The American religion

“I am a proud member of the Church of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is my Lord and savior. He redeemed me fully and completely. He is the only reason that I am able to stand here today. I am a proud member of that faith, but more importantly, I am a proud member of the American religion.”

–Glenn Beck, addressing controversies over Mormonism

via At values summit, Romney keeps focus on Obama – The Washington Post.

Exegete THAT.

What would you say are the tenets of “the American religion”?

Where do we see the American religion as being treated as ‘”more important” than the Christian faith?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://LeitersburgLutheran.org Terry Culler

    The basic tenets of the American folk religion are a. there’s a God who chose America to be a shining light on the hill, b. this God loves everyone, especially those who vote Republican, and all good people will go to heaven, c. it doesn’t make any difference which church you belong to as long as you are sincere, and d. you’re a Christian as long as you’re not Jewish, Muslim or (in some circles at least), not RC (generally these folks have never heard of Eastern Orthodoxy). The American folk religion is as opposed to the true faith as Islam for it lulls people into faith in their own good works rather than the merits of Christ and denies the Gospel as unnecessarily exclusive.

  • http://LeitersburgLutheran.org Terry Culler

    The basic tenets of the American folk religion are a. there’s a God who chose America to be a shining light on the hill, b. this God loves everyone, especially those who vote Republican, and all good people will go to heaven, c. it doesn’t make any difference which church you belong to as long as you are sincere, and d. you’re a Christian as long as you’re not Jewish, Muslim or (in some circles at least), not RC (generally these folks have never heard of Eastern Orthodoxy). The American folk religion is as opposed to the true faith as Islam for it lulls people into faith in their own good works rather than the merits of Christ and denies the Gospel as unnecessarily exclusive.

  • Carl Vehse

    Glenn Beck is a member of a nonChristian religious cult.

  • Carl Vehse

    Glenn Beck is a member of a nonChristian religious cult.

  • http://concordiaandkoinonia.wordpress.com/ Rev. Mark Schroeder

    “What authors the good for post-modernism? And therefore, what is its “god”? The answer is “Choice”. Everything always is to be a matter of choice. If you choose it, that makes it good. If it is given that makes it bad.”– “God’s Law, God’s Gospel and Their Proper Distinction: A Sure Guide Through the Moral Wasteland of Post-Modernism” by Rev. Dr. Louis Smith

    The chief doctrine of American religion in which it all hangs together is Choice and with this god is the self as sovereign lord. This is the religion portrayed in all media.

  • http://concordiaandkoinonia.wordpress.com/ Rev. Mark Schroeder

    “What authors the good for post-modernism? And therefore, what is its “god”? The answer is “Choice”. Everything always is to be a matter of choice. If you choose it, that makes it good. If it is given that makes it bad.”– “God’s Law, God’s Gospel and Their Proper Distinction: A Sure Guide Through the Moral Wasteland of Post-Modernism” by Rev. Dr. Louis Smith

    The chief doctrine of American religion in which it all hangs together is Choice and with this god is the self as sovereign lord. This is the religion portrayed in all media.

  • Pete

    “I am a proud member of the Church of Jesus Christ.”

    There’s a “red flag” for you. Contrast that statement with the “we are all beggars” sentiment expressed by Martin Luther. One wonders whether identifying oneself as a proud member of Christ’s Kingdom might not be just a touch oxymoronic.

  • Pete

    “I am a proud member of the Church of Jesus Christ.”

    There’s a “red flag” for you. Contrast that statement with the “we are all beggars” sentiment expressed by Martin Luther. One wonders whether identifying oneself as a proud member of Christ’s Kingdom might not be just a touch oxymoronic.

  • SM

    “Our government makes no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious faith, and I don’t care what that faith is.” Dwight Eisenhower.

    According to Ike, the only tenets of the American religion are that it be “religious” and that it be deeply felt. Talk about a big tent!

  • SM

    “Our government makes no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious faith, and I don’t care what that faith is.” Dwight Eisenhower.

    According to Ike, the only tenets of the American religion are that it be “religious” and that it be deeply felt. Talk about a big tent!

  • Suzanne

    Spot on Terry. I don’t care what religion my leaders are, but I do care if their governing is based on a belief that God loves the good old USA more than other countries. That is dangerous, in my book.

  • Suzanne

    Spot on Terry. I don’t care what religion my leaders are, but I do care if their governing is based on a belief that God loves the good old USA more than other countries. That is dangerous, in my book.

  • Dave

    Pete – Great comparison.

  • Dave

    Pete – Great comparison.

  • Shane A

    @Pete,

    I didn’t catch that when I read through the statement. “Proud” is a telling word. Thanks.

  • Shane A

    @Pete,

    I didn’t catch that when I read through the statement. “Proud” is a telling word. Thanks.

  • Dennis Peskey

    It is easy to be proud when your religious belief does not include sin. My primary question to Glenn Beck and Mitt Romney would be why did Jesus die for your sin? (Understand the mormon tenet that Jesus was created and became a god – something each and every mormon strives to obtain for themselves – so again, I ask, “Why should Christ die for your sin?”)
    Pax
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    It is easy to be proud when your religious belief does not include sin. My primary question to Glenn Beck and Mitt Romney would be why did Jesus die for your sin? (Understand the mormon tenet that Jesus was created and became a god – something each and every mormon strives to obtain for themselves – so again, I ask, “Why should Christ die for your sin?”)
    Pax
    Dennis

  • Jerry

    Mormons are experienced at using Christian terminology with completely different meanings.

    The one sentence creed of the American religion, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Unfortunately, the history of the LDS church does not show thy understood it.

  • Jerry

    Mormons are experienced at using Christian terminology with completely different meanings.

    The one sentence creed of the American religion, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Unfortunately, the history of the LDS church does not show thy understood it.

  • CRB

    I’ve always thought that the American religion can best be summed up by the Golden Rule.

  • CRB

    I’ve always thought that the American religion can best be summed up by the Golden Rule.

  • CRB

    Where do we see the American religion as being treated as ‘”more important” than the Christian faith?

    Any assortment of “discussion” type programs on Fox News, i.e. The Factor, Hannity, and some of the other cable “news” networks
    that are incredibly tolerant of everyone’s subjective views on religion
    but totally intolerant of objective truth!

  • CRB

    Where do we see the American religion as being treated as ‘”more important” than the Christian faith?

    Any assortment of “discussion” type programs on Fox News, i.e. The Factor, Hannity, and some of the other cable “news” networks
    that are incredibly tolerant of everyone’s subjective views on religion
    but totally intolerant of objective truth!

  • SM

    The American religion has always been seasoned with a good dose of can-do positive thinking. Which calls to mind Adlai Stevenson’s comment that he found Paul appealing but Peale appalling.

  • SM

    The American religion has always been seasoned with a good dose of can-do positive thinking. Which calls to mind Adlai Stevenson’s comment that he found Paul appealing but Peale appalling.

  • Susan

    Glenn Beck is being disingenuous. He is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Why won’t he just up and say so, instead of being dishonest by omission?

    American religion = a generic, Savior-less brand of belief that exists to make people feeel good about being American. Well, at least it isn’t Sharia’ah, and really, isn’t the preaching of the Gospel given to His Church, not to the Government or the culture?

  • Susan

    Glenn Beck is being disingenuous. He is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Why won’t he just up and say so, instead of being dishonest by omission?

    American religion = a generic, Savior-less brand of belief that exists to make people feeel good about being American. Well, at least it isn’t Sharia’ah, and really, isn’t the preaching of the Gospel given to His Church, not to the Government or the culture?

  • http://strangeherring.com Anthony Sacramone

    The chief doctrine of the American religion is that the large fries can never be large enough. Followed by: the new gadget I just bought isn’t new or gadgety enough.

    I too was once a proud follower of the American religion until my cholesterol and checking account went all apostate on me.

  • http://strangeherring.com Anthony Sacramone

    The chief doctrine of the American religion is that the large fries can never be large enough. Followed by: the new gadget I just bought isn’t new or gadgety enough.

    I too was once a proud follower of the American religion until my cholesterol and checking account went all apostate on me.

  • Helen K.

    following..

  • Helen K.

    following..

  • Spaulding

    I like this description of American Christianity from the White Horse Inn. Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism.

  • Spaulding

    I like this description of American Christianity from the White Horse Inn. Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism.

  • Helen K.

    Spauling @ 17.

    I’d say that’s a pretty fair description for many.

  • Helen K.

    Spauling @ 17.

    I’d say that’s a pretty fair description for many.

  • boaz

    Jesus is cool because he likes guns and babies and capitalism, like me. Or Jesus is cool because he was a hippie communist that fought the man, like me. Whichever.

  • boaz

    Jesus is cool because he likes guns and babies and capitalism, like me. Or Jesus is cool because he was a hippie communist that fought the man, like me. Whichever.

  • http://concordiaandkoinonia.wordpress.com/ Rev. Mark Schroeder

    Or Boaz: see “Prayer to Baby Jesus”, “Talladega Nights” : the “Jesus” we want with a large order of fries:

  • http://concordiaandkoinonia.wordpress.com/ Rev. Mark Schroeder

    Or Boaz: see “Prayer to Baby Jesus”, “Talladega Nights” : the “Jesus” we want with a large order of fries:

  • Random Lutheran

    Harold Bloom would say that he was entirely right in saying this, especially re: Mormonism. See his The American Religion.

  • Random Lutheran

    Harold Bloom would say that he was entirely right in saying this, especially re: Mormonism. See his The American Religion.

  • Jonathan

    Is Beck equating Mormonism as “the American Religion”?

    It was started in America.

  • Jonathan

    Is Beck equating Mormonism as “the American Religion”?

    It was started in America.

  • Peter S.

    Mormonism IS the great American religion. This doesn’t reflect well on America.

  • Peter S.

    Mormonism IS the great American religion. This doesn’t reflect well on America.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X