I'm writing in response to Dr. Richard Land's column, "Are You an American Idol-ator?" (June 7, 2007) What started out as an excellent editorial turned very disappointing when he chose to illustrate his thesis with controversies that have nothing to do with idolizing the United States. He cites a pastor who defends the Confederate States and flag as being Christian institutions. And he cites 150-year-old attempts to justify slavery through the Scriptures.
Those issues are "straw men" in this discussion. The concern over "conflating the Christian faith with the American status quo" has nothing to do with slavery and Confederate flags. Instead, it concerns churches who throw out members who don't vote for a certain presidential candidate. It concerns pastors who perpetuate the falsehood that the United States was founded by Christians as a Christian nation. It concerns disciples of the Prince of Peace who glorify war. And it concerns believers who question the faith of fellow believers when they have legitimate differences of opinion with the current administration.
Those are examples of the critical issues in this controversy. Dr. Land's editorial could have been so much more meaningful and convicting had he used some of them to illustrate his point. Sadly, it appears to have been safer to use issues that few members of his denomination would take exception with. Writing as a Southern Baptist myself, I wish he had found the inspiration to speak truth in love.