God, #DNC2012 #RNC2012, and Nationalism


Throughout Obama’s address and the evening as a whole, there was an undercurrent of America-first triumphalism, and a combination of implicit and explicit charges that Republicans don’t share that brand of nationalism.- Alexander Burns, Politico: President Obama DNC Speech: ‘You Are The Change’


“Thinking about how systemic privilege and oppression are reflected in human societies and personal interactions is something that feminism lives and breathes.”- Caryn Risold: On Christian Privilege & Being An Atheist Ally

I just wanted to make a few comments about having God in a political party’s platforms. I do not wish to ask the question why, because, we already know that mentioning g-d/God/Godde is either privileging or trying to make a space for religious persons (usually the former). In many circles, there are Christians who pride themselves on insulting people who are atheist/agnostic, and these postures are horribly arrogant and self-righteous. It has more to do with those people’s/person’s (the self-righteous Christian apologists) individual hang-ups in being challenged and questioned by others, rather than anything atheists/agnostics have done (as a group).

The story that the Democratic Nationalist Convention had dropped the word “god” out of its platform was broken by none other than Tea Party Evangelical David Brody of the 700 Club– Democrats Drop God From Party Platform. Of course, sensationalizing all of this, and being fair and balanced, Brody mentions the fact that the DNc did have a section on faith, so it’s not like the Democrats were excluding religionists all together. No one however has questioned where the RNC has mentioned God, especially the term “God-given.”

Let’s see where God comes into the RNC platform, shall we?

“We condemn decisions by activist judges to deny children the opportunity to say the Pledge of Allegiance in its entirety, including“Under God,” in public schools and encourage States to promote the pledge.” Pray tell, where is this quote from? Oh, it’s right underneath the heading: Respect of Our Flag: Symbol of our Constitution! So, we have gone from freedom to pray in schools, to forcing your political and religious beliefs on everyone else, including those who do not want to pray to another god, the nation-state in the name of patriotism.


“We acknowledge, support, and defend the law-abiding citizen’s God-given right of self-defense. We call for the protection of such fundamental individual rights recognized in the Supreme Court’s decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v.Chicago affirming that right, and we recognize the individual responsibility to safely use and store firearms. This also includes the right to obtain and store ammunition without registration.”

Note to self. Whatever I believe and what I want, I can claim it as a “God-given” right and no one can challenge it, right? Using the idea of “God-given” over and over again makes God out to be some wish-fulfilling genie. Then again, it was God’s will for Trayvon Martin to die, right George Zimmerman?

The rest of God being mentioned in the RNC platform is just like the others mentioned, its the religious sanctioning of conservative politics, because unlike the best Republican president ever, Abraham Lincoln who said, “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right,” the Republicans, and their twins, the Democrats, have laid aside any notion of awe and fear, and instead keep concerning themselves with whether God is on their side. In the end, what happens is that rather than God being the Person who is worshipped, the object of adoration is the nation-state. This is why no one talks about war during Nationalist Conventions. We can name drop God, Ronald Reagan, and FDR, and act like everything is okay.

Meanwhile, secret wars rage as Pakistanis and Yemenis lose loved ones as the Year Of The Drone continues. In sum, I have to continue to wonder that even with a black face, is Christian privilege as war-mongering and violent as ever?

Enhanced by Zemanta

10 thoughts on “God, #DNC2012 #RNC2012, and Nationalism

  1. Jeremy McLellan

    Since I basically agree with you, I’ll play devil’s advocate and “push back” a little on one part. I do think it’s important that an elected leader be “answerable” to something other than not being elected next time, in other words answerable to something other than power. I’m not terribly concerned that my leaders believe in God, but many conservative Christians are concerned that “taking God out of politics” means making their leaders unaccessible to their brand of argumentation about politics.

    I don’t share that concern, but it’s not JUST about hegemony. I mean, it is, but it’s also a fear that if they have an atheist representing them, they have no idea how to hold them accountable or what the “fulcrum” is in persuading them to adopt their positions.

    1. RodtRDH Post author

      Ha well the devil has plenty of advocates, don’t do their work for them!

      but here’s what I would say, that our identities are located in multiple places, and while God in Christ is the primary source of our being for Christians, we can still address atheists on policy matters or common cultural grounds.

      1. Jeremy McLellan

        Abso-f***ing-lutely. It’s likely that your exposure to Calvinist theology has been either the Neo-Calvinist “transformationalism” or the Theonomist “IT’S THE LAW MUFUCKAH,” when the Two Kingdom version (Horton, Van Drunen, DG Hart, blah blah) seems more congenial to your approach.

        NOTE: Curses are attributable to Svedka Vodka after a horrible day, and not anything normative to my tradition, besides Machen’s “NEIN” to being a teetotalers in his day.

    1. Jeremy McLellan

      If this were Reddit, I would upvote you. I’m not sure why American Christians think every reference to God is good. As Robert Jenson said in the Cambridge Companion to Martin Luther:

      “Nothing would be more beneficent for the contemporary church than to acquire some of Luther’s fear of mere deity. The magisterial and mainline churches have forgotten an elemental fact, both of Scripture and of any but the most sheltered religious experience: that deity is not necessarily a beneficent predicate, that gods by and large are if not moot then monstrous.

      More particularly, if there were a God who was otherwise like the one described in Scripture EXCEPT for his incarnation, this God would be sheer death and destruction. No one can see the biblical God and live, except in the face of the Son. That Israel’s and Jesus’ face is the only one the real God actually has, is according to Luther the very fact of salvation.”

      -Robert W. Jenson, “Luther’s Contemporary Theological Significance” in The Cambridge Companion to Martin Luther.

        1. Jeremy McLellan

          Skip Digg, go to Reddit. You can submit your own blog articles (perhaps to r/Christianity or r/RadicalChristianity) but that might be obnoxious if you do it a lot.

  2. Pingback: Political Theology Posts Around the Web (Now With More Snark) « TheoNerd

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *