On Idolatry and the Greatest Consequence for National Life

Much has been made of Vice President Mike Pence’s comments yesterday to a pastors conference in D.C. The fact that the Vice President publicly endorsed preaching the gospel or that the conference was put on by an organization labeled a hate group┬áhave occupied most of the commentary. But what has been missed is his characterization of gospel ministry in the life of the nation:

“Other than the service of those who wear the uniform of the United States especially our cherished fallen, the ministries that you lead and the prayers that you pray are the greatest consequence in the life of the nation.” Other than the military, you have the most important job for the life of our country. The preaching of the gospel and work of the church is secondary to the military’s operations; those who have died in service to the country even occupy a state of special recognition for the importance of their impact, regardless of whether or not their deaths were actually meaningful or the context of their service virtuous.

Those who have died for the government are venerated with martyr-like language, to the point of elevation over the work of the church, which itself is no stranger to martyrdom. I am glad to dwell in a nation where I have much freedom, but the life of a communist nation full of Christians is superior to the life of a free nation full of pagans. When an agent of the government (Vice President) states that those who serve the government (the military) have a greater consequence for the life of the nation than Christ’s church, and is applauded by pastors and Christians, you know that the American Civil Religion has become an acceptable idolatry.