God is NOT American: Inherent Idolatry in “Make America Great Again”
As strange as it sounds, patriotism and nationalism are slippery slopes to idolatry for Christians. It is possible to be both Christian and American, but one should always hold a higher place of importance for the true believer. Let me put it this way:
God is not American.
God does not care about America more than other nations.
God did not elect Donald Trump.
These should be incredibly simple theological concepts, but I fear there are many Christians living in America who would disagree. And unfortunately there are far too many evangelicals who vocally believe the opposite.
When Christians are coming off as xenophobic jingoists then we have a problem. You just cannot be a firm follower of the Christian faith and also hate those who are different from you. You cannot refuse help to the needy and refuge to the poor. You cannot discriminate against homosexuals, immigrants, and those of other faiths and walks of life. And you SHOULD NOT support people/politicians who do.
Sadly, not only has Christianity not been used to speak out against atrocities committed in America (and around the world), but oftentimes it is used to justify them. The Bible has been used far too many times as a tool of oppression, a perverted rationalization for abhorrent acts such as the crusades, killing of Native Americans, slavery, domestic abuse, and ripping immigrant infants from their parents (to name just a few).
Church and state should be separated, but your religious convictions are also supposed to shape who you are and how you act/think. How do you then separate the two? How do you keep religion from influencing who you vote for? Should you not pick candidates who align with your religious and moral beliefs?
For many God, or at least the vague concept of a Christian god, is as American as apple pie and the 4th of July. And there is a fervor running rampant right now to make America the number one nation above all others. Lets be clear “Make America Great Again” is not necessarily a bad slogan. There’s nothing wrong for having pride in your country and wanting it to do well. But when we are forgetting/foregoing the basic tenets of our faith (loving one another, forgiving one another, rest for the weary, safe haven for the foreigner, humility, etc) in order to push a political agenda that is when our patriotism devolves into idolatry.
God bless America, but God bless every other country on earth as well.