Well, not if you were a Methodist minister named James P. Marsh, Jr.
For this man of the cloth, the issue troubling him so much that he had to write about in the Washington Post was ... people standing and singing "God Bless America" at Washington National baseball games.
If you want to know how far much of mainline Christianity has declined, Pastor Marsh's column would be a fine place to begin.
Think back to any time in American history. It is hard to imagine that a Christian minister would have any reaction to his fellow Americans standing and singing "God Bless America" other than unalloyed delight.
But that was when mainline Christian ministers believed in Christianity, sought to bring fellow Americans to God, celebrated America and hoped that God would bestow His blessings on this country.
Or to put it another way, that was before many mainstream Christians embraced another religion -- leftism, the most dynamic religion of the last hundred years.
Leftism has influenced Western societies far more deeply than Christianity has since the beginning of the twentieth century. And leftism has influenced far more Christians (and Jews) than Christianity (or Judaism) has influenced leftists.
It is difficult to detect a single Christian idea or belief among the reasons the minister gives for not standing for God Bless America. All his reasons are leftist boilerplate. Had he been identified as an official of the ACLU or a professor in some social science department, no reader would have been surprised.
1. "I sit to stand for my religious beliefs."
Presumably the minister's "religious beliefs" are Christian. But how exactly does standing to sing "God Bless America" violate Christian beliefs? He doesn't tell us. One would think that a Christian minister would be thoroughly delighted that tens of thousands of his fellow Americans were singing "God Bless America."
2. "Being pressured to stand at a baseball game for a song that's essentially a prayer seems, well, un-American. It feels like being pushed into the river for a baptism I didn't choose."
Only a true-believing leftist would label people standing and singing "God Bless America" as "un-American."
3. "It's an empty ritual, and one that I don't think holds much theological water."
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