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  1. Religion and patriotism, at least as they are commonly accepted, are both systems of belief with much (structurally) in common. They both tend to involve belief in something much greater than the individual, something to die for and to be defended against naysayers at all costs. For the religious patriot who is, like all of us, constantly constructing a worldview, it’s easy for religion and love of country to be melted together in such a way that both are distorted. Once one is committed to such a blended religious nationalism, or nationalistic religion, the desire to see Church and State as complementary friends makes rose-tinted religious readings of our national origins very attractive.

    The idea that many of our founding fathers were highly unchristian and/or slave-owners is highly offensive to the idea of a vague national religion where “founding fathers” are almost saints, men whose opinion may be invoked to make our ideological opponents go away. If we grapple with the faults, the deep faults, of our founding fathers, we will have to look carefully at what our patriotism is and what our faith is. And that’s scary.

    If you’re looking for high ratings on a radio show, it’s just easier to tell yourself and your audience what you already want to hear.


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