The divinized President

It’s the most natural thing in the world, paganism being the natural religion, to turn one’s king or emperor–or now, one’s president– into a god.  From the American Spectator‘s George Neumayr:

Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign inspired a level of euphoria that almost seemed cultish. Obama was going to “usher in a new way of being on the planet,” gushed San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford. He is a “Lightworker, a rare kind of attuned being.”

After Obama won, the cult moved from pundits to public schools. At a New Jersey elementary school, second-graders were taught to sing the spiritual “Jesus Loves the Little Children” with Obama’s name substituted for Jesus’s. “He said red, yellow, black, or white,” chanted the kids. “All are equal in his sight: Barack Hussein Obama.” Parents couldn’t believe their ears and expressed outrage to the press. “We don’t want to praise this guy like he is a god,” said one.

Another public school showed students a video that urged them “to be a servant to our President.” Arne Duncan’s Department of Education even organized a day on which all public school children had to listen to a speech by Obama and answer such questions as: “What is President Obama inspiring you to do?” and “How will he inspire us?” . . .

No sooner was he reelected than liberals resumed the gushing. Appearing at the Soul Train Awards in Las Vegas recently, actor Jamie Foxx said, “It’s like church in here. First of all, give an honor to God and our lord and savior, Barack Obama.” . . .

The press reported this week that a painting on display at the Bunker Hill Community College Art Gallery in Boston depicts a crucified Obama with a crown of thorns standing before the presidential seal. . . .

When the state replaces God, politicians are the only beings left to worship.

via RealClearReligion – Is the Cult of Obama Back?.

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.

  • SKPeterson

    I’m not so sure that Foxx’s statement wasn’t a subtle joke at the audience and their almost-religious fervor. That some might actually believe it, goes more toward his point and serves to skewer the audience even more.

    The crucified Obama painting is of such stunning quality that I would expect to be able to order a copy on the finest velvet so that I could put it in storage with my Elvis, Polynesian girl, toreador and poker playing dog paintings.

    Seriously, though. Hagiography of a President in this here United States of America? Who’da thunk? It’s so tawdry, unrepublican, anti-democratic, and counter to our American spirit. I can’t think of a single past President who’s ever had gushing and uncritical accolades offered up by their followers or starry-eyed future historians. Can you? It’s not like we’re going to have temples built to them in our capitol or something. Maybe a few roads here and there are okay (like the one that leads to the landfill). It’s almost like we’re afraid that the people are going to start obsessing over the monarchical family of Great Britain again, or following every salacious detail of some third rate actress’s travails, the way you people go on. The cult of celebrity is dead in America ladies and gentlemen. Let it go peacefully and stop trying to resurrect it.

  • SKPeterson

    I’m not so sure that Foxx’s statement wasn’t a subtle joke at the audience and their almost-religious fervor. That some might actually believe it, goes more toward his point and serves to skewer the audience even more.

    The crucified Obama painting is of such stunning quality that I would expect to be able to order a copy on the finest velvet so that I could put it in storage with my Elvis, Polynesian girl, toreador and poker playing dog paintings.

    Seriously, though. Hagiography of a President in this here United States of America? Who’da thunk? It’s so tawdry, unrepublican, anti-democratic, and counter to our American spirit. I can’t think of a single past President who’s ever had gushing and uncritical accolades offered up by their followers or starry-eyed future historians. Can you? It’s not like we’re going to have temples built to them in our capitol or something. Maybe a few roads here and there are okay (like the one that leads to the landfill). It’s almost like we’re afraid that the people are going to start obsessing over the monarchical family of Great Britain again, or following every salacious detail of some third rate actress’s travails, the way you people go on. The cult of celebrity is dead in America ladies and gentlemen. Let it go peacefully and stop trying to resurrect it.

  • SKPeterson

    Oh, and don’t mention sports figures. We do not place our nation’s sportsmen on some sort of mythic pedestal and ascribe to them our hopes and dreams. We simply offer them the proper honors for their efforts commensurate with their abilities. But does anyone seriously wrap themselves in their robes as some sort of cultish devotee? Absolutely not. We recognize athletic ability and then move on; sport builds character and character has no place in hagiography.

  • SKPeterson

    Oh, and don’t mention sports figures. We do not place our nation’s sportsmen on some sort of mythic pedestal and ascribe to them our hopes and dreams. We simply offer them the proper honors for their efforts commensurate with their abilities. But does anyone seriously wrap themselves in their robes as some sort of cultish devotee? Absolutely not. We recognize athletic ability and then move on; sport builds character and character has no place in hagiography.

  • http://www.wordsofthislife.ca Brian Reynolds

    Ha ha – love the humor in the previous comments. On a slightly different angle, as a Canadian Christian I have always been mildly perplexed (along with others up here) on the esteem that your constitution is given. For a document it seems to have an almost idolatrous position being placed on the same level or even above the Word of God. Am I wrong in this or is it just a perception issue of someone from the outside?

  • http://www.wordsofthislife.ca Brian Reynolds

    Ha ha – love the humor in the previous comments. On a slightly different angle, as a Canadian Christian I have always been mildly perplexed (along with others up here) on the esteem that your constitution is given. For a document it seems to have an almost idolatrous position being placed on the same level or even above the Word of God. Am I wrong in this or is it just a perception issue of someone from the outside?

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    too bad there were no truth telling counter statements from our CHRISTian leaders-Guess they were just being nice…’
    Carol-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    too bad there were no truth telling counter statements from our CHRISTian leaders-Guess they were just being nice…’
    Carol-CS

  • Tom Hering

    Which is worse? Non-Christians divinizing Obama, or Christians believing Bush was made President by God, in direct communication with God, and doing the things God wanted done in America? I remember a whole lot of that kind of talk. And Bush wasn’t loathe to play to those Christians.

  • Tom Hering

    Which is worse? Non-Christians divinizing Obama, or Christians believing Bush was made President by God, in direct communication with God, and doing the things God wanted done in America? I remember a whole lot of that kind of talk. And Bush wasn’t loathe to play to those Christians.

  • http://jdueck.net Joel

    +5 to Tom @5. Sure it’s paganism when a couple of public schools praise Pres. Obama, but what is it when Christians praise Pres. Bush on Christian radio and TV and take to calling his opponents enemies of God? Politics itself is the new religion for both sides.

  • http://jdueck.net Joel

    +5 to Tom @5. Sure it’s paganism when a couple of public schools praise Pres. Obama, but what is it when Christians praise Pres. Bush on Christian radio and TV and take to calling his opponents enemies of God? Politics itself is the new religion for both sides.

  • Joe

    Tom and Joel – this is not a right/left thing. The problem is not that it happened re: Obama, or Bush or anyone else. The problem, as it is clearly stated in this sentence, “When the state replaces God, politicians are the only beings left to worship,” is the declining Church juxtaposed against the increasing government.

  • Joe

    Tom and Joel – this is not a right/left thing. The problem is not that it happened re: Obama, or Bush or anyone else. The problem, as it is clearly stated in this sentence, “When the state replaces God, politicians are the only beings left to worship,” is the declining Church juxtaposed against the increasing government.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Fair enough, Joel & Tom. But the tendency towards believing in divinized rulers is a historic feature of pagan societies–the pull towards that is going to be very strong as we continue to forget the true God– and we Christians need to be very vigilant about it. Think what would have happened if Romney had been elected, who, as a Mormon, believes he really is a god.

    There is a sense, according to Romans 13, in which God does work through lawful secular authorities as His instruments to restrain evil. So the early church was enjoined to honor the emperor and pray for him. But when it came to worshipping him, burning incense before his image, Christians would rather be crucified or die in the arena. Where that line is today may not be so clear.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Fair enough, Joel & Tom. But the tendency towards believing in divinized rulers is a historic feature of pagan societies–the pull towards that is going to be very strong as we continue to forget the true God– and we Christians need to be very vigilant about it. Think what would have happened if Romney had been elected, who, as a Mormon, believes he really is a god.

    There is a sense, according to Romans 13, in which God does work through lawful secular authorities as His instruments to restrain evil. So the early church was enjoined to honor the emperor and pray for him. But when it came to worshipping him, burning incense before his image, Christians would rather be crucified or die in the arena. Where that line is today may not be so clear.

  • Kirk

    Civic religion is nothing new and certainly not particular to liberals (although praise songs to a president might be a new low). Religion and politics are uncomfortably intertwined in the US and it’s a problem that Christians, whether liberal or conservative, should take issue with. The Gospel is not an American political message. If you preach that Jesus came to promote individual liberty through small government or to create a public social safety net, you’re missing the point. The same goes for using the name of Christ to enforcing laws of morality, promote or deride capitalism, or support whatever the issue of the day is. The fact is, in America, political positions are almost always, at some point, couched in religious terms. I hate that about America.

  • Kirk

    Civic religion is nothing new and certainly not particular to liberals (although praise songs to a president might be a new low). Religion and politics are uncomfortably intertwined in the US and it’s a problem that Christians, whether liberal or conservative, should take issue with. The Gospel is not an American political message. If you preach that Jesus came to promote individual liberty through small government or to create a public social safety net, you’re missing the point. The same goes for using the name of Christ to enforcing laws of morality, promote or deride capitalism, or support whatever the issue of the day is. The fact is, in America, political positions are almost always, at some point, couched in religious terms. I hate that about America.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Yeah.

    But what about BUSH!

    And…Christians are idiots, too.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Yeah.

    But what about BUSH!

    And…Christians are idiots, too.

  • http://homewardbound-cb.blogspot.com ChrisB

    @Brian, no one thinks the Constitution is on par with scripture, but conservatives insist that, since it is the law, it must be followed or changed by the legal process. We can’t support the left’s idea of just ignoring it or re-interpreting it so it can mean whatever they want.

  • http://homewardbound-cb.blogspot.com ChrisB

    @Brian, no one thinks the Constitution is on par with scripture, but conservatives insist that, since it is the law, it must be followed or changed by the legal process. We can’t support the left’s idea of just ignoring it or re-interpreting it so it can mean whatever they want.

  • Tom Hering

    Joe @ 7, of course it’s not a left/right thing. But it is for George Neumayr, whose article is an exercise in liberal-bashing. So I thought it would be good to point out how it’s not exclusively a left thing.

    Dr. Veith @ 8, one wonders what Romney must be dealing with psychologically. It’s hard enough for mere mortals to lose presidential elections.

    Let’s not forget that the divinization of our Presidents began with our first one:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Apotheosis_of_Washington

  • Tom Hering

    Joe @ 7, of course it’s not a left/right thing. But it is for George Neumayr, whose article is an exercise in liberal-bashing. So I thought it would be good to point out how it’s not exclusively a left thing.

    Dr. Veith @ 8, one wonders what Romney must be dealing with psychologically. It’s hard enough for mere mortals to lose presidential elections.

    Let’s not forget that the divinization of our Presidents began with our first one:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Apotheosis_of_Washington

  • SKPeterson

    We have long had an overemphasis on the importance and power of the Presidency and associated trappings of civil religion in the United States. This has held true since at least FDR for both Democrat and Republican presidents when we moved into the age of mass media. Prior to that we only had a few presidents so glorified: Washington, Jefferson and St. Abraham. If we want to include TR, we could complete the Rushmore quadrumvirate. The galling thing about this article, is not so much its pointing out the beatification of Obama, but that it studiously ignores the concomitant responses of anti-Obama partisans towards their own political idols. This article comes off as nothing more than whining that the idol worship of Obama is misplaced and should be more properly directed toward the “correct” civil idol of superficial religiosity and crosses more draped in the red, white, and blue instead of Christ. It’s like temple prostitutes calling hookers a bunch of whores.

  • SKPeterson

    We have long had an overemphasis on the importance and power of the Presidency and associated trappings of civil religion in the United States. This has held true since at least FDR for both Democrat and Republican presidents when we moved into the age of mass media. Prior to that we only had a few presidents so glorified: Washington, Jefferson and St. Abraham. If we want to include TR, we could complete the Rushmore quadrumvirate. The galling thing about this article, is not so much its pointing out the beatification of Obama, but that it studiously ignores the concomitant responses of anti-Obama partisans towards their own political idols. This article comes off as nothing more than whining that the idol worship of Obama is misplaced and should be more properly directed toward the “correct” civil idol of superficial religiosity and crosses more draped in the red, white, and blue instead of Christ. It’s like temple prostitutes calling hookers a bunch of whores.

  • Steve Bauer

    I have to agree with Kirk about the mashup of Christianity and politics in America. It is not just pagan socities that have a tendency to do this. Presidents such as Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy (or whoever) have been divinized by some group or other even when the country was “more Christian”. Manifest Destiny seems to me to be another type of idolatry. The monarchies of “Christian” Europe did a pretty good job of thinking of themselves in divine terms. Not to mention the Papacy itself.

  • Steve Bauer

    I have to agree with Kirk about the mashup of Christianity and politics in America. It is not just pagan socities that have a tendency to do this. Presidents such as Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy (or whoever) have been divinized by some group or other even when the country was “more Christian”. Manifest Destiny seems to me to be another type of idolatry. The monarchies of “Christian” Europe did a pretty good job of thinking of themselves in divine terms. Not to mention the Papacy itself.

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    Some of the commenters here seem to be having trouble distinguishing between treating a politician as being “on God’s side” and treating one as a god/putting him in God’s place.

    I can’t think of a single example of a Republican politician in my lifetime — not even Reagan — being equated with Christ or being “divinized” as the quoted article shows happening with Obama. So any cry of “Well, the other side does it, too!” is not exactly accurate.

    The Christians who supported Bush tended to be of the mindset: “He’s a man who’s on God’s side, so we’ll be on his side.” The aberrations this article pointed out reflect a mindset more like: “He’s so much more than a mere man; we can’t help but be on his side.”

    And no, this doesn’t have to be a left-right, Republican-Democrat issue. But the current reality of American politics is that those who respect the unique identity and salvific role of Christ — and thus would never consider equating a mere man with him or his role — tend to vote Republican and be on the political right. And those don’t have that view of Christ tend to be Democrats and be on the left.

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    Some of the commenters here seem to be having trouble distinguishing between treating a politician as being “on God’s side” and treating one as a god/putting him in God’s place.

    I can’t think of a single example of a Republican politician in my lifetime — not even Reagan — being equated with Christ or being “divinized” as the quoted article shows happening with Obama. So any cry of “Well, the other side does it, too!” is not exactly accurate.

    The Christians who supported Bush tended to be of the mindset: “He’s a man who’s on God’s side, so we’ll be on his side.” The aberrations this article pointed out reflect a mindset more like: “He’s so much more than a mere man; we can’t help but be on his side.”

    And no, this doesn’t have to be a left-right, Republican-Democrat issue. But the current reality of American politics is that those who respect the unique identity and salvific role of Christ — and thus would never consider equating a mere man with him or his role — tend to vote Republican and be on the political right. And those don’t have that view of Christ tend to be Democrats and be on the left.

  • Jon H.

    Jeff, you’re right; last night my study group was marveling at how believing in the divinity of Christ leads inexorably to clamoring for low capital gain taxes, the elimination of food stamps, and gun rights at all costs. We even thought we found a few verses for that. But my Mormon friend just laughed.

  • Jon H.

    Jeff, you’re right; last night my study group was marveling at how believing in the divinity of Christ leads inexorably to clamoring for low capital gain taxes, the elimination of food stamps, and gun rights at all costs. We even thought we found a few verses for that. But my Mormon friend just laughed.

  • Larry

    Dr. Veith,

    I think you are spot on on this issue. I don’t disagree that both political sides, right and left, idolize “their guy”. One might even argue one side’s “guy” paved the way for the other side’s “guy”. Same with sports idols. For that matter we are all idol factories in all sorts and manner of things and not just the obvious. But the shift to suddenly blatantly insert any president, leader, governors name, right or left, into that which is a song of praise for Christ is a significant public step forward into public idolatry and crass blasphemy. It’s similar to the fact we ALL know we ALL commit adultery and murder in our hearts and most of us never find our hands “carrying through with this”, but to carry it through with mouth and hand is much worse. Same thing here.

    On the “humorous” ones. There’s always, ALWAYS, truth behind humor. Humor is ALWAYS the trojan horse to get ideas and concepts into the game.

    It is also notable that they are doing this with children. Doing that with children, regardless of one’s political bending is in and of itself diabolical (whether of the left or the right). It’s a form of abuse of trust to those too young to do anything but trust the elders. The insertion of damnable heresy and false teachings (crass or subtle) has nearly always came through the children first. Arius realized this and wrote songs regarding his antichristic teachings. We saw this in Nazis Germany too with the youth singing praise to Hitler.

    It is NEVER insignificant to give or deceptively cause to happen false praise publically to any man as if or like a god. These things are never neutral in terms of eternity. Man may, for now, snicker at their “harmless” prankism or irksomeness. Or get a kick out of “pissing” Christians off. But Christians are not their judges. We do not fear God nearly enough and as such the Gospel fades away, otherwise people would flee to it in shear terror. For the hidden God is a bitter eternal enemy of the fallen man. As Luther said God indeed out of mercy and grace delays judgment, but judge He will most assuredly do. Men need not fear the ire of Christians, but they should be terrorized of God. It is notable that Paul points out that the very wrath of God must be revealed to men, i.e. they don’t know it naturally (we see this in increase in this day and age). The fear of God which is in His alien work, which is the beginning of wisdom, is on low ebb today and consequently is the love and desire for the Gospel and sacrament which are fled to in response to the fear and terror of God. Today’s philosophy, and such things as this posted show it is, “the casualness of God” not the fear of God. It rings of when they say “peace and unity” (the heart beat of ecumenicism in ALL forms inside and outside that labeled Christian) then sudden destruction will fall upon them.

    I would agree and concur that the moves of GW Bush paved the way for this with his “people’s of faith” talk and such. BO is the natural logical progression in all this. Ironically, the right and the left are working, perhaps unknown on the surface, in synergism toward this blaspheme. In the last election, just as much denial of the Christian faith occurred on the right as it does on the left. The right just does it subtly while the left tends to be “in your face” more. That’s the only difference in the two, the methodology toward the same end.

  • Larry

    Dr. Veith,

    I think you are spot on on this issue. I don’t disagree that both political sides, right and left, idolize “their guy”. One might even argue one side’s “guy” paved the way for the other side’s “guy”. Same with sports idols. For that matter we are all idol factories in all sorts and manner of things and not just the obvious. But the shift to suddenly blatantly insert any president, leader, governors name, right or left, into that which is a song of praise for Christ is a significant public step forward into public idolatry and crass blasphemy. It’s similar to the fact we ALL know we ALL commit adultery and murder in our hearts and most of us never find our hands “carrying through with this”, but to carry it through with mouth and hand is much worse. Same thing here.

    On the “humorous” ones. There’s always, ALWAYS, truth behind humor. Humor is ALWAYS the trojan horse to get ideas and concepts into the game.

    It is also notable that they are doing this with children. Doing that with children, regardless of one’s political bending is in and of itself diabolical (whether of the left or the right). It’s a form of abuse of trust to those too young to do anything but trust the elders. The insertion of damnable heresy and false teachings (crass or subtle) has nearly always came through the children first. Arius realized this and wrote songs regarding his antichristic teachings. We saw this in Nazis Germany too with the youth singing praise to Hitler.

    It is NEVER insignificant to give or deceptively cause to happen false praise publically to any man as if or like a god. These things are never neutral in terms of eternity. Man may, for now, snicker at their “harmless” prankism or irksomeness. Or get a kick out of “pissing” Christians off. But Christians are not their judges. We do not fear God nearly enough and as such the Gospel fades away, otherwise people would flee to it in shear terror. For the hidden God is a bitter eternal enemy of the fallen man. As Luther said God indeed out of mercy and grace delays judgment, but judge He will most assuredly do. Men need not fear the ire of Christians, but they should be terrorized of God. It is notable that Paul points out that the very wrath of God must be revealed to men, i.e. they don’t know it naturally (we see this in increase in this day and age). The fear of God which is in His alien work, which is the beginning of wisdom, is on low ebb today and consequently is the love and desire for the Gospel and sacrament which are fled to in response to the fear and terror of God. Today’s philosophy, and such things as this posted show it is, “the casualness of God” not the fear of God. It rings of when they say “peace and unity” (the heart beat of ecumenicism in ALL forms inside and outside that labeled Christian) then sudden destruction will fall upon them.

    I would agree and concur that the moves of GW Bush paved the way for this with his “people’s of faith” talk and such. BO is the natural logical progression in all this. Ironically, the right and the left are working, perhaps unknown on the surface, in synergism toward this blaspheme. In the last election, just as much denial of the Christian faith occurred on the right as it does on the left. The right just does it subtly while the left tends to be “in your face” more. That’s the only difference in the two, the methodology toward the same end.

  • SKPeterson

    Jeff – It may be that almost everyone who holds to the unique identity and salvific role of Christ are tending to the Republican side of things as you assert. What I’m not sure of is how much of that demographic corresponds to the typical Republican voter. If most of them are of the “typical” evangelical/pentecostal stripe found throughout America, then they don’t have a very good grasp of the unique identity and salvific role of Christ, and often conflate Christianity with patent nationalism. What we have in America is an unthinking Christianity of the left and of the right that finds their best expressions in public forms of civil religion, whether that be by the quasi-beatification of one idol as the personification of God’s will, or by declaring another to be chosen and actively working that very same will of God.

  • SKPeterson

    Jeff – It may be that almost everyone who holds to the unique identity and salvific role of Christ are tending to the Republican side of things as you assert. What I’m not sure of is how much of that demographic corresponds to the typical Republican voter. If most of them are of the “typical” evangelical/pentecostal stripe found throughout America, then they don’t have a very good grasp of the unique identity and salvific role of Christ, and often conflate Christianity with patent nationalism. What we have in America is an unthinking Christianity of the left and of the right that finds their best expressions in public forms of civil religion, whether that be by the quasi-beatification of one idol as the personification of God’s will, or by declaring another to be chosen and actively working that very same will of God.

  • Jon H.

    Jeff’s observation that ties belief in the Nicene Creed to belief in the GOP platform must be limited to white folks. The overwhelming majority of African Americans and Latinos who voted in 2012 are, I presume, as good Christians as whites and they had no qualms voting for the Democrat.

  • Jon H.

    Jeff’s observation that ties belief in the Nicene Creed to belief in the GOP platform must be limited to white folks. The overwhelming majority of African Americans and Latinos who voted in 2012 are, I presume, as good Christians as whites and they had no qualms voting for the Democrat.

  • Tom Hering

    The aberrations this article pointed out … (@ 15)

    Let’s take a look at those.

    Jamie Foxx makes a black in-joke about the audience at the Soul Train Awards, and it goes over the heads of white conservatives, who manage to jump all over it anyways.

    Nowhere in the two public school examples from 2008 does anyone actually say Obama is a god, much less a substitute for Jesus Christ. Instead, an old spiritual is changed to a civil rights song (imagine mixing civil rights and old spirituals!), and children are asked how the President (gasp!) inspires them.

    An artist, Michael D’Antuono, paints a picture that utilizes religious imagery to make a social/political point. Which is something I guess conservatives think has never been done before in the arts. (Heck, I saw it done in The Omega Man the other night, where a dying Charlton Heston assumes the position of the crucified Christ as his blood is given to produce a serum that will save mankind.) By the way, watch how well Glenn Beck and the artist get along:

    http://artandresponse.com/

    Other than the above, George Neumayr doesn’t have much in the way of things-that-have-actually-happened to back up his case.

  • Tom Hering

    The aberrations this article pointed out … (@ 15)

    Let’s take a look at those.

    Jamie Foxx makes a black in-joke about the audience at the Soul Train Awards, and it goes over the heads of white conservatives, who manage to jump all over it anyways.

    Nowhere in the two public school examples from 2008 does anyone actually say Obama is a god, much less a substitute for Jesus Christ. Instead, an old spiritual is changed to a civil rights song (imagine mixing civil rights and old spirituals!), and children are asked how the President (gasp!) inspires them.

    An artist, Michael D’Antuono, paints a picture that utilizes religious imagery to make a social/political point. Which is something I guess conservatives think has never been done before in the arts. (Heck, I saw it done in The Omega Man the other night, where a dying Charlton Heston assumes the position of the crucified Christ as his blood is given to produce a serum that will save mankind.) By the way, watch how well Glenn Beck and the artist get along:

    http://artandresponse.com/

    Other than the above, George Neumayr doesn’t have much in the way of things-that-have-actually-happened to back up his case.

  • Larry

    Tom,

    You cannot be that stupid. Teaching children to call upon a man in all hope and times of need, right or left, that’s idolatry by definition. You don’t have to use the “G” word to mean God as Luther well points out. A god, true or false or eschew of the real God you call upon in shear idolatry, is that which you call upon in all trial and tribulation, and hope in. You can use the “G” word or another word, you can even call upon “fate” as god without using the “G” word or the universe as atheist love to often do.

    To take the well known him attributed to Jesus love of children and replace it with BO or anybody is doing exactly that very thing and no greasy, ignorant, bending of words can change what is so blantantly obvious. After all the Reformed do is say “real presence” they don’t say “he’s not present”, then why do we not commune with such? Same thing, same sneaky concept. It’s the same as from original sin forward and the temptation of Christ, the devil actually quotes the scriptures, why not did Christ then adhere? The demonic doctrine behind it. I can hand you a cyanide tablet and say, “here’s a chocolate enjoy”. I didn’t say, “Here’s a cyanide tablet”, but according to Tom’s obvious and quite childish sophistry one could take it without harm.

    It goes back to the truth and reality that a doctrine, its concept, may be exuded and proclaimed using all kinds of words and hide like trojan horse behind words. We saw this of course with Rome’s “justification” and sects “real presence”. A “rose” is still a rose by any other name.

    One does not have to say X is God or X is a substitute for Jesus to actually convey a fallen theological doctrine that is precisely doing that.

    This I would say in neutrality toward left or right. At some point the Christian says, “To hell with conservatives or liberals either one”.

  • Larry

    Tom,

    You cannot be that stupid. Teaching children to call upon a man in all hope and times of need, right or left, that’s idolatry by definition. You don’t have to use the “G” word to mean God as Luther well points out. A god, true or false or eschew of the real God you call upon in shear idolatry, is that which you call upon in all trial and tribulation, and hope in. You can use the “G” word or another word, you can even call upon “fate” as god without using the “G” word or the universe as atheist love to often do.

    To take the well known him attributed to Jesus love of children and replace it with BO or anybody is doing exactly that very thing and no greasy, ignorant, bending of words can change what is so blantantly obvious. After all the Reformed do is say “real presence” they don’t say “he’s not present”, then why do we not commune with such? Same thing, same sneaky concept. It’s the same as from original sin forward and the temptation of Christ, the devil actually quotes the scriptures, why not did Christ then adhere? The demonic doctrine behind it. I can hand you a cyanide tablet and say, “here’s a chocolate enjoy”. I didn’t say, “Here’s a cyanide tablet”, but according to Tom’s obvious and quite childish sophistry one could take it without harm.

    It goes back to the truth and reality that a doctrine, its concept, may be exuded and proclaimed using all kinds of words and hide like trojan horse behind words. We saw this of course with Rome’s “justification” and sects “real presence”. A “rose” is still a rose by any other name.

    One does not have to say X is God or X is a substitute for Jesus to actually convey a fallen theological doctrine that is precisely doing that.

    This I would say in neutrality toward left or right. At some point the Christian says, “To hell with conservatives or liberals either one”.

  • Larry

    It will all get hashed out eventually.

    Another way to look at this is if you don’t think it is false and blasphemous, no one is twisting your arm to “not sing it” or “not laugh at the “joke””, then by all means sing and laugh away.

    If you do, on the other hand, then say you fear God, then don’t sing or laugh.

    One way or the other every single person will confess one or the other. I, personally, choose the later. If you wish the former, then by all means.

  • Larry

    It will all get hashed out eventually.

    Another way to look at this is if you don’t think it is false and blasphemous, no one is twisting your arm to “not sing it” or “not laugh at the “joke””, then by all means sing and laugh away.

    If you do, on the other hand, then say you fear God, then don’t sing or laugh.

    One way or the other every single person will confess one or the other. I, personally, choose the later. If you wish the former, then by all means.

  • Tom Hering

    Larry, I can be more stupid than you could ever know. But as to your argument, I think your old idol-smashing piety is showing through all your anti-pietism.

  • Tom Hering

    Larry, I can be more stupid than you could ever know. But as to your argument, I think your old idol-smashing piety is showing through all your anti-pietism.

  • http://www.caryschwarz.com saddler

    I once new the archivist at a major museum in Canada. He said that an original signature of one of the signers of the Constitution of the U.S. would be worth perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. North of the border, he said that a signature of one of the founders of Canada’s signature was worth a cup of coffee. We have tended to idolize our cultural leaders. The highest paid employee of the state of Idaho is the football coach of the Boise State Broncos. We could go on and on…but I think that the current administration seems to have more folks who ‘believe’ in him than anyone since Reagan.

  • http://www.caryschwarz.com saddler

    I once new the archivist at a major museum in Canada. He said that an original signature of one of the signers of the Constitution of the U.S. would be worth perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. North of the border, he said that a signature of one of the founders of Canada’s signature was worth a cup of coffee. We have tended to idolize our cultural leaders. The highest paid employee of the state of Idaho is the football coach of the Boise State Broncos. We could go on and on…but I think that the current administration seems to have more folks who ‘believe’ in him than anyone since Reagan.

  • reg

    The next to the last chapter of Ross Douthat’s book Bad Religion has a very good analysis of the heresy of mixing religion and politics along with a messianic or apocalyptic world view on the left and the right. I recommend it. As I recall D G Hart’s A Secular Faith also has an interesting analysis of our “civic religion.”

    The bottom line is politics is not the Gospel and Larry, believe it or not, we can be faithful believing Democrats as well as Republicans.

  • reg

    The next to the last chapter of Ross Douthat’s book Bad Religion has a very good analysis of the heresy of mixing religion and politics along with a messianic or apocalyptic world view on the left and the right. I recommend it. As I recall D G Hart’s A Secular Faith also has an interesting analysis of our “civic religion.”

    The bottom line is politics is not the Gospel and Larry, believe it or not, we can be faithful believing Democrats as well as Republicans.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Mark Henderson

    It is odd that in Britain and those Commonwealth countries like Australia and Canada where the Queen is the head of state, no contemporary subject thinks of her in divine terms even though her Coronation took place in a cathedral, was performed by the most senior cleric in the C of E and included an anointing with oil and the paying of homage. There are quite recognisable levels of spiritual separation between God, the monarch and her subjects. And yet Americans have a tendency to divinize Obama (and previous Presidents; and btw the Germans have just about divinized Kennedy and Obama too). I suggest the phenomena might express at least three things:
    1. The desire of men for a saviour.
    2. When kings are dispatched in revolutions and a secular political order is inaugurated in the place of monarchy with sovereignty resting solely in the people, the people will try to invest their elected leaders with divinity (constitutional monarchies seem to retain enough of the old order of things to head off (no pun intended!) this inclination). This would probably also explain “civil religion”.
    3. The human heart, as Calvin famously wrote, is an idol-maker.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Mark Henderson

    It is odd that in Britain and those Commonwealth countries like Australia and Canada where the Queen is the head of state, no contemporary subject thinks of her in divine terms even though her Coronation took place in a cathedral, was performed by the most senior cleric in the C of E and included an anointing with oil and the paying of homage. There are quite recognisable levels of spiritual separation between God, the monarch and her subjects. And yet Americans have a tendency to divinize Obama (and previous Presidents; and btw the Germans have just about divinized Kennedy and Obama too). I suggest the phenomena might express at least three things:
    1. The desire of men for a saviour.
    2. When kings are dispatched in revolutions and a secular political order is inaugurated in the place of monarchy with sovereignty resting solely in the people, the people will try to invest their elected leaders with divinity (constitutional monarchies seem to retain enough of the old order of things to head off (no pun intended!) this inclination). This would probably also explain “civil religion”.
    3. The human heart, as Calvin famously wrote, is an idol-maker.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Tom @ 5,
    As ridiculous as some of the exaltation of Bush was at times, I don’t ever recall anybody deifying him like they’ve done with Obama. You cannot ignore that part of it.

    Bush being lauded excessively: bad
    Obama as god: far far FAR worse, on many levels.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Tom @ 5,
    As ridiculous as some of the exaltation of Bush was at times, I don’t ever recall anybody deifying him like they’ve done with Obama. You cannot ignore that part of it.

    Bush being lauded excessively: bad
    Obama as god: far far FAR worse, on many levels.

  • Tom Hering

    Give me an example of someone actually, seriously claiming that Obama is literally God, or a god, which is what deifying means. I’ve already shown how Neumayr’s examples are full of crap. What else have you got?

  • Tom Hering

    Give me an example of someone actually, seriously claiming that Obama is literally God, or a god, which is what deifying means. I’ve already shown how Neumayr’s examples are full of crap. What else have you got?

  • Booklover

    Agree with J. Dean @27.

    I have family members who refuse to come to my house because a cousin, at an extended family meal here, said something derogatory about Obama. Yet they themselves had, previously, said many worse things about Bush.

    Yes, the polishing of Bush as God’s own rock by conservatives was weird, but the deifying of Obama leaves stomach upset.

  • Booklover

    Agree with J. Dean @27.

    I have family members who refuse to come to my house because a cousin, at an extended family meal here, said something derogatory about Obama. Yet they themselves had, previously, said many worse things about Bush.

    Yes, the polishing of Bush as God’s own rock by conservatives was weird, but the deifying of Obama leaves stomach upset.

  • Larry

    Yep Tom, and you showed your self once again with your ever brilliant straw man/ad hominem reply which pretty much become your staple answers. The equivalent of “You are wrong because your hair is red”.

    You clearly do not grasp what deifying means nor what the term idol means if all you think it means is to strictly say the words “you are a god”. Nor do you clearly grasp the concept that a doctrine or concept itself can be and often is expressed (especially when clandestinely hiding it) with or without certain words such as “you are a god” and that worship as if a god is given even when the words “you/that is a god” are not spoken. In short your concept of “deifying” is equivalent to a man hold a red rose under your nose claiming in words and syllables to you, “this is not a rose” and your whole hearted and “intellectual” concurrence is, “Yep, the guy is correct it is not rose because he did not say, ‘this is a rose’.” And everybody sees this.

    This is fundamentally why many don’t see idols in their lives or their worship of “gods”, or their own idolatry, including OUR own because if its not a stock or stone craft that I pray to it must not be an idol or if I don’t say, “behold this person is god”. The fallen heart works MUCH different and hidden in order to violate the first commandment.

    Luther helps peel this apart for us in his large catechism on the very commandment, the first, that expresses God versus idolatry:

    “Thou shalt have [and worship] Me alone as thy God. What is the force of this, and how is it to be understood? What does it mean to have a god? or, what is God? Answer: A god means that from which we are to expect all good and to which we are to take refuge in all distress, so that to have a God is nothing else than to trust and believe Him from the [whole] heart; as I have often said that the confidence and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol. If your faith and trust be right, then is your god also true; and, on the other hand, if your trust be false and wrong, then you have not the true God; for these two belong together faith and God. That now, I say, upon which you set your heart and put your trust is properly your god.”

    This is to deify one or a thing. One need not say the words, “this man/president is god” but it is on what the heart is set as above expressed. Here we see that both the right and the left have increasingly deified the president and presidential candidates, one has just been more overt about it than the other. Which is worse? The more clandestine “right” or the open “left”? Well, the former will certainly trick and deceive more just as does false doctrine, while the later tends to bring the sword for converts. I let you decide which is worse, the bottom line is both are evil and deadly and godless idol factories.

    Now you are either innocently ignorant of this (I would one last time hope this is the case), in which case you simply need to pause and learn, or you are willfully ignorant of this out of a partisanship. In the case of the later, if true, then you are guilty of that which you accuse your opposition.

  • Larry

    Yep Tom, and you showed your self once again with your ever brilliant straw man/ad hominem reply which pretty much become your staple answers. The equivalent of “You are wrong because your hair is red”.

    You clearly do not grasp what deifying means nor what the term idol means if all you think it means is to strictly say the words “you are a god”. Nor do you clearly grasp the concept that a doctrine or concept itself can be and often is expressed (especially when clandestinely hiding it) with or without certain words such as “you are a god” and that worship as if a god is given even when the words “you/that is a god” are not spoken. In short your concept of “deifying” is equivalent to a man hold a red rose under your nose claiming in words and syllables to you, “this is not a rose” and your whole hearted and “intellectual” concurrence is, “Yep, the guy is correct it is not rose because he did not say, ‘this is a rose’.” And everybody sees this.

    This is fundamentally why many don’t see idols in their lives or their worship of “gods”, or their own idolatry, including OUR own because if its not a stock or stone craft that I pray to it must not be an idol or if I don’t say, “behold this person is god”. The fallen heart works MUCH different and hidden in order to violate the first commandment.

    Luther helps peel this apart for us in his large catechism on the very commandment, the first, that expresses God versus idolatry:

    “Thou shalt have [and worship] Me alone as thy God. What is the force of this, and how is it to be understood? What does it mean to have a god? or, what is God? Answer: A god means that from which we are to expect all good and to which we are to take refuge in all distress, so that to have a God is nothing else than to trust and believe Him from the [whole] heart; as I have often said that the confidence and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol. If your faith and trust be right, then is your god also true; and, on the other hand, if your trust be false and wrong, then you have not the true God; for these two belong together faith and God. That now, I say, upon which you set your heart and put your trust is properly your god.”

    This is to deify one or a thing. One need not say the words, “this man/president is god” but it is on what the heart is set as above expressed. Here we see that both the right and the left have increasingly deified the president and presidential candidates, one has just been more overt about it than the other. Which is worse? The more clandestine “right” or the open “left”? Well, the former will certainly trick and deceive more just as does false doctrine, while the later tends to bring the sword for converts. I let you decide which is worse, the bottom line is both are evil and deadly and godless idol factories.

    Now you are either innocently ignorant of this (I would one last time hope this is the case), in which case you simply need to pause and learn, or you are willfully ignorant of this out of a partisanship. In the case of the later, if true, then you are guilty of that which you accuse your opposition.

  • SKPeterson

    larry – if you do have red hair, your arguments have no validity. Since Tom has cats his arguments are easily countered.

    I think Tom agrees with you, he’s not denying the idolizing of Obama as much as he is arguing that it is of the same ilk as that that went on for Bush. He’s noting that Neumayr probably has no issues with idolizing Bush while he overstates his case against Obama. I would tend to agree here; the only extreme element for Obama is the faux crucifixion pose painting, but sans the pictorial, the rhetorical excess of both sides is largely equivalent. Some of the disagreement is over the use of deification and idolization and to what extent they are indicative of the same process or have unique qualities that differentiate their use. I admittedly conflate the two, but prefer idolization over deification as the implications of deification are stronger to my way of thinking. I prefer to use beatification in place of deification as it seems a more accurate depiction of the curious mix of politics and religion in American civil life.

  • SKPeterson

    larry – if you do have red hair, your arguments have no validity. Since Tom has cats his arguments are easily countered.

    I think Tom agrees with you, he’s not denying the idolizing of Obama as much as he is arguing that it is of the same ilk as that that went on for Bush. He’s noting that Neumayr probably has no issues with idolizing Bush while he overstates his case against Obama. I would tend to agree here; the only extreme element for Obama is the faux crucifixion pose painting, but sans the pictorial, the rhetorical excess of both sides is largely equivalent. Some of the disagreement is over the use of deification and idolization and to what extent they are indicative of the same process or have unique qualities that differentiate their use. I admittedly conflate the two, but prefer idolization over deification as the implications of deification are stronger to my way of thinking. I prefer to use beatification in place of deification as it seems a more accurate depiction of the curious mix of politics and religion in American civil life.

  • Tom Hering

    Okay, so you’re talking about something in the heart. That’s not what Neumayr’s article was talking about, but never mind. All I want to know is: how do you, larry, know what’s in the hearts of people who admire the President, or have a different view of government than you do? Because you sure talk like you know.

  • Tom Hering

    Okay, so you’re talking about something in the heart. That’s not what Neumayr’s article was talking about, but never mind. All I want to know is: how do you, larry, know what’s in the hearts of people who admire the President, or have a different view of government than you do? Because you sure talk like you know.

  • rlewer

    Don’t recall any of the government schools having the children singing the praises of Bush.

  • rlewer

    Don’t recall any of the government schools having the children singing the praises of Bush.

  • Tom Hering

    Was it “the government schools” having children sing songs about Obama, or a teacher here and there? My God, how some of you (following in Neumayr’s footsteps) like to make mountains out of molehills!

  • Tom Hering

    Was it “the government schools” having children sing songs about Obama, or a teacher here and there? My God, how some of you (following in Neumayr’s footsteps) like to make mountains out of molehills!

  • kerner

    I think what the author is talking about is not the actual worship of Obama as a literal god, a la the worship of the empirors of ancient Rome. Rather he is talking about the use of quasi-religious imagery to depict politicials in statist regimes. You know, like denominatiting Kim Jong Il as our “Dear Leader”. Other totalitarian regimes have done this, and some of them are depicted here:

    The song is satire, but as far as I know, most of the poster art for Obama and the other “great” leaders was serious. If that is what the author meant, isn’t that a real problem?

  • kerner

    I think what the author is talking about is not the actual worship of Obama as a literal god, a la the worship of the empirors of ancient Rome. Rather he is talking about the use of quasi-religious imagery to depict politicials in statist regimes. You know, like denominatiting Kim Jong Il as our “Dear Leader”. Other totalitarian regimes have done this, and some of them are depicted here:

    The song is satire, but as far as I know, most of the poster art for Obama and the other “great” leaders was serious. If that is what the author meant, isn’t that a real problem?

  • rlewer

    ‘A teacher here and there” includes an heroic portrait of our glorious leader at the entry of a school that had to be covered up on election day.

    A few is still more than none.

    Bush had none.

  • rlewer

    ‘A teacher here and there” includes an heroic portrait of our glorious leader at the entry of a school that had to be covered up on election day.

    A few is still more than none.

    Bush had none.

  • CRB

    I recently came across a quote by Mortimer Adler and wonder what it means. Can someone explain, please?

    “True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline.”

  • CRB

    I recently came across a quote by Mortimer Adler and wonder what it means. Can someone explain, please?

    “True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline.”

  • Tom Hering

    A few is still more than none.

    A few examples is still just a few examples. Which has been one of my points from the start. Another is that those few examples aren’t all they’re made out to be, by Neumayr and some of the commenters here. But whatever. If some of you are determined to believe that Obama and the people who voted for him are creating an idolatrous state religion – something beyond mere hero worship and civil religion – you’re determined to believe it.

  • Tom Hering

    A few is still more than none.

    A few examples is still just a few examples. Which has been one of my points from the start. Another is that those few examples aren’t all they’re made out to be, by Neumayr and some of the commenters here. But whatever. If some of you are determined to believe that Obama and the people who voted for him are creating an idolatrous state religion – something beyond mere hero worship and civil religion – you’re determined to believe it.

  • kerner

    Tom H:

    Well, hero worship it most certainly is. The You-tube video I posted is not the only one that features that song, which is, of course, satire. But the reason I posted that particular video was because of the comparison between the 2008 Obama poster art and the poster art of statist regimes of the last century. The similarity between Obama, and Hitler, Stalin, and Lenin, staring resolutely into the future, as these posters depict them all, basically show all of them as larger than life figures guiding the rest of us mere mortals into the bright progressive future. And the depiction of Obama with backlighting similar to the halo we see in paintings of Jesus goes a step beyond ordinary hero worship. At least I think it does.

    Look, I realize that everybody who respects President Obama isn’t worshiping him as some sort of god. But, come on now. If anyone had printed posters of George W. Bush with a halo or with the the communist/fascist resolute stare into the progressive future, you know as sure as you are sitting there that all liberals, including yourself, would be laughing him to scorn and shoutng “IDOLATRY!” at the top of your lungs.

    I don’t know whether all the religious or socialist hero imagery is really coming back (as Neumayr seems to think it is), but even you have to admit that it existed once and that it is idolatrous in the broad sense of the term for people to think of any politician that way.

  • kerner

    Tom H:

    Well, hero worship it most certainly is. The You-tube video I posted is not the only one that features that song, which is, of course, satire. But the reason I posted that particular video was because of the comparison between the 2008 Obama poster art and the poster art of statist regimes of the last century. The similarity between Obama, and Hitler, Stalin, and Lenin, staring resolutely into the future, as these posters depict them all, basically show all of them as larger than life figures guiding the rest of us mere mortals into the bright progressive future. And the depiction of Obama with backlighting similar to the halo we see in paintings of Jesus goes a step beyond ordinary hero worship. At least I think it does.

    Look, I realize that everybody who respects President Obama isn’t worshiping him as some sort of god. But, come on now. If anyone had printed posters of George W. Bush with a halo or with the the communist/fascist resolute stare into the progressive future, you know as sure as you are sitting there that all liberals, including yourself, would be laughing him to scorn and shoutng “IDOLATRY!” at the top of your lungs.

    I don’t know whether all the religious or socialist hero imagery is really coming back (as Neumayr seems to think it is), but even you have to admit that it existed once and that it is idolatrous in the broad sense of the term for people to think of any politician that way.

  • Tom Hering

    kerner, here’s a couple of Bush portraits. It’s only a couple, but giving just one or two examples seems to be the rule of the game.

    First, the official White House portrait, which at the ex-President’s request included a painting-within-the-painting, because that painting represented his own, and America’s, religious mission:

    http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jun/01/entertainment/la-et-cm-bush-portrait-20120601

    It also depicts the ex-President with his hand on an ancient pagan symbol of triumph. Imagine what we could read into that if we wanted to!

    Second, a popular portrait of the ex-President. We can assume he kind of likes its depiction of him as the beatific center of a political/religious pantheon, because he owns the original. Note the light behind his head and the halo effect of the presidential seal:

    http://www.tapestryproductions.com/products/artist/rondicianni/prayingforpeace.php

  • Tom Hering

    kerner, here’s a couple of Bush portraits. It’s only a couple, but giving just one or two examples seems to be the rule of the game.

    First, the official White House portrait, which at the ex-President’s request included a painting-within-the-painting, because that painting represented his own, and America’s, religious mission:

    http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jun/01/entertainment/la-et-cm-bush-portrait-20120601

    It also depicts the ex-President with his hand on an ancient pagan symbol of triumph. Imagine what we could read into that if we wanted to!

    Second, a popular portrait of the ex-President. We can assume he kind of likes its depiction of him as the beatific center of a political/religious pantheon, because he owns the original. Note the light behind his head and the halo effect of the presidential seal:

    http://www.tapestryproductions.com/products/artist/rondicianni/prayingforpeace.php

  • Tom Hering

    Oh, what the heck. I’ll throw in my favorite work of conservative idolatry too:

    http://www.jonmcnaughton.com/one-nation-under-god-2/

  • Tom Hering

    Oh, what the heck. I’ll throw in my favorite work of conservative idolatry too:

    http://www.jonmcnaughton.com/one-nation-under-god-2/

  • kerner

    Tom H:

    I have difficulty deciding whether to distinguish your examples from mine, or to just give in on the grounds that the last two represent such bad theology that they might as well be idolatry. I guess I’ll distinguish them a little bit.

    The first portrait seems like an ordinary presidential portrait. They are all flattering and make the president look dignified…not holy.

    The second depicts Pres. Bush bowing his head in prayer, presumeably to the Triune God (we hope anyway), flanked by the spirits of Washington and Lincoln, who we hope are doing the same.

    (to be continued)

  • kerner

    Tom H:

    I have difficulty deciding whether to distinguish your examples from mine, or to just give in on the grounds that the last two represent such bad theology that they might as well be idolatry. I guess I’ll distinguish them a little bit.

    The first portrait seems like an ordinary presidential portrait. They are all flattering and make the president look dignified…not holy.

    The second depicts Pres. Bush bowing his head in prayer, presumeably to the Triune God (we hope anyway), flanked by the spirits of Washington and Lincoln, who we hope are doing the same.

    (to be continued)

  • Tom Hering

    The first portrait seems like an ordinary presidential portrait. They are all flattering and make the president look dignified…not holy.

    Yet the message of holiness – his own and America’s – is in there, at his request. Or didn’t you read the accompanying article?

    The second depicts Pres. Bush bowing his head in prayer, presumeably to the Triune God (we hope anyway), flanked by the spirits of Washington and Lincoln, who we hope are doing the same.

    What difference does any of that make? I thought you had a problem with political leaders of nations being turned into religious idols. Or are you saying it was somehow different with Bush (and his admirers) because he was a good Christian (and his admirers were all good Christians too)?

  • Tom Hering

    The first portrait seems like an ordinary presidential portrait. They are all flattering and make the president look dignified…not holy.

    Yet the message of holiness – his own and America’s – is in there, at his request. Or didn’t you read the accompanying article?

    The second depicts Pres. Bush bowing his head in prayer, presumeably to the Triune God (we hope anyway), flanked by the spirits of Washington and Lincoln, who we hope are doing the same.

    What difference does any of that make? I thought you had a problem with political leaders of nations being turned into religious idols. Or are you saying it was somehow different with Bush (and his admirers) because he was a good Christian (and his admirers were all good Christians too)?

  • reg

    Tom,
    As a regular reader of this blog and only an occasional commenter I want to say that one reason I often pass on commenting is that your comments are so on the money there is little to add. Keep up the good posts!

  • reg

    Tom,
    As a regular reader of this blog and only an occasional commenter I want to say that one reason I often pass on commenting is that your comments are so on the money there is little to add. Keep up the good posts!

  • kerner

    TomH. :

    Like I said, it’s bad theology at least. I do see a distinction between the portrayal of the president as a devout disciple and the portrayal of the president as the savior himself.

    But in practical terms, maybe the distinction is not that great. As you say, I DO have a problem with turning political leaders into religious idols, and that includes republicans. I can’t really argue with your larger point. Maybe it’s the lawyer in me that compels me to nitpick.

    As for the last paintng, words fail me…almost. The civil war union soldier and the judge hiding their faces in shame are nice touches, don’t you think?

  • kerner

    TomH. :

    Like I said, it’s bad theology at least. I do see a distinction between the portrayal of the president as a devout disciple and the portrayal of the president as the savior himself.

    But in practical terms, maybe the distinction is not that great. As you say, I DO have a problem with turning political leaders into religious idols, and that includes republicans. I can’t really argue with your larger point. Maybe it’s the lawyer in me that compels me to nitpick.

    As for the last paintng, words fail me…almost. The civil war union soldier and the judge hiding their faces in shame are nice touches, don’t you think?


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