President Bush on Friday said, “…We must remember that the desire for freedom burns inside every man and woman and child. More than two centuries ago, this desire of freedom… had inspired the subjects of a mighty empire to declare themselves free and independent citizens of a new nation. Today that same desire for freedom has inspired 72 immigrants from around the world to become citizens of the greatest nation on Earth — the United States of America. I congratulate you. I welcome you. I wish you all a happy Fourth of July. Thanks for inviting me. May God bless you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.”
ugh. I have been reading a lot about empire v. kingdom stuff, and this sort of thing makes me really uncomfortable… the assumption that a desire for freedom is universal and/or equal to America, that freedom means democracy, that the empire of the United States is somehow blessed or set apart by God… I understand that for some folks this sort of language probably feels comforting and even confirming, but right now it feels like just another instance in which the gap between faithful Christianity and the Christianity of America glares brightly.
Ps…. today alex and I were down by the independence mall in Philly for the fourth (there was an all you can eat ice cream festival, I couldn’t pass it up) and we saw a bunch of seperatist/anabaptist types on the corner of the road yelling about empire and the gods of america (which were, money, sex, entertainment, and the ‘american jesus’). WHile I didn’t agree with the execution, i was surprised and even scared a bit to realize that, generally speaking, I agreed with what they were saying, and in fact believe it strongly myself.