Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Don't know much about blasphemy

Damon Linker reviews Charles Marsh's Wayward Christian Soldiers in The New Republic:
Evangelicals, in his view, have actively betrayed Jesus. ... Consider Bush's speech at Ellis Island on the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks. In his remarks, the president described the United States as the 'hope of all mankind' and asserted that this 'hope still lights our way. And the light shines in the darkness. And the darkness will not overcome it.' Marsh bristles at this passage, which alludes to the prologue to the gospel of John but modifies its message in a crucially important respect. Whereas the New Testament describes God as the light that will not be overcome by the darkness that surrounds it, Bush ascribed divine agency to America. For Marsh, this substitution is unforgivable -- nothing less than the idolatrous 'identification of the United States with Christian revelation.'
Hubris? Blasphemy? What say you?


Moderator said...

Well written review, captures some of the complexities of such issues rather than jerking knees.

I will go with the American response to the call to build the Heavenly City here on Earth, rather than canonically condemning Bush for taking a shot a building it.

I suppose if you were some sort of political puritan, you should condemn the blasphemy, much as the Puritans condemned York Minster Cathedral for being beautiful. But I don't.


So-Called Austin Mayor said...


Reminds me of my brother's argument against flag desecration laws -- for something to be desecrated, it first must be sacred and it is not the business of the guvmint to tell him what is and what ain't sacred.

so-called "Austin Mayor"