The Complete Totalitarian Hellhole

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As I have argued many times, the danger for Christians on the right is that of nationalistic idolatry. Christians are told to keep themselves from idols because not doing so is a real possibility (1 Jn. 5:21). There are real attractions in Americolatry for many conservative evangelical believers, and for them I would simply repeat the ancient words of the apostle Paul, when he said, “Knock it off.”

The problem with Glen Beck’s big Mall rally was not that evangelicals were in danger of going over to Beck’s Mormonism, but rather that they were all displaying the shared territory of a shared secondary religion, that of Americolatry.

But, having said this, we still have to keep our sense of balance. When Constantine was converted, there were Christians who exhibited more than a little Eusebian exuberance, saying glowing things that ought not to have been said about any mortal man. At the same time, they were saying them in a time when the really serious idolatry had been dealt its death blow. History reveals that they were a bit too giddy, but by and large it was Christians like that who had brought down pagan Rome.

The statists who support Obama, and the statists who are disillusioned with him because he has not pressed for the complete totalitarian hellhole, are serious idolaters. The household gods of the American right that get a pinch of salt every now and again are a real irritation, a real compromise in the church, and every worthy preacher ought to direct sermonic haymakers at such compromises at every appropriate opportunity. Stop it.

At the same time, that worthy preacher must distinguish serious statism from this lump-in-your-throat nationalism. He must distinguish the superstition of the grandmother who leaves out saucers of milk for the kitchen fairies, and the priest with bloody robes who demands your firstborn for Molech. Just as the true faith has its spice-rack tithing and its weightier matters, so also do those who worship idols.

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