Today is a beautiful day in Holland. It is 70 degrees with a cool breeze and all the trees are suddenly in full blossom.
So I decided to walk down and study in the public park. As I got close however, I began to hear patriotic “music” (my least favorite kind of music). They were playing some sort of strange medley which included: God Bless America, the Star Spangled Banner, the Battle-hymn of the Republic, and America the Beautiful. I immediately realized that studying to this tripe would be impossible, but out of morbid curiosity I decided to go see what was going on.
As soon as I arrived at the park, I was assaulted by a man handing out the bulletin for today’s church service. I looked down at the bulletin and read in large print, “AMERICA, UNITE!!!”
Apparently, today is the national day of prayer. And some neighborhood church had bought the public park for the afternoon to hold a massive prayer service.
I continued reading the order of worship and realized that if I stayed a little longer, I would be able to hear the preacher. So, after the pledge of allegiance that I did not say, the preacher – an obese white guy wearing a hideous flag-shirt – got up and said, “God bless America! Lord, we praise you because you have blessed America and it is your nation. America is the light of the world.”
That was enough. I left upset. I am not the most patriotic guy in the first place, but this was ridiculous.
Then I turned the bulletin over and found that on the back was listed what they were praying for in the service (and what they say all Christians must pray for). On the top of the list was, of course, George Bush and his administration. This doesn’t bother me much actually as we are told in the Bible to pray for our leaders. However, the list continues… here’s a highlight:
1) A moral rebirth of America and a conquering of secularism
2) Victory in Iraq
3) Support out efforts to eradicate the terrorists
4) Protecting one-man, one-woman marriage
5) Protection for the unborn
6) Ban on partial birth abortion
That is all. That is all these people were praying for. It basically amounted to a course in fundamentalist right-wing civil religion.
I just wish these people would have picked a day when the weather wasn't so nice to have their demonstration. Next year, I will pray for rain... but don't worry, I won't forget my umbrella. Thanks book cover theology!