

          Well done preserving the sacred doctrine of Avoiding All Appearance Of Evil

        5. Thank you, Carchemish. I was hoping to be recognized for use of the word “dope”. How long has that word been out of fashion?

        6. About the time hippies went out of fashion, but that doesn’t stop my Bible “college” from making anti-hippy rules.

      2. In keeping with yesterday’s theme of fundicized popular music, I remember as a kid hearing our church choir sing this, in a choral arrangement, complete with “ain’t no doubt” changed to “is no doubt.”

        To this day, I can’t decide if it was worse than the original or not.

        1. Another popular late 1990s trend was t change the words “from Detroit down to Houston, New York to LA” to include the name of the town where the church was located. Our church always sang “from Detroit down to Beaufort, New York to LA” accompanied by a raucous chorus of AMENS!! (And we attended a Bible church at the time that wasn’t really an amen-ing type of church.)

    1. I remember having to hear that wretched excuse for music every single year as a cadet at dining out… that’s the sort of thing they make trigger warnings for

  6. I am a patriot. I love to meet patriots from other countries. About the only pleasant time I had in Rwanda was talking with a Rwandan about our shared patriotism.

    But it doesn’t belong in church.

  7. Oh, now my fundy pastor didn’t get this memo. His July 4 sermons are basically a long whine about how this country has gone down the drain. It’s depressing.

    1. Which Lincoln? A Lincoln could be ol’ Mortimer Lincoln down on Evelyn Dr.
      Or did you mean A. Lincoln instead?

      [PLEASE take this in the light-hearted spirit in which it is intended! Just a weak attempt a humor from a guy who once read a book on punctuation and grammar for fun]

        1. I’ve been paid to correct punctuation.
          I used to be a copy editor.

        2. I meant the personal profit of expanding my learning.

          B.G.–I wish our local paper would hire a copy editor. I quit renewing my subscription because I realized I the spelling and syntax errors were bothering me to the point of distraction. I think I could be a decent copy editor, but I don’t think my associates degree in aircraft maintenance would be the correct qualification.

          The internet gets blamed for the drop in circulation but for me I just got tired of paying good money for an inferior product.

  8. Dear Merrimack Valley Baptist Church:

    And when it becomes clear that no Jesus’ terrible, swift sword comes swinging against the US no less than against Judah and Israel [Mal 3:1-3], what then? Will you sing? Will you bow to Yahweh’s judgments, OR, will you shake a fist at a ‘god’ who refuses to validate our state religion of selective, political piety?

    Christian Socialist

    1. Dear Christian Socialist,

      Been a fan of this website for a couple years now. Since shortly after I became a deacon at Merrimack Valley Baptist Church, actually. I always enjoy your comments, though I did wonder what I would do if something or someone came up on this website that I actually knew about. Would it look different once it was people to me, not just an abstract?

      Anyway, I guess I know now. I just always assumed that my new, less conservative church wouldn’t be the one that got hit. Thanks for commenting on the words to the song, not the people in the video – I appreciate the lack of a personal attack. The girls are actually pretty kind kids.

      I’ll take a stab at answering your question, since you addressed the church and I’m (as far as I know) one of only three active members here who regularly enjoy reading SFL. I would guess a good number of people (20%? 35%? More?) buy into the myth that America is a nation ‘under God’ and think that the religious overtones to our history are more than just the usual “God-agrees-with-me-being-in-charge” nonsense that has been used to justify virtually every political institution in history.

      That being said, though, given a recent conversation between myself and one of the pastors about the concerning trend of Christians obsessing over our country, rather than following the commands of I Peter 2:11-12, I Peter 2:17, or Philippians 3:20 , I would be confident in saying that there are a good number of people there, including members of the senior staff, who have a more realistic understanding of the complete difference between our religious life and the country we happen to live in.

      I’ve written and discarded several more paragraphs, but my answer boils down to: we will bow.

      1. Andrew: A most excellent answer. Thank you for your grace and wisdom. And please know that I believe that the young ladies are lovely and talented, and I wish them the very best. Some of us here cringe at the conflation of religion and patriotism, but these young teens are just sincere, wanting to serve The Lord. Blessings, BJg

        1. Thanks, BJg! I might borrow the phrase “conflation of religion and patriotism” for future discussions, unless you happen to be a lawyer and own the copyright thereto. Let me know if that is the case so I can avoid potential legal troubles! 🙂

          I would count myself among those concerned, by the way. Responding to the challenge posed by Christian Socialist and, umm … endorsed … by Robert doesn’t mean I don’t share his concern, just that I think ‘we’ are not blind to the trend.

          My personal view is that patriotism, though deeply ingrained in the makeup of our particular flavor of church, does not belong anywhere near the worship of Christ. While nobody I know would claim that singing these songs (even “bloodthirsty” battle hymns) constitutes worship of our Constitution (hah!), I do still worry that the close identification of our worship and our patriotism muddles the borders that should be clear. Many power structures in history have used that exact concept to legitimize their own actions and manipulate events to their own design.

          More importantly, though, is my belief that Christians should be more focused on eternity than the present. If we want to influence the direction of the country we live in, evangelism not legislation is our answer. Falsely claiming special blessing or promises not applied to us won’t help anyone, and may even shake the faith of those of us who see problems with that.

        2. @Andrew:

          I know I’m a couple days behind on this and chances are you won’t see it, but I wanted to let you know I really appreciate your response. My response to CS post was probably out of order, I have a severe disdain of, as BJG put it, the “conflation of religion and patriotism” and that caused what was probably an uncalled for response. If I offended you I sincerely apologize.

          In particular I think you are 100% right when you said, ” If we want to influence the direction of the country we live in, evangelism not legislation is our answer. ”

          Blessings in Christ.

      2. Dear Andrew:

        Thank you for a gracious and thoughtful reply. Measuring words to show where Merrimack Valley Baptist Church is to be corrected and where it is to be affirmed, you follow Jesus’ example as he addresses the Asiatic churches [Re 2-3]. MVBC is better, Andrew, because you bring to it a reserved and faithful discretion.

        The church/state question is difficult and longstanding. Constantine’s ‘Christendom’ was not accepted by all. Some said that the ‘beast/false_prophet’ arrangement of Revelation warned against exactly that. I concur with that minority report. So your reference to Ph 3:20 speaks very clearly for me. Thank you for that.

        As I see it, we live somewhere between Ro 13 and Re 13. Nor do these texts exist in isolation. Babel, Egypt, Philistia, Babylon and Tyre as well as Israel, Judah and more, plus the ministry of Moses, Elijah and other prophets all figure into the Revelation’s inter-testamental background. This subject is huge and few attempt competent, theological work in this area. Yet this subject matters for God’s kingdom more than we guess.

        As I see it, John in Revelation uses the seal of God [baptism] and the beast’s mark [earthly system of authority and power] in contrast/parody to show that we can serve one or the other – but never both. That is why Re 18:1-4ff. frames the gospel as a call to exit Babylon. So whether the Biblically mandated and faithful response to Re 18:3-4 is Christ AND Caesar versus Christ OR Caesar matters profoundly for Christian faith and practice.

        Deep down, we know that if Christian life and witness are contextualized in the theology of the Revelation, our relationship of accommodation with earthly powers ends. Our government would then behold us with a jaundiced eye at best. Persecution will come and some would face death. Many push Revelation into the future to avoid all this. Yet in so doing, the faithful witness associated with God’s approbation on the last day is forfeited.

        I’ll be the first to say that my reading of Revelation may be wrong. Better theologians than I disagree. But with no comprehension of the gravity or complexity of the issues, and with no interest to learn why it matters, others are ever ready for a riot of flag-waving, patriotic excess. This isn’t right. What if this buys into the very vision which in part John wrote the book of Revelation to correct?

        For all we profess to want it ‘preached like it is,’ such preaching can empty churches in one week. Broaching such things isn’t easy, and many faithful preachers wrestle with their conscience weekly to know how much to say and how to say it. Leadership isn’t for cowards or fools. But those with reserved and faithful discretion may find themselves equipped for that holy task in God’s church. Perhaps this pastor with whom you confide would find this perspective interesting.

        The singing of this song is not necessarily idolatrous even if it is sometimes heard idolatrously. And place for legitimate pride of nation may remain. But for the Christian, the only politics that matters ultimately is that of God’s kingdom. Ever let it be remembered that it is at the foot of a cross that we take our stand.

        Out of curiosity, Andrew, could a State Socialist Party Secretary be a member in good standing and advance his name for holy office at MVBC? The peace of the Lord be with you, Andrew. In Christ,

        Christian Socialist

    1. Yeah, they’re pretty darn good especially for teens! They can’t be all THAT fundy, ’cause they slide and use 7th and 9th chords. 😛 Clear evidence that the church must be HAC or West Coast affiliated rather than PCC/BJU.

      1. We’re pretty mixed, actually. No HAC or West Coast affiliations, and the churches in the area that believe musical norms of a specific decade are rightfully the Eleventh Commandment have separated from us in disgust some time ago.

        Despite what some of the more conservative members would like, music is not something the church allows to be a reason for pitchforks and torches. First time I attended, the pastor said that “personal preferences are not the same as Scriptural precepts” and I’ve been coming ever since.

        1. Andrew, are you familiar with a fundy church in SNH that about 20 or so (maybe more) years ago was the target of a police raid? I forget the specifics but I once went there for a women’s seminar. The pastor’s name escapes me.

        2. LadySemp,
          That doesn’t sound familiar to me, but I would have been on the younger side and probably not that aware of events even if it was one of the churches in our ‘circle’. Any other details you can remembe?

        3. Andrew, I believe the issue was some kind of kiddie porn/sexual abuse stuff going on. The police took all the computers out of the church.
          I want to say it was in Salem. I know it was in SNH; thinking somewhere near 28/111. If memory serves we drove by a shopping plaza on the way to the church. Since 28 is nothing but commercial that doesn’t narrow it down much, but like I said, it was a LONG time ago.

    2. They are singing “lustily and with good courage,” as John Wesley enjoined people to sing, but the arrangement they’re singing is abysmal, and they tend to go out of tune on those fancy, sliding notes and tricky chords.

      I believe they’re using what voice teachers call “a head voice.”

        1. Oh goodness. Sorry. Ashleigh. I hate when people spell my name wrong, and I sincerely apologize.

        2. Hahaha not a problem!! Thank you for the kind words. 🙂
          Where do you go to school?

  9. Yup. The fact is that fundamentalism has been around in some form a lot longer than the defined date of the “movement.” Even during the American Revolution, you had churches born of patriotic fervor — abandoning the Anglican Church because of its association with England. Congress passed a law making it illegal to pray for the King. Good priests and people did anyway.

    The churches born out of the split tended to be more politically fervent. They remained that way. Many of them became “Baptist.” And as with many Baptist churches, their leaders were largely self-educated, had a self-professed “call” to the ministry, and decried being under any real authority (though there was a loose association).

    Before the Civil War, in 1840, the American Baptists held an Anti-Slavery Convention, adopting a position against slavery almost as strong as a statement of faith. In 1845, Baptist churches in the South approved of forming the Southern Baptist Convention, with its own position approving slavery. (Such a division also happened with the Methodist Church).

    Faith and Politics have always been inextricably intertwined within the more “conservative” segments of Christianity here in the United States. That should be no surprise, given the history of the Faith in Europe. It should also be no surprise that politics have been an real, but unacknowledged component in how the churches define “salvation.”

    1. A liberal Presbyterian church across the street from my old Baptist church held a day of mourning and prayer when Bush was re-elected in 2004. I don’t buy the argument that conservative Christians are more political. At all. Don’t buy it.

      I’m not denying that Fundagelicalism and the Republican Party aren’t closely intertwined. It’s odd because Francis Shafer predicted that such a deal would be made in one of his books in the early 1960’s. Then in the mid-1970’s, he worked to make it happen. His son Frank Shafer talked him into it. Frank’s religious views are… complicated… but even now as a man who is some ways a flaming lib, he still mixes religion and politics without any apparent self-awareness that he’s doing it.

  10. Thanks for this Darrell. I enjoy the “commandments” the most out of all your posts! Always well-written and funny.
    (This particular theme has always been a sore point to me)

  11. I’ve visited this church and spoken with the pastor briefly. I really enjoyed the visit, and would happily visit again, in spite of the fact the pastor has a mustache and rides his Hog cross-country.
    They didn’t strike me as fundy, but the red flag of nepotism does fly there.

    1. The mustache is gone, thankfully … the motorcycles keep multiplying, though.

      The nepotism was a red flag for me, too, but after working closely with the individuals involved for the last three years, it’s not something that I’m concerned about anymore.

    1. There’s always been something paradoxical to me about the intense love/hate relationship that fundies and evangelicals have towards the US. On the one hand, they think of us as Reagan’s beacon on the hill, shining the light of true Christianity and all that is good to every corner of the world. On the other hand, they think we are all going to hell in a hand basket as our nation is taken over by godless, globalist, liberal, communist, Marxist, socialist, democratic humanists. Of course, in one sense, America is a big enough tent to include both of these elements, and lots more. But fundies tend to latch onto on or the other at various times as if that’s the way it is 100%. One week America is Christ’s kingdom on earth. The next week it is all Satan’s. The contradictions are dizzying.

      1. The weird thing is believing both of those visions, the Panglossian one and the demonic one, equally passionately, at exactly the same time. That’s become the consensus reality of a large segment of Americans.
        We couldn’t possibly be better, or worse, it seems.

    2. After a sermon from the book of Jeremiah once likening Israel to the USA, I asked someone if my friends in Brazil could preach the same sermon, substituting Brazil for the USA.

      I love provoking the deer in the headlights look.

    1. You mean in the video clip at the top of today’s entry?
      I hope you’re kidding.
      The arrangement they’re singing is terrible, and they don’t stay in tune for more than a few seconds at any point.

      1. I’m probably not a good judge of musical arrangements or vocal technique.

        The thing about the church’s display of patriotism (as in this video) is the tacit promotion of Dominionism or Cxn Reconstructionism. The USA and the nation of Israel have become the people of God. Good Cxn people just need to bring in Cxn laws & standards to the US so that the US can become a Cxn caliphate. Then the non-Cxns can either be forcibly converted or driven out.

        Hmm…sounds like Afghanistan.

        1. Or like Spain in 1492, the year of the Reconquest and the initiation of the Inquisition.

        2. That is what the TeaPotty folk seem to think is needed. Just make the laws and all of a sudden, everything will be just right. Take away all food assistance and unemployment insurance from families and you will suddenly find everyone working, productive, able to pay their bills and have some left over. Take away the right to an abortion and suddenly you won’t have out-of-wedlock babies, all babies will be healthy and wanted, parents will have the money to raise them and marriages will prosper.

          Magical Thinking. You don’t need grace or the love of God to make people act like Christians! You just need to rule with a rod of iron. And spill the blood of people who disagree with you, like grapes being stomped in God’s Wrath.

          Christian Dominionism is thoroughly alive and well in fundamentalism. But it isn’t Christian.

        3. @RTGMATH, you are spot on. These people scare the crap out of me. I heard a minister once say “what we really want is a theocracy.” Um, no thanks. It is a whole lot of right wing crap. Some of them are true believers who think Jesus was a right wing republican who wants a strong national defense, more prisons, and less welfare..and loves corporations. And I think some on the political side that hold up their Bibles and pound people over the head with them are using it for power. At the risk of violating Godwin’s law, I will say the whole thing reeks to pieces of fascism.

        4. Bean, they scare me, too. And all the more because at one point I was one of them.

          Oh, not the current iteration of the Tea Party. But earlier ones, every bit as racist and hateful and what-all. And the fact that my IFB church is infected with this gunk, seeping deep into the psyches of the most “godly” and “nice” people there. It makes me feel ill. And I am angry that I was ever close to that mess.

          Not that it was my fault. I was literally born into such a situation. But still, such thinking and attitudes are things I will never stop fighting against.

        5. Well said, rtgmath. The Tea Party, or “Tea Potty” as you aptly said, is devoid of God’s grace when it comes to helping those in need.

          Don’t they see that this sort of gracelessness is driving people AWAY from their brand of church?

          I have said (several times) on SFL that if they are Christians, I don’t want to be called a “Christian”.

      2. @rtgmath,
        so was i. Maybe that’s why we see it. I was one of the chief people in the front row for “God and Country” Sunday. Ugh. So glad I woke up. Life is too short.

      3. Big Gary,

        I’m sorry you didn’t care for our arrangement, but that’s the beauty of music composure–creativity. We arranged it ourselves. 🙂
        As to our singing, staying “in tune” isn’t always meant to be “spot-on” in quartets with dissonance and such. Besides, the music is always better in person, so please do not judge our singing ability based on the poor quality iPod video. 🙂
        Thanks!!

        Respectfully,
        Ashleigh S. from the NH Patriettes

  12. A family friend just went to First Baptist Church of Colombia South Carolina’s Independence day celebration and posted pics. She said there were fireworks inside for the service and orchestra and flags draped everywhere.
    Patriotism and Faith have been fused for a long time now. It is odd that people do not see the idolatry in having a flags in worship space and songs which lift up a nation in the midst of a worship service.

      1. I know there’s a fire marshal in RI who takes a dim view of indoor fireworks. Of course if you’re the MOG nothing bad will happen the way it did at The Station.

        1. You’re obviously referring to that horrifying tragedy that occurred as a result of the band “Great White” using pyrotechnics in a bar as part of their show. Any use of fireworks indoors is both idiotic and insane IMHO.

      2. Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. I also was wondering if the insurance company requires extra payment for the service. If you look on Facebook for First Baptist church of Colombia SC you can find the pics on their page…..It looks like large sparklers being set off.

    1. For that matter, I never have understood what blowing stuff up has to do with patriotism.
      I enjoyed fireworks as a child, and still do, but even as a little boy I never got what the fireworks had to do with American Independence.

      1. Cause, ‘Merica Big Gary! Dontcha know that?? LOL…

        I have had a disdain for fireworks for a long time. It began when my children had big eyes and wanted pappa to spend big dollars at the fireworks store. They are banned in my state other than some ground fireworks. I would always say they were illegal, so we couldn’t. Then they got smart enough to know everybody was doing it anyway, or that we could just go to grandpa and grandmas in the neighboring state where they ARE legal.

        My big reason for a dim view of personal fireworks is the bam-bam-bam for a week during the fourth. My dog absolutely hates it. She has anxiety issues to start with. She is a nervous nellie all week.

        I do really like it when the city puts on a display though. It can be very pretty to watch. Usually I watch the PBS washington on the 4th thing.

        1. Totally agree. Big, organized displays? Awesome. I’ve seen the one in NYC a couple of times and it’s amazing. Neighbors shooting off the illegal stuff past midnight every night for a week? Not so much. It’s going on right now in my neighborhood, and I’m just hoping my baby sleeps through it.

      2. I completely agree with you. Although fireworks can be very pretty, I have found with my dogs, they are annoying. I have to spend almost a month going into a dark room with air-condition, fan, and music going so my dogs don’t lose their minds this time of year.

  13. >>>For they brought forth on this continent a new nation wherein the sodas are large and the people are larger and for this and all their many other blessings we give them reverence.<<<

    Love that sentence!

  14. We had a family move in behind us earlier this year. I immediately noticed that the women wear headcoverings of the middle-Eastern variety. The men sit on the back deck and smoke while the women sit among them and talk for hours.

    Yesterday, I met the father, Raymond, who shared with me his experience growing up in Syria They moved to the United States fourteen years ago and started a business here in my town. He told me he really enjoyed my family and said, “You have a wonderful American family.” Although I wasn’t sure what he meant exactly, I realized the perspective/perception is reality. He went on to say that he really loved being American and loved living here.

    We talked about the chaos in Syria right now and the horrible leadership that has brought his homeland to this point (his words, not mine. I wasn’t in the position to judge).

    Raymond is not fundy in any sense of the word. He knows nothing of my background or this website. He’s never attended my former fundy CEO’s religious business meetings incorrectly referred to as “church.” He simply enjoys his freedom, peace, and the enjoyment of his new home. He smiles when his son plays with my youngest son in the back yard. He is at rest with knowing he can sit at his home and not fear explosions, small arms fire, or missle attacks.

    I have to agree.

    I don’t know how these comments contribute to our discussion, I just know that I too can sit on my back deck, waive at my new neighbors while enjoying the peace of my little world away from fundystan.

    B.R.O.

    1. That is wonderful, B.R.O. This made me smile.

      Recently, a young Muslim woman moved in 2 doors from us, and we’ve befriended her. Wonderful person who told me she tries to be outgoing and funny so people won’t be afraid of her (she wears a head scarf). She is 32 years old and weighs about 100 pounds. But she’s living in the heart of Palin country and scared of what she will endure at the hands of “Christians” here.

        1. In my neighborhood (NE Portland, Oregon), there’s a number of Somali and Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees. There’s also a number of Sudanese people coming in- in fact there’s a Sudanese family in our congregation. (Her family was wiped out, but they managed to get out with their children.) They are wonderful people, about 1/3 Christian. Nearly all of the women wear the hijab however. Have to say, they have some BEAUTIFUL textiles…

        2. Ooh that reminds of a few girls from Turkey that were in an ESOL class I sat in on. They wore the hijabs, long tunics, and the like. So very sweet, and you could tell they made an effort to be stylish even though their style was so different from everyone else’s (especially the young Latino girls!!) So so gorgeous.

      1. BJg, I’m glad you were able to befriend her. It sounds like her efforts are reaping results! I’m hoping our new neighbors will feel comfortable and welcome around my family.

    2. Excellent, BRO!

      I have a confession…. *looks around*…. I love halal food. Yes, it’s Islamic “kosher” food, but I LOOOOOOVE it. I love the spices. It’s absolutely wonderful.

      So, there, my secret is out. 😉

        1. @liutgard, so the hijab is worn even by Christians from Ethiopia? Would it be more of a cultural understanding of “decency” than religious? We are seeing more in the midwest now too, mostly near Fargo and Minneapolis. I want my students to number one be accepting of all they see, and try to understand the reasons why people dress the way they do, especially immigrants.
          I think I would fit right in…in Portland, Ore. 🙂

        2. Yes, I think it is an issue of culture rather than religion.

          There are a great many things to love Portland for, and acceptance and diversity are just part of them.

        3. @Liutgard, my neighbor lady who is Muslim moved here from Portland, where she had lived for years. She’s in a bit of shock. At least she feels free to knock on our door to get us to help moving furniture in! My wife and I are quite fond of her.

      1. You know what’s so funny about what you just said? (no, of course you don’t!) This Syrian family owns a local Winchell’s! We’re going to check it out soon. Maybe I’ll post in the forum the results. 🙂

      1. Christian Socialist,

        That reminds me of the time I came across a man in the course of my employment who was a high level military official in the South Vietnamese army up until the early 1970’s – at which time he was exiled to the U.S. He was a man of humble circumstances now in the United States, but kept a biographical synopsis of his life (with a photograph) to show those Americans with whom he comes in contact with in an official capacity. BJg would understand where I’m coming from.

        Although he appreciated his new life here, he obviously missed the rank and priviledge he earned in his native country.

    3. Several years ago an Islamic family moved next to my wife’s parents. My kids played with theirs (though their children were younger than ours) when we went to visit the grandparents.

      One visit we made, and the oldest child, a daughter called Sarah (that was the name she chose instead of her real name), was sick and in the hospital. My kids went into action, and decided that she needed a care package from us with toys and clothes and sweets. We went out to get them, and delivered them wrapped to the family. Then we had to go home.

      On our next visit, the husband met us, took us into his house, and kissed me on both cheeks. He said he had never met Americans like us, and that we had been kinder to him and his family than anyone else here. He said, “My home is your home.” Sarah was overwhelmed with the gifts, and that her part-time friends would think of her that much. I learned, later, that they would have to go back to Jordan. His visa was expiring. But he hoped to come back.

      I wish there had been more time and opportunity to get to know him.

      1. How wonderful, to touch another human being so deeply. Thank you for sharing.

        I think that in IFB we’ve been taught to be afraid of “the other”, as they are godless and going to hell unless they “ask Jesus into their heart.” Seeing other races, cultures, and religions as my brothers and sisters has been a wonderful experience for me. I’m thankful to God for this. My optimistic (=hopeful) acceptance of universalism has opened the door for this to me, a child of the South, taught to fear “the other”.

        1. I couldn’t have thought of a better response to rtgmath’s story. Thanks to both of you.

          B.R.O.

    1. And heathen saxophones! (Really, when I was playing sax in band, I had one of the church ladies dress me down for it, because it was that awful jazz thing. When I was playing oboe (I’m a woodwind geek), I was accused of putting on airs, with that longhair instrument. I should play piano or organ. I couldn’t win.

        1. In IFB music the only instruments allowed are Pie-Annas and a Fiddle. That’s the name of an upcoming IFB record being made by the OBC Melodies shortly before the school closes down.

      1. Fellow church oboist here and former fundie. I have been given the evil eye for plying a special all the way through with no mistakes and even ornamentation. Like I was “showing off” but I just wanted to sound nice.

        1. Cause there were some really AWFUL specials but it’s all to praise God. Not allowed to sound good in a Fundie church.

        2. God calls us to excellence for HIS glory. So way to go on not messing up. That’s a good thing that shows you did your best to glorify God with the gift He gave you. 🙂

    2. And I’ll never hear it without the all-but-overpowering urge to sing along with the lyrics to “Be Kind to Your Web-Footed Friends.”

    1. Great points in both articles. I would agree that the eternal values demonstrated and taught by Jesus Christ trump any contemporary nationalistic perspective.

      I’m saying this as a veteran.

      B.R.O.

  15. I think my ECUSA congregation strikes the right balance. We say extra prayers for our elected leaders on the Sunday closest to the Fourth and we sing hymns about patriotism (“God Bless Our Native Land,” “America the Beautiful.” But we also have this in our hymnal:

    O GOD of earth and altar
    Bow down and hear our cry,
    Our earthly rulers falter,
    Our people drift and die;
    The walls of gold entomb us,
    The swords of scorn divide,
    Take not Thy thunder from us,
    But take away our pride.

    From all that terror teaches,
    From lies of tongue and pen,
    From all the easy speeches
    That comfort cruel men,
    From sale and profanation
    Of honor and the sword,
    From sleep and from damnation,
    Deliver us, good Lord.

    Tie in a living tether
    The priest and prince and thrall,
    Bind all our lives together,
    Smite us and save us all;
    In ire and exultation
    Aflame with faith, and free,
    Lift up a living nation,
    A single sword to Thee.

    The last verse is about living in England on the brink of WWI, but the point still stands: If we want to insist that ours is a nation under God, we have to accept that God’s idea of what that means is not necessarily ours.

    1. I don’t recall ever hearing this hymn. Thanks to the ‘net, I now have. I never knew Chesterton wrote hymns also. I enjoyed it.

      Thank You.

  16. These gals must go to a “real college” back east instead of taking their talents to a Fundy College where there are no drums etc.

    These goils need to be on Jay Leno.

  17. Darrell, funny article. 😛 Thanks for using my video…I’m one of the girls in the video (the soloist).
    The NH Patriettes are always looking for ways to serve our country. 😉
    Have a blessed 4th and a great weekend!!

    -Ashleigh S.

  18. We sang the BHR today at our liberal Methodist service. Four entire verses. To honor the veterans in attendance. They appreciated it. BTW, the young ladies in the video did a fabulous rendition. And, yes, they should be featured on national TV.

      1. I thought the singing was excellent. But I admit to not liking the hymn — except for the last verse.

        The Battle Hymn of the Republic is essentially someone attributing the killing fields and thousands of dead soldiers in the Civil War to the Glory of God. It wasn’t true. God got no glory in all those deaths.

        And while I appreciate the men and women who sacrifice their time, talents, and lives on the battlefield in service to their country, I regret the lives lost in the misguided wars we have fought for revenge, or for a son’s determination to complete what his daddy didn’t. I regret the lives lost due to the lies an American President and his administration told to get us into war. I see no glory to God in their deaths.

        The Battle Hymn, like much Americana, makes up the Hubris of Thinking God is on Our Side.

        1. Those who think that The Battle Hymn is a spiritual song need to spend some time on the battlefields at Gettysburg, and learn the history. It’s a story of sadness and indescribable death. God help us.

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