People who preach and moralize a lot tend to be hypocrites. We all know this. The most vocal Christians, for example, the ones who need everyone to know that God agrees with them, are usually the ones who care the least about Christ. Sure, they love their Jesus publicly and in the abstract, but they’re not really interested in living their faith. They just want to be applauded.
You see this sort of hypocrisy in politics, too. There are those (you know who I’m talking about) who love the idea of America, but they don’t really understand it – and they don’t really want to. They tout their freedom and their rights and their Constitution, but they do so inconsistently, and only when it suits them. When loving these things means losing, when it means admitting error or accepting differences, they’re quick to abandon them.
If you like your Jesus with a splash of jingoism, you’ll have to cough up $29.95.
And oddly enough, it’s usually the folks flaunting their faith and their patriotism who tend not to understand either. Take this new company in Louisiana, BreakinThru LLC. These people are peddling a product (and I emphasize “product”) called “God’s Glory Bible.” What’s that, you ask? Well, it’s a King James Bible with an American flag as its cover. The message: America is a Christian nation and Jesus a flag-waving American patriot.
Now, it would be bad enough if they were simply giving these bibles away, but they’re not. Turns out, if you like your Jesus with a splash of jingoism, you’ll have to cough up $29.95 to the good folks over at BreakinThru. And that’s only if you act fast and pre-order it before July 1 – just in time to celebrate Independence Day! After that, drinking in your Americanized Jesus will cost you $39.95.
My guess is that the people behind this company aren’t really interested in God or country. Nope, what these capitalist hucksters want is your money and your credulity. Their pretensions to faith and patriotism are a ruse, an entrepreneurial gimmick. In other words, they’re almost certainly full of shit, and they probably don’t care that painting an American flag on the bible is both sacrilegious and un-American.
However, being a disingenuous capitalist whore isn’t illegal in this country, so BreakinThru is free to shamelessly pimp this product. The real problem is that people (in Louisiana and elsewhere) will buy it. If you’re one of these people, you’re wrong, and I’d like to tell you why.
To say that America is a Christian nation is to question the Americanness of everyone who’s not Christian. That’s bullshit.
First, despite what you’ve heard from know-nothing Constitution-lovers, this is not a Christian nation. Yes, there are many Christians here. Yes, the majority of Americans self-identify as Christian. But if you’d pull out that pocket Constitution of yours, you’d see the part of the First Amendment that says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” That includes Christianity. You may think that this is bad, that it doesn’t respect religious liberty. Not true. It actually protects your religious liberty by ensuring that no one (including the government) can tell you – or anyone else – how to live or what to believe. That’s America, slugger. Deal with it.
Conflating Christianity with political symbols is also an affront to Christ. I’m not a Christian myself, but I’ve always thought of Christ as a kind of moral genius. Is there any doubt that this product makes a mockery of the man by reducing him to a political prop? The truth is that Jesus wasn’t political, and he certainly wasn’t an American.
In fact, he told his followers to renounce worldly (i.e., political) power. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2). How can you call yourself a Christian and not know this? How can you not see that linking Christianity to a single country (or political entity) is apocryphal? How can you not understand that using the flag and the bible to turn a profit is an insult to your country and your church?
And finally, what the hell are non-Christian Americans supposed to think about a bible shrouded in an American flag? What about Buddhist Americans? What about Hindu Americans? What about Muslim Americans? What about Jewish Americans? What about atheist Americans? To say that America is a Christian nation is to question the Americanness of everyone who’s not Christian. That’s bullshit.
What could be more fascist than fusing religion and politics in this way? Answer: nothing.
It’s also fascist. Contrary to the dolts who call anything they don’t like fascist, fascism isn’t about government health care or progressive tax policies. What it’s really about is the forced obliteration of distinctions in society, so that all values – moral, political, economic, and religious – are subsumed by the state. What could be more fascist than fusing religion and politics in this way? Answer: nothing.
The bible-thumping faux patriots who buy this product probably won’t ask themselves these questions, and if they do and buy it anyway, they’re as ignorant of their religious tradition as they are of this country’s history. Nothing terribly surprising about that, I guess.
But if you’re one of profiteers behind BreakinThru, you know what you’re doing. Or maybe you don’t. In either case, you’re part of the problem, and you’re all soulless, self-serving opportunists.
But hey, you’ll make a lot of money. So there’s that.
Sean Illing is a reluctant academic with a penchant for pissing people off with words. He has found an outlet for his smartassery here at The Red Shtick. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_illing, or learn more about the man at SeanIlling.com.