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davidgbarton

Pledge Of Allegiance In A Church Service

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Greetings all. In another place and another time I was in the Spong Forum as "doubting dave". Now I've dropped the incognito thing. On to my topic.

 

I play organ in a small ELCA Lutheran church in the midst of the bible belt (NE Texas). Since I like the income and it is rural Texas, I take a "don't ask, don't tell" to my general misalignment with this church's political and theological views (I waver between being "progressive" and full blown atheist). So imagine my consternation when I arrived at church one Sunday morning and discovered that the pledge of allegiance had been inserted into the liturgy of the church at the beginning of the service. I was gobsmacked! I left the room during the pledge, returned and played the remainder of the service. I've been playing organ in churches for 50 years now, and never have run into this before. I might add that quite a few of the churches I've played in have been what could only be called "red-neck" churches, but never have they put the pledge of allegiance into the service.

 

So I dropped in to have a bit of a chat with the pastor and explained my consternation with the aforementioned placement of the P of A in the service, and, to her credit, she listened to my point of view in an interested and respectful way. However, she seemed to think that there was nothing wrong with this practice, but would not continue using the P of A during the remainder of my tenure as organist (I am leaving this town at the end of the month as my minister wife [another denomination] is being transferred). In the mean time, she has asked for any references and writings on the topics of mixing patriotism in liturgical services. I've found some good stuff from Stanley Hauerwas, but haven't gotten good results from the searches I've tried.

 

If anybody in Spongland has some suggestions, I'd be most grateful. I cited be widely voiced sentiment around the South that you can't be a Democrat and a Christian, and that the deity we call "God" has picked the US of A as his newly chosen people, etc. But I'm looking for something a little more solid and Lutheran, if possible.

 

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

 

dd

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In Response to Nazi Germany The Theological Declaration of Barmen 1934

 

The Barmen Declaration rejects (i.) the subordination of the Church to the state (8.22-3) and (ii.) the subordination of the Word and Spirit to the Church. "8.27 We reject the false doctrine, as though the Church in human arrogance could place the Word and work of the Lord in the service of any arbitrarily chosen desires, purposes, and plans." On the contrary, The Declaration proclaims that the Church "is solely Christ's property, and that it lives and wants to live solely from his comfort and from his direction in the expectation of his appearance." (8.17) Rejecting domestication of the Word in the Church, The Declaration points to the inalienable lordship of Jesus Christ by the Spirit and to the external character of church unity which "can come only from the Word of God in faith through the Holy Spirit. Thus alone is the Church renewed" (8.01): it submits itself explicitly and radically to Holy Scripture as God's gracious Word.

 

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

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dd,

 

First, welcome to the PC forum.

 

I cannot give you any help in terms of references. However, my pastor (PCUSA) has said that he refuses any kind of nationalism in his sermons or services. In fact, he has a bumper sticker on his car that says something like, "God bless all nations."

 

George

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I'm not a Lutheran, but I would imagine you can (metaphorically) smack people upside the head with a book or two on the two kingdoms doctrine, which I'm pretty sure is fully accepted doctrine by the ELCA.

 

I don't have time to run through the ECLA website right now, but a quick search on Two Kingdoms Doctrine brings up a lot of hits on it. (Besides, being heterodox Presbyterian means I'll likely interpret it wrong ;)).

 

Good luck. That really isn't cool, and I don't think you need to be one of us whacky progressives to see that.

Edited by Nick the Nevermet

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I don't know much about Lutheran doctrine, but doesn't Jesus condemn swearing oaths in the Sermon on the Mount?

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I found this article that I cannot read as I don't have a subscription to the magazine. However, given it is a recent (2008) article about the importance of the separation of Church and State by the denomination's own magazine, it may be of use to you.

 

 

And Neon: Yeah, Jesus & nationalism don't quite go together, do they?

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Greetings all. In another place and another time I was in the Spong Forum as "doubting dave". Now I've dropped the incognito thing. On to my topic.

 

I play organ in a small ELCA Lutheran church in the midst of the bible belt (NE Texas). Since I like the income and it is rural Texas, I take a "don't ask, don't tell" to my general misalignment with this church's political and theological views (I waver between being "progressive" and full blown atheist). So imagine my consternation when I arrived at church one Sunday morning and discovered that the pledge of allegiance had been inserted into the liturgy of the church at the beginning of the service. I was gobsmacked! I left the room during the pledge, returned and played the remainder of the service. I've been playing organ in churches for 50 years now, and never have run into this before. I might add that quite a few of the churches I've played in have been what could only be called "red-neck" churches, but never have they put the pledge of allegiance into the service.

 

So I dropped in to have a bit of a chat with the pastor and explained my consternation with the aforementioned placement of the P of A in the service, and, to her credit, she listened to my point of view in an interested and respectful way. However, she seemed to think that there was nothing wrong with this practice, but would not continue using the P of A during the remainder of my tenure as organist (I am leaving this town at the end of the month as my minister wife [another denomination] is being transferred). In the mean time, she has asked for any references and writings on the topics of mixing patriotism in liturgical services. I've found some good stuff from Stanley Hauerwas, but haven't gotten good results from the searches I've tried.

 

If anybody in Spongland has some suggestions, I'd be most grateful. I cited be widely voiced sentiment around the South that you can't be a Democrat and a Christian, and that the deity we call "God" has picked the US of A as his newly chosen people, etc. But I'm looking for something a little more solid and Lutheran, if possible.

 

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

 

dd

 

Hi Dave,

Could this inclusion of the P.A be a subtle ploy to disregard the Constitution's law against the combining of Church and State? I ran across the possible explanation for this persistence to mix the two in this research at Duke Univ.: "Born Again-and Brain Damage" http://whowhatwhy.com/2011/06/09/born-again-and-brain-damage/

Is Science finally catching up and supporting what the Founders knew all along? My concern is when this type of malady infiltrates positions of secular leadership and starts to govern this Nation, such as the decision to invade Iraq for example by a "Born-Again" Leader.

IMO, a scientific test of this sort should be made mandatory via constitutional amendment, for all aspiring for Electorial government leadership positions, both State and Federal; To prevent this type of flagrant disregard of constitutional edicts.

Edited by Juanster
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Jaunster, I could not get the link in your last post to open, the one about brain damage/born again?

 

You might recheck to see if it's correct.

 

Jenell

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Jaunster, I could not get the link in your last post to open, the one about brain damage/born again?

 

You might recheck to see if it's correct.

 

Jenell

 

Here it is: Link

 

I highly recommend actually reading the original article: Link. It is significant that the research suggests correlation, not causation.

 

Aside from that, I'm not a fan of GW Bush, I have my problems with born-agains, but Juanster's suggestion is deeply problematic. There is no rational or justifiable policy to exclude people from public office based on the science in that article.

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I read this research elsewhere. You have to read the whole report on that experiment. WhoWhatWhy like many other bloggers misuse the science in that research to support what they want to write about anyway.

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I read this research elsewhere. You have to read the whole report on that experiment. WhoWhatWhy like many other bloggers misuse the science in that research to support what they want to write about anyway.

 

Hi,

Is there a link to the original version of this test? I'd like to read it to see just how much WhoWhatWhy edited the original version, before accepting your opinion of it. Thanks

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original

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0017006

 

problemws with whowhatwhy

1. www Tied in with his book (do you think he wants to sell a book) re George W whose born-again experience which he himself suggests strongly was a marketing ploy. The second large block quote was from www's book about g.w.!

2. Average age of study group 69

3. Study concludes

These results may reflect an impact of cumulative stress on hippocampal volume. Mechanisms for these results, such as the elucidation of potential glucocorticoid stress pathways leading to atrophy, need to be more clearly identified, making the interpretation of these findings necessarily speculative.

 

4. Footnote 81: WWW says

Spiritual experiences not easily interpreted within an existing cognitive framework or set of religious beliefs have been shown in previous research to be detrimental to subjective well-being [81]

 

Conclusion of work referenced concludes

It was concluded that mysticism may have an important and complex relationship to subjective well-being that cannot be reduced to previously studied religious variables.

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Conclusion of work referenced concludes

It was concluded that mysticism may have an important and complex relationship to subjective well-being that cannot be reduced to previously studied religious variables.

Dutch,

 

As you know there has been a lot of research looking at links between religious practice and health, including mental heath.

 

Atran, in his book In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion discusses the state of the science in some depth. At the end of that section he says,

 

"A tentative conclusion is that the more traditionally and continuously religious the person, the less likely to suffer depression and anxiety in the long run."

 

George

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I haven't read much by Scott Atran, but he seems very good. I also saw a youtube clip of him utterly destroy Sam Harris in an argument, which I enjoyed seeing as both a progressive Christian (Harris claims all religion is a blight upon humanity), and as a sociologist (Sam Harris' arguments are the worst kind of hand-waving scientism). IIRC, Atran is also an atheist, which shouldn't credibility to his defense of religion (his argumentation should do that), but I have to admit it kinda does.

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I haven't read much by Scott Atran, but he seems very good. I also saw a youtube clip of him utterly destroy Sam Harris in an argument, which I enjoyed seeing as both a progressive Christian (Harris claims all religion is a blight upon humanity), and as a sociologist (Sam Harris' arguments are the worst kind of hand-waving scientism). IIRC, Atran is also an atheist, which shouldn't credibility to his defense of religion (his argumentation should do that), but I have to admit it kinda does.

I don't know what Atran's religious beliefs are, it does not come through in his book. He approaches the subject from what seems to be an objective perspective. In any event, he is not a Christian apologist.

 

I am not a fan of Sam Harris. I started his book The End of Faith several years ago with an open mind. About half way through, I put it down as a waste of time. I found his arguments simplistic, shallow and not well informed ("the worst kind of hand-waving scientism" as wise person recently put it).

 

George

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