Are You an Imperial Christian?

The tenets of imperial Christianity include things like blind nationalism, belief in American exceptionalism, willful ignorance of U.S. foreign policy, childish devotion to the military, cheerleading for the Republican Party, acceptance of the U.S. empire, and support for a perpetual war on terror – all, of course, with a Christian twist for effect. In other words, the views of Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry.

I have some simple yet pointed questions for Christians who subscribe to, or can be characterized by, the above things:

  • Is the president of the United States God?
  • Is America the nation of Israel?
  • Is the United States the client state of God?
  • Is the U.S. military the Lord’s army?
  • Does the United States enjoy a special relationship with God that other nations don’t have?
  • Is the Christian’s sword anything but the word of God?
  • Does the Bible command any Christian to kill any adherent of a false religion?
  • Does the Bible command any Christian to go on a crusade against Muslims?
  • Does “obeying the powers that be” mean that Christians should always do anything and everything the government says?
  • Does the Bible say that anyone other than God should receive unconditional obedience?
  • Is it okay for Christians to participate in U.S. government wars just because God commanded the Jews in the Old Testament to go to war?
  • Does the Lord approve of everything the U.S. government does?
  • Does the Lord approve of everything the government of Israel does?
  • Is being patriotic more important than being biblical?
  • Is the Republican Party the party of God?
  • Is it more scriptural for a Christian to be in the military than in the ministry?
  • Does God need America’s help to protect Israel?
  • Does God need the U.S. military to maintain order throughout the world?
  • Is the U.S. military a godly institution?
  • Is the CIA a godly institution?
  • Did God command the United States to build over 1,000 foreign military bases?
  • Did God command the United States to station troops in over 150 countries?
  • Does God always approve of U.S. foreign policy?
  • Is it biblical that churches send more soldiers to the Middle East than missionaries?
  • Did God appoint the United States to be the world’s policeman?
  • Does the New Testament command churches to hold special military appreciation days?
  • Does the New Testament command churches to glorify the military on the Sunday before national holidays?
  • Have U.S. wars always been just, right, and good?
  • Are all Muslims terrorists?
  • Was every Iraqi and Afghan killed by the U.S. military a terrorist?
  • Does the New Testament encourage Christians to wage war against anyone or anything but the world, the flesh, and the devil?

If you are a Christian and answered in the affirmative to one or more of these questions, then I understand why you are an imperial Christian. Repent.

But if you are a Christian and answered in the negative to all of these questions, then why are you an imperial Christian? Why do you make apologies for the state, its leaders, its military, its wars, its imperialism, and its interventionism? Why are you so devoted to the Republican Party? Why do you sing songs to the state in church on the Sunday before national holidays? Why do you encourage Christian young people to join the military? Why do you recite meaningless prayers for God to bless U.S. troops engaged in unjust wars?

Think about these things. Pray about them. Meditate on them. Just don’t be an imperial Christian.

Originally published on on September 28, 2011