Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mormonism & America's Civil Religion

In this passage J K.A. Smith highlights a tension between orthodox Christianity and America's Civil Religion:

Some of us Christians have a hard time reconciling the Almighty, all-powerful, law-giving God of liberty with the crucified suffering servant born in a barn and executed at the hands of the elite. Some of us are trying to figure out what it means to be a people who follow one who relinquished his rights rather than asserted them, who considered submission a higher value than freedom. We serve a God-man who wasn’t concerned with “preserving leadership” and the hegemony of the empire’s gospel of freedom, but rather was crushed by its machinations for proclaiming and embodying another gospel.

As I've noted many times before it's precisely because of Mormonism's unorthodox nature (and because of when and where it was founded) that such better "fits" with America's Founding political theology than does orthodox Christianity.


Tom Van Dyke said...

J.K.A. Smith strikes me as one of those anti-conservative [read anti-GOP especially] Calvinists who associate the God of the Trinity only with Jesus, and not with Mighty Jehovah.

Mighty Jehovah, of course, stands for justice, and is undisturbed by the occasional need for violence to enforce it.

And as we know, there were plenty of Calvinists in the Revolution who didn't see things Dr. Smith's way. ;-)

Mormonism is more compatible with "Americanism" only in the light of the existence of "orthodox Christians" like Dr. Smith; neither would I discount that there are LDS voices who oppose the Religious Right and its "Americanism" the same as he does.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

American exceptionalism is affirmed by the belief in supernatural and special priviledge (think Peter Marshall or Mormonism)or civil liberties and civil rights (Martin Luther King, Jr., Margaret Sanger).

The Constitution protects and portrays itself as the latter, while the former is our "civil religion".

Kenneth S.Larkins said...

You are a very clever person!
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