America has become the object of its own collective worship, with Trump the Herod of its civic religion. But loyalty to God must always beat loyalty to the stateThe civil religion of the United States of America has long been the United States of America, with a thin veneer of Protestant Christianity to camouflage its nauseating liturgies of self-love. Its object of veneration is the flag. Its saints are war veterans. America is the promised land and to be an American is to be uniquely blessed by God. Little wonder that the former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick, has proved so threatening to the self-image of this bastardised inversion of the Christian faith.Two years ago, and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, Kaepernick refused to stand for that unsingable dirge, the Star Spangled Banner. How could he participate in country worship when that same country was so corrupted by injustice and violence against people of colour? But to a nation that has itself become the object of its own collective worship, disrespecting the American hymn is the worst of all heresies. Thus Donald Trump, the Herod of American civic religion, recently called on football club owners to sack any “son of a bitch” that refused to stand for the national anthem. Within days, Kaepernick had been joined by hundreds of other NFL players who also refused to stand and instead, as the phrase now goes, “took the knee”. Soon after, a photograph of Martin Luther King taking the knee went viral, as if his participation in this newly fashionable practice was a great surprise. No surprise, people – it’s called prayer. And it’s been a form of protest for centuries. Continue reading…



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