On Patriotic Idolatry

Christians have a word to describe the worship of that which is not God: idolatry. Idolatry, of course, can be a quite impressive form of devotion. The only difficulty is idolaters usually end up killing someone for calling into question their ‘god.’

Trump’s inauguration address counts as a stunning example of idolatry. His statement — ‘At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America and through our loyalty to our country we will recover loyalty to each other’ — is clearly a theological claim that offers a kind of salvation.

Christians believe that only God demands ‘total allegiance.’ Otherwise we run the risk, as Trump exemplifies, of making an idol out of some human enterprise.

Stanley Hauwerwas, via Alan Jacobs.