Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Band Concert or Religious Service?

I went to a band concert a few weeks ago. The Massanutten Brass Band played on the lawn at James Madison University. They were awesome. They played some good tunes, and they were good at it. My son and I loved the "Imperial March" from Star Wars, and all of it was top notch. But this post is not intended to be a review of the concert so much as a critique of the culture that the band concert took place in. Of course, they opened with "The Star-Spangled Banner" (that was the opening prayer). Most civic events do. And, of course, some people in attendance sang along and a few even placed their hands over their hearts. Many of the songs were patriotic marches with one or two Christian hymns sprinkled in as a perfunctory nod to the role Christianity plays in our culture - as a support to the greater, overriding ideology of America.

It would appear that America is a highly religious nation, but its dominant religion is not biblical
Christianity. Its dominant religion is America. In the concert, the overwhelming theme was the greatness of America. The hymns were brought almost as a sub-theme.

It's interesting to think about the heated debates about the appropriateness of religion (or maybe faith is the current buzzword) in politics. I'm thinking that that discussion completely misses the elephant in the room that I've been talking about - Americanism. People kill for it, people die for it, they sing its praises, they want it to rescue them from terror or poverty, they give large chunks of their lives to serve it. Liberals and conservatives alike. Christian and anti-Christian alike.

America is its own god. Now where's my John Philip Sousa record?

1 comment:

Delfina said...

Keep up the good work.