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Jingo Jangle

Christian tribalism is a renunciation of God's kingdom.
2007This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

When conservative Southern Baptist leaders recommended in late 2003 that the convention pull out of the Baptist World Alliance, they cited, among other concerns, "a decided anti-American tone [that] has emerged in recent years."

Recently, after the leaders of the Anglican Communion told the Episcopal Church it was violating both Scripture and Anglican doctrine, liberals in that denomination screamed a red-white-and-blue streak.

"In the 18th century, our country in turn fought a revolution to free ourselves from British rule," the bishop of Arizona told his diocese. "Why would we want to turn over our independence to a small group of foreign prelates who we did not elect and who have no legal authority over us?"

The bishops of Connecticut likewise wrote, "We, your bishops, will resist every attempt to allow authority to be placed in the hands of foreign primates."

The rector and senior warden of Pittsburgh's Calvary Church really wrapped themselves in the flag. "From its origin immediately following the American Revolution until this date, the heart and soul of this church is that it is an American church based upon democratic self-determination, American morality, and not subject to foreign domination," they wrote to Episcopalian leaders. "Since the 1780s, our church has been predicated upon American values and American morality."

Churches, in fact, can breed far more jingoism than the place you might most expect it: Christian political organizations lobbying Washington. Despite the nearly universal stars-and-stripes motif on these groups' websites, a Republican-led amendment to ban flag "desecration" (that is, violating or removing the flag's holy character) got at best tepid support from Religious Right groups. While you'll ...

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Tidings
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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