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God Bless America

March 14, 2008
by

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While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.

God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.

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165 Comments
  1. Mark D. permalink*
    March 14, 2008 8:18 pm

    You are one childish man.

    I thank God every day for the North and West ;)

  2. March 14, 2008 8:28 pm

    Asking God to Bless America is childish? How so?

  3. Mark D. permalink*
    March 14, 2008 8:43 pm

    You prove my point.

  4. March 14, 2008 9:00 pm

    By asking you to explain yourself?

    o.k.

    Why are you so offended by “God Bless America”? It must be sad to loathe your own country. You know, there are always other options for you. Why don’t you try out Canada? I hear it’s nice up there this time of year.

  5. M.Z. Forrest permalink
    March 14, 2008 9:03 pm

    From the mountains
    To the prairies
    To the ocean’s
    White with foam.

    Or something like that.

  6. Mark D. permalink*
    March 14, 2008 9:05 pm

    How old are you?

  7. March 14, 2008 9:14 pm

    Old enough to spot an America-hater.

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=America-hater

  8. March 14, 2008 9:15 pm

    What the hell is the point of this post?

  9. March 14, 2008 9:20 pm

    You know, there are always other options for you. Why don’t you try out Canada? I hear it’s nice up there this time of year.

    Old enough to spot an America-hater.

    Proof positive that Vox Nova is indeed a diverse blog. We welcome contributors of various intellectual capacities here.

  10. March 14, 2008 9:20 pm

    MI-

    I think the post speaks for itself. Don’t you?

    Do you also have a problem with Americans asking God to Bless their homeland?

  11. March 14, 2008 9:22 pm

    “Proof positive that Vox Nova is indeed a diverse blog. We welcome contributors of various intellectual capacities here.”

    Ah, sweet venom.

    You pacifists are such tough talkers.

  12. Mark D. permalink*
    March 14, 2008 9:23 pm

    Do you drive a sports car, own large stereo speakers or have a prized gun collection?

  13. March 14, 2008 9:25 pm

    I drive a Subaru Forester, have small stereo speakers, and own one gun.

    Now, I have a question for you; Why do you hate America?

  14. jonathanjones02 permalink
    March 14, 2008 9:26 pm

    May God Bless America, and may we be thankful for our extraordinary fortune to live here.

  15. March 14, 2008 9:27 pm

    Alex, seriously, you’re something else. Awwww, did teacher tewl you all about the Constitution today in social studies class? Ain’t all those fweedoms we enjoy just so special?

  16. Mark D. permalink*
    March 14, 2008 9:30 pm

    jonathan,

    I thought you were out on your crusade against social engineering…or rewatching Jonathan Goldberg’s week long appearance on the Glenn Beck Show.

  17. M.Z. Forrest permalink
    March 14, 2008 9:33 pm

    15 comments on an innocuous post. Go figure.

    Admittedly I’ve considered the northern frontier myself. By the urban dictionary definition, I am an America-hater. But for whatever reason, I don’t think God Bless America is somehow an invitation for debate or intelligence questioning. Leave history as history.

  18. March 14, 2008 9:34 pm

    A reading assignment your social studies teacher may have missed, Alex:

    If you do a book report on it and turn in the coupon, you can get a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut.

  19. March 14, 2008 9:35 pm


    a) Proof positive that Vox Nova is indeed a diverse blog. We welcome contributors of various intellectual capacities here….

    b) Alex, seriously, you’re something else. Awwww, did teacher tewl you all about the Constitution today in social studies class? Ain’t all those fweedoms we enjoy just so special?

    Does it take intellectual capacity to be a)passive-aggressive and b)mocking?

  20. Mark D. permalink*
    March 14, 2008 9:35 pm

    I love America, but will fight like hell so those with odd intellectual variances will not destroy it (and the world in the process).

  21. March 14, 2008 9:35 pm

    MI-

    I am actually quite thankful for the Constitution, which is, hands down, the greatest political document ever written. And I also cherish the freedoms it enshrines into the positive law.

    But these are not things I would expect someone like you to appreciate. You mock the rule of law, and the very protection it affords you to spew your venom. How brave you are. It’s easy to be a snide pacifist when others are willing to fight and die for your right to mock them and everything they stand for.

  22. March 14, 2008 9:39 pm

    Seriously, what is the point of this post? You say it’s “obvious.” What? To remind us that the song exists? To celebrate Passion Sunday by making it a little more red, white, and blue? To put the “holy” back in Holy Week? To show what a big, patriotic man you are? To show the soldiers how much you care about them? Did I hit the target at all here?

  23. Mark D. permalink*
    March 14, 2008 9:40 pm

    Alexham,

    You started it, my flag as figleaf wearing friend, Self-honesty is a prerequisite to wisdom.

  24. March 14, 2008 9:40 pm

    Mark D.-

    I think any objective observer of your comments on this blog would question your “love” of country.

    Just look how upset and mean-spirited a simple post has made you and MI.

  25. March 14, 2008 9:42 pm

    MI-

    Why don’t you ask some tough questions about yourself? Why does a simple post saying “God Bless America” have you frothing at the mouth?

  26. March 14, 2008 9:45 pm

    You’re right, alex, I should take a long hard look at myself and ask why I don’t have such a devotion to the u.s.a. like you do. Man, you’re an inspiration to us all. I’ll start my litany to George Washington right away and hit the confession box in the morning.

  27. Mark D. permalink*
    March 14, 2008 9:45 pm

    No, Feddie,

    Why deceive yourself about the context of your comments? You cannot even be a man in a quasi-argument.

    Any objective observer would see that you are blinded by ideology as you take little care to separate a vague but pernicious Americanist religion from your Catholicism.

  28. March 14, 2008 9:46 pm

    One can love God and Country, MI.

    You seem to think that everyone who loves/appreciates America also worships it.

    You’re the one who needs help, my friend.

  29. March 14, 2008 9:48 pm

    “Any objective observer would see that you are blinded by ideology as you take little care to separate a vague but pernicious Americanist religion from your Catholicism.”

    All this from one simple little post.

    Fascinating.

  30. Mark D. permalink*
    March 14, 2008 9:50 pm

    Your words are well on record.

  31. TeutonicTim permalink
    March 14, 2008 9:53 pm

    Mark D. and Michael J.

    Perhaps this is more to your liking:


    “American girls and American guys, will always stand up and salute.
    We’ll always recognize, when we see ol’ glory flying,
    There’s a lot of men dead,
    So we can sleep in peace at night when we lay down our heads.
    My daddy served in the army where he lost his right eye,
    But he flew a flag out in our yard ’til the day that he died.
    He wanted my mother, my brother, my sister and me.
    To grow up and live happy in the land of the free.

    Now this nation that I love is fallin’ under attack.
    A mighty sucker-punch came flying in from somewhere in the back.
    Soon as we could see clearly through our big black eye,
    Man, we lit up your world like the fourth of July.

    Hey, Uncle Sam put your name at the top of his list,
    And the Statue of Liberty started shaking her fist.
    And the eagle will fly and it’s gonna be hell,
    When you hear Mother Freedom start ringing her bell.
    And it’ll feel like the whole wide world is raining down on you.
    Ah, brought to you, courtesy of the red, white and blue.

    Oh, justice will be served and the battle will rage:
    This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage.
    An’ you’ll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A.
    ‘Cos we’ll put a boot in your ass, it’s the American way.

    Hey, Uncle Sam put your name at the top of his list,
    And the Statue of Liberty started shaking her fist.
    And the eagle will fly and it’s gonna be hell,
    When you hear Mother Freedom start ringing her bell.
    And it’ll feel like the whole wide world is raining down on you.
    Ah, brought to you, courtesy of the red, white and blue.

    Oh, oh.
    Of the red, white and blue.
    Oh, hey, oh.
    Of my Red, White and Blue.”

  32. March 14, 2008 9:53 pm

    You seem to think that everyone who loves/appreciates America also worships it.

    Not at all. There are things even anarchists love and appreciate about America.

    Keep up your scapegoating, though. It adds a whole new lovely dimension to the blog.

  33. March 14, 2008 9:53 pm

    Well then, by all means, show them to me, and prove your “point’ to us all, big guy.

    (Cue crickets chirping)

  34. March 14, 2008 9:54 pm

    “It adds a whole new lovely dimension to the blog.”

    Said the man spewing venom from his high horse.

  35. TeutonicTim permalink
    March 14, 2008 9:55 pm


    “A reading assignment your social studies teacher may have missed, Alex:

    If you do a book report on it and turn in the coupon, you can get a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut.


    Michael J. – Perhaps it’s you who has missed a reading assignment. Check out this one:

    I hear if you read it and pass the quiz, you can participate in the Junior High battle of the books.

  36. TeutonicTim permalink
    March 14, 2008 9:57 pm

    “Proof positive that Vox Nova is indeed a diverse blog. We welcome contributors of various intellectual capacities here.”

    Yup, affirmative action works for people like you too…

  37. jonathanjones02 permalink
    March 14, 2008 9:57 pm

    Mark D.: you keep it classy and full of substance.

  38. M.Z. Forrest permalink
    March 14, 2008 9:58 pm

    Teutonic Tim,

    The sad thing is I don’t think Toby Keith meant a word of that song. I’m deeply cynical though. The song itself is artisticly awful. I’m not a fan of most music made after about 1985 or so.

  39. Mark D. permalink*
    March 14, 2008 9:59 pm

    Show me one post that proves I am an America-hater. Maybe you can put on the Star-Spangled Banner whenever you find one.

    Again, how old are you?

  40. March 14, 2008 10:01 pm

    Listen to you, daring me to tell you what I love about america. Did you have a bad day?

  41. TeutonicTim permalink
    March 14, 2008 10:02 pm

    “The sad thing is I don’t think Toby Keith meant a word of that song.”

    Doesn’t matter – The lyrics are sure to make Michael J. and Mark D. head’s explode…

  42. Mark D. permalink*
    March 14, 2008 10:08 pm

    Jonathan,

    Maybe if any of the aricles you pull from AEI had any substance, that would be possible with you.

  43. March 14, 2008 10:08 pm

    Doesn’t matter – The lyrics are sure to make Michael J. and Mark D. head’s explode…

    You’re right. I’m just so overwhelmed with anger. [Yawn.]

    Keep it up, guys. We go from a supposedly innocent “God Bless America” to Toby Keith, which shows the real sentiment behind this post. Let’s see who can be the most patriotic…. shall we sponsor a Vox Nova “Why I Love America” essay contest? The winner gets a George Weigel t-shirt.

  44. JohnB permalink
    March 14, 2008 10:10 pm

    “I’m not a fan of most music made after about 1985 or so…”

    That’s one of the first things I’ve read by M.Z. that makes me seriously question his judgment. I could understand after 1975, or after 1950, or after 1900, but 1985? What artists from 1975-1985 are worth the extra ten years?

    I suspect Michael I. would be partial to ‘Born in the U.S.A.’

  45. March 14, 2008 10:11 pm

    LOL putting the flag up here is like sprinkling holy water on the devil =D

    God bless America – written by a Israel Baline aka Irving Berlin, a Jewish immigrant from Russia. He died in 1989 at the age of 101.

  46. Mark D. permalink*
    March 14, 2008 10:13 pm

    Teutonic Tim,

    A few years ago, I went into the smallest room of my house with a Toby Keith CD liners w/lyrics, sat down, placed them behind me while finishing my business and then left the room.

    At least, they could be put to some good use.

  47. TeutonicTim permalink
    March 14, 2008 10:14 pm

    OK Michael J. – Here’s me worshipping at altar of the Great Canada!


    God save our gracious Queen
    Long live our noble Queen,
    God save the Queen:
    Send her victorious,
    Happy and glorious,
    Long to reign over us:
    God save the Queen.

    O Lord, our God, arise,
    Scatter thine enemies,
    And make them fall:
    Confound their politics,
    Frustrate their knavish tricks,
    On thee our hopes we fix:
    God save us all.

    Thy choicest gifts in store,
    On her be pleased to pour;
    Long may she reign:
    May she defend our laws,
    And ever give us cause
    To sing with heart and voice
    God save the Queen.

    See? I’m worshiping the Canadian Nationalistic Religion!

  48. March 14, 2008 10:16 pm

    I suspect Michael I. would be partial to ‘Born in the U.S.A.’

    Great song. And there you go, a great example of an american human being who (GASP!) has some admiration for america as well as an ability to be honest about it and to criticize it when necessary.

  49. March 14, 2008 10:17 pm

    Tim – Um, ok.

  50. M.Z. Forrest permalink
    March 14, 2008 10:20 pm

    JohnB,

    It was a slightly arbitrary point. I was attempting to pick a point where music hadn’t become so commercialized and corporatized. 80% or so of my radio listening is public radio, so mostly what I hear was created pre 1900.

  51. March 14, 2008 10:20 pm

    :)

    I will get into the spirit Alex!!!

    Here is the First Offical Catholic Prayer for the UNited States. I hope perhaps we can hear this in our Liturgy on certain days

    We pray, Thee O Almighty and Eternal God! Who through Jesus Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy, that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Thy Name.

    We pray Thee, who alone art good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life, our chief bishop, Pope n., the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of his Church; our own bishop, n., all other bishops, prelates, and pastors of the Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise amongst us the functions of the holy ministry, and conduct Thy people into the ways of salvation.

    We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality.

    Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.

    We pray for his excellency, the governor of this state , for the members of the assembly, for all judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled, by Thy powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability

    We recommend likewise, to Thy unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Thy most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.

    Finally, we pray to Thee, O Lord of mercy, to remember the souls of Thy servants departed who are gone before us with the sign of faith and repose in the sleep of peace; the souls of our parents, relatives, and friends; of those who, when living, were members of this congregation, and particularly of such as are lately deceased; of all benefactors who, by their donations or legacies to this Church, witnessed their zeal for the decency of divine worship and proved their claim to our grateful and charitable remembrance. To these, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, a place of refreshment, light, and everlasting peace, through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. Amen

    It was written by written and first delivered in 1791 by the father of American Catholicism, John Carroll of Baltimore

  52. March 14, 2008 10:22 pm

    I’ll leave you all alone now to compare the size of your Patriot missiles. Hope you have fun.

  53. M.Z. Forrest permalink
    March 14, 2008 10:22 pm

    Get it right Teutonic Tim! This is the real® Canadian anthem:

    Ô Canada!
    Terre de nos aïeux,
    Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!
    Car ton bras sait porter l’épée,
    Il sait porter la croix!
    Ton histoire est une épopée
    Des plus brillants exploits.
    Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
    Protégera nos foyers et nos droits;
    Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

  54. TeutonicTim permalink
    March 14, 2008 10:23 pm

    “Tim – Um, ok.”

    I just figured posting anything with God and Country (USA) was nationalistic and anti-catholic and a “vague but pernicious Americanist religion”

    Why can’t it be a “vague but pernicious Canadianistreligion”

    Makes total sense to me

  55. JohnB permalink
    March 14, 2008 10:29 pm

    “It was a slightly arbitrary point. I was attempting to pick a point where music hadn’t become so commercialized and corporatized. 80% or so of my radio listening is public radio, so mostly what I hear was created pre 1900.”

    M.Z.,

    My faith has been restored..

    Michael I.,

    I like the song too, although I didn’t know the lyrics to the verses when I first liked it (as a kid). I still like it, but think it’s a little too slickly produced for its themes.

  56. Mark D. permalink*
    March 14, 2008 10:31 pm

    I cannot stop laughing, but must retire too. I’ll have to boil some of my fair trade tea first, in order to care for my Bolshevic cold.

    I wish I could figure out how to use spell-check while on this blog. I apologize for the thousands of typos I dump upon you all.

  57. March 14, 2008 10:32 pm

    POpe JOhn Paul the II says GOD BLESS AMERICA

    Remarks on the occasion of the award of the “Presidential Medal of Freedom”

    I am grateful, Mr. President, for this thoughtful gesture.

    May the desire for freedom, peace and a more humane world symbolized by this medal inspire men and women of good will in every time and place.

    God bless America!

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/2004/june/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_20040604_president-usa_en.html

    Dear brothers and sisters, dear friends: The world looks to America in the hope of finding a model of a free and virtuous society. To make this land of freedom a hospitable home for all its people is still a challenge, and increasingly so. It is important to peoples around the world that you, citizens of the United States, succeed in making American society a more perfect embodiment of its commitment to liberty and justice for all.

    God bless all of you.

    God bless America.

    Thank you.

    http://www.cathedralofmary.org/history/papalvisits/100895.htm

    . Especially since the events of 1989, the role of the United States in the world has taken on a new prominence. Your widespread influence is at once political, economic, military and, due to your communications media, cultural. It is vital for the human family that in continuing to seek advancement in many different fields – science, business, education and art, and wherever else your creativity leads you – America keeps compassion, generosity and concern for others at the very heart of its efforts.

    In particular, for nations and peoples emerging from a long period of trial, your country stands upon the world scene as a model of a democratic society at an advanced stage of development. Your power of example carries with it heavy responsibilities. Use it well, America! Be an example of justice and civic virtue, freedom fulfilled in goodness, at home and abroad!

    4. From its beginning until now, the United States has been a haven for generation after generation of new arrivals. Men, women and children have streamed here from every corner of the globe, building new lives and forming a society of rich ethnic and racial diversity, based on commitment to a shared vision of human dignity and freedom. Of the United States we can truly say, “E pluribus unum”.

    It is my prayerful hope that America will persevere in its own best traditions of openness and opportunity. It would indeed be sad if the United States were to turn away from that enterprising spirit which has always sought the most practical and responsible ways of continuing to share with others the blessings God has richly bestowed here.

    The same spirit of creative generosity will help you to meet the needs of your own poor and disadvantaged. They too have a role to play in building a society truly worthy of the human person – a society in which none are so poor that they have nothing to give and none are so rich that they have nothing to receive. The poor have needs which are not only material and economic, but also involve liberating their potential to work out their own destiny and to provide for the well–being of their families and communities. America will continue to be a land of promise as long as it remains a land of freedom and justice for all.

    5. Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen: I come as one who has an abiding hope in America’s noble destiny. I thank God for allowing me to return to you again. Thank you and God bless you all!

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/1995/october/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_19951004_arrivo-usa_en.html

    Oh No American Noble Destiny?

  58. March 14, 2008 10:42 pm

    Thanks for a respite from the huzzas which Reverend Wright’s, “God Damn America” was getting from one or two people earlier today.

    Actually, Reverend Wright’s line reminded me of one of my favorite books, albeit a very short one: The Man Without a Country, by Edward Everett Hale. Written during the Civil War, it’s really more of a long short story or novella, but truly a good story and something every American should read.

    Perhaps Michael I. can provide us with a book report…

  59. March 14, 2008 10:46 pm

    IN the end there is a healthy balance. THere is nothing wrong with a healthy love of COuntry and healthy Patriotism. I find the fact that some find these concepts “American” thing quite strange.

    One last quote /poem from a person that could be viewed as a Catholic Alabama Martyer. Father That is Father Fr James Coyle, a priest shot by a Ku Klux Klansman in Alabama in 1921. Now he is pretty interesting and it is a part of American Catholic History we don’t here much about. Even though it gripped the nation He was a Irish immigrant. So needless to say he was born in this country and was not raised in its patrotic fevor. He was ordained and educated in Rome before coming to preach to us heathen Southerners.

    Here is a web site on him
    http://www.fathercoyle.org/index.htm

    Now a interesting note to this is that the Lawyer that defended the person that killed him later went to the US Supreme Court. That is Hugo Black. Anyway this is the peom he wrote and I would say that it is quite Patrotic

    Our National Flag

    Do they dare, do they dare, to say we love not thee,That we love thee not Old Glory, that floats above the free.That we re traitors to the Nation, that we cannot both be trueTo the glorious Church Christ founded, and the Red, White and Blue.

    They say the Roman Pontiff may ask us to betray The glorious flag of Freedom s land, and we must needs obey.We must haul down at his behest, and in the mire must dragThe folds of dear Old Glory, our nation s glorious flag.

    Oh, they lie, they lie and know it, the base and bigot crewWho say such things do basely lie. They know that we are true.They know full well, that all the years that saw Old Glory wave Saw sons of Mother Church stand staunch, the bravest of the brave.

    We ve shed our blood on many a field, we ve fought on every sea For the Stars and Stripes, the Nation s flag of the brave and the free.Again we swear if called to fight, we ll gladly, proudly go To man your ships and serve your gun’s gainst any foreign foe.

    We ll go, and Holy Church will bless the guns and swords of ours,We use to bring destruction dire’ gainst any hostile powers.Our love of Country does not change the love to God we bear.God and our Country, both we love, for both we ll do and dare.

    Pray when did Pontiff message send, to ask us traitors be To that dear flag, the Stars and Stripes, that waves above the free?Not any year, of all the years since first Old Glory flew Were sons of Church base traitor knaves. No, they were leal and true.

    And leal and true are we today, we ll follow where it waves; We ll follow even though if floats above our foreign graves. We ve sworn to serve that Glorious Flag, Let s swear the oath anew,Our flag, Old Glory, Freedom s Flag, the Red and White and Blue

    http://www.fathercoyle.org/writings.htm

  60. Mark D. permalink*
    March 14, 2008 10:46 pm

    And so is Phyllis Wheatley’s poetry, written 3/4 of a century earlier.

    Perhaps you could give us a book report.

  61. March 14, 2008 11:04 pm

    Honestly, I just don’t get the freedom thing. How is a government deciding it won’t persecute me freedom? I mean, I don’t think it should persecute me, but freedom?

    If somebody bigger than came up to me and told me he wouldn’t hurt me I wouldn’t immediately be thankful for the “freedom,” I wouldn’t think he was being honorable. Why should I think that about the State?

    All it really does is deprive me of the opportunity of being a martyr for doing stuff I would do anyways.

  62. Morning's Minion permalink*
    March 14, 2008 11:07 pm

    What are we now, Closed Cafeteria? This garish and ugly secular flag has no place in a Catholic blog.

  63. March 14, 2008 11:27 pm

    What, did I turn this into amateur American literature night?

    Wheatley’s poetry is quite good, though given the formalism of the time, I think most people today would find her personal story more moving than her verses.

    I like it, though I’m not sure why you, Mark, would find such pieces as her poem to George Washington:

    http://www.jmu.edu/madison/center/main_pages/madison_archives/era/african/free/wheatley/poems/wash.htm

    pleasing if you find the lyrics of God Bless America embarrassing.

    Or perhaps it’s the temerity of someone posting the lyrics you find offensive?

    Incidentally, to explain my recommendation of The Man Without a Country, it was written during the civil war by an abolitionist minister. It recounts the story of a young naval officer who, following Aaron Burr’s treason of 1807, is arrested and court martialled for his part in the proceedings. Before the court he exclaims, “God damn the United States. I hope never to hear it’s name again!”

    Which, in the end, is the sentence that is put upon him.

    No mere patriotic pulp, however, it is a deeply moving and humane story.

  64. Mark D. permalink*
    March 14, 2008 11:56 pm

    I apologize by the failure to pick up on your reference and the snide retort. I guess my two graduate courses in AA lit. failed to lead me to either the author or piece.

    Wheatley’s subversive and power content is oftentimes indisernible to many, I concur, because of her formalism,

    To be honest, I do not know what you want to make of the Washington piece.

    Otherwise, play your games and blather on.

  65. G. Alkon permalink
    March 15, 2008 12:16 am

    When you say God Bless America, do you mean God Bless the United States?

    Or do you mean God Bless the nations and peoples of the continents of North and South America? God Bless Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua, Belize, Mexico, the United States, and Canada?

  66. grega permalink
    March 15, 2008 12:32 am

    I think this post in all its simplicity raises a good number of interesting questions for the American Catholic.

    “This garish and ugly secular flag has no place in a Catholic blog.” is certainly on one end of the spectrum as a view.

    Of course it is silly to assume that God would bless America any more or less than any other group of his creations and/or their homeland. I guess that is what Mark D. expressed – or tried to express. But nevertheless a majority of Americans take some enormous comfort from the posted lyrics and the underlying patriotism why?
    For the similar reasons that some of our good catholic mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters perhaps took/take some great comfort when they pray the rosary.
    For the same reason that some treasure pilgrimages to Lourdes or other places of irrationale wonder.

    It is not about rationale reasoning per se but more about the community – and the joy of belonging to one. In that sense I can not see much fault with the post.

    Feddie asked a veiled question – I fear some of us did not give the appropriate answer or were overshooting by quite a bit IMHO.

  67. Mark D. permalink*
    March 15, 2008 12:46 am

    Grega,

    Yes. Community. And whenever a race has been systemically severed from communal experience by something as arbitray as skin color, I can at least empathize whenever one of them gets carried away and proclaims, “God damn America.”

    Maybe others have rock hearts and tinnier ears.

  68. March 15, 2008 1:31 am

    This entire thread is an embarrassment. How utterly childish. You’ve turned a place of orthodox Catholic dialogue into a 6 year-old slap fest. Mark D and Michael I, chill out. By reacting to this thread so vehemently you’ve only made yourselves look foolish in my opinion. Were Alexham’s intentions in posting this simply to get a rise? Hell, that may be the case. But how utterly childish. Honestly, the absence of charity is just embarrassing. No generosity, nothing. This post is indicative of what can go wrong with this blog.

    When you all grow up, maybe I’ll give it the time of day.

    Pax Christi,

  69. ThirdPartier permalink
    March 15, 2008 2:37 am

    68 responses to God Bless America. I’m this close to abandoning this blog.

  70. G. Alkon permalink
    March 15, 2008 6:56 am

    The problem with this thread is

    1) is the deliberate and stupid provocation of Alexham/Feddie in his post.

    2) the fact that he was not ignored.

    God bless Jeremiah Wright.

  71. G. Alkon permalink
    March 15, 2008 7:07 am

    God damn those who have turned the request for God’s blessing into a way of extorting expressions of allegiance to war policy.

  72. Phillip permalink
    March 15, 2008 7:22 am

    No, it was a corrective to Rev. Wright’s hatred (not just of America but of whitesand Jews quite likely.) Good thing Obama condemned him. He does have some sense it seems. Too bad others on this blog do not.

  73. Phillip permalink
    March 15, 2008 7:43 am

    Though I was watching the dreaded EWTN last night (first time in about a month.) They showed an old Fulton Sheen show. In it he talked about patriotism. He noted that this virtue has its root in the word pietas. That is pietas being a proper love for God, family and country. All of which stem from pietas. He noted that where there was a lack of proper love for one, there was a lack of love for the others as this demonstrated a defect of pietas. I don’t know if this generalization is true but it does serve as a point of reflection in this final week of Lent.

  74. G. Alkon permalink
    March 15, 2008 8:05 am

    Patriotism is fine.

    But the song God Bless America has been associated, almost constantly, with support for an unjust war condemned repeatedly the Church.

    Many do not want to sing along with the song if it means participated in subtly coercive pro-war activities.

    When did Wright express hatred for whites and Jews?

  75. Fr. J. permalink
    March 15, 2008 9:33 am

    “But the song God Bless America has been associated, almost constantly, with support for an unjust war condemned repeatedly the Church.”

    Says who? I associate the song with July 4th.

    God Bless America–and every other land and people.

  76. March 15, 2008 9:56 am

    The comments section over at this post on Insight Scoop have some interesting discussion about the issue.

  77. March 15, 2008 9:57 am

    oops that last post was not meant for Vox-Nova, but for another blog. The problem with having two windows open at once!

  78. Mark D. permalink*
    March 15, 2008 10:11 am

    One would expect the good clergyman not to attempt to reflame a fire that was so feebily set that it was laughed out with snarkery hours ago…

    I am glad there is still such a good philosophy department there, in order to aid young Catholics in developing feeling intellects.

  79. Dudley permalink
    March 15, 2008 10:23 am

    As long as we’re looking at lyrics, the 4th stanza of The National Anthem (Star Spangled Banner) is this:

    Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
    Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
    Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
    Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
    Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
    And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

    Please note: National Anthem declares “In God is our trust”.

  80. digbydolben permalink
    March 15, 2008 11:07 am

    For the first time, I agree with X-Cathedra; this whole thread IS an embarrassment. Howerver, a question and an observation, for both sides:

    1) May not “love” for one’s country actually include “tough love”–that is, a willingness to criticise her when she’s doing wrong–such as conducting an immoral and illegal occupation of another people’s land?

    2) Does anybody here actually think that Roman Catholic websites in other countries–countries whose cultures are more deeply imbued with at least a residue of Catholic faith–actually do include such paens to nationalism, and symbols of nationalist fervour? Of course, those groups, like San Egidio in Italy, do, indeed, pray for their country, and quite openly, but they balance thanksgiving for her accomplishments and graces with pleas for forgiveness of her sins.

    What is lacking here, on both sides, is the kind of balance that is characteristic of a genuinely Catholic culture. America has very little of the “balance” that is part of a truly Catholic perspective, and one can see this lack of “balance” running throughout this horribly embarrassing thread.

  81. March 15, 2008 11:18 am

    Indeed, well said, digby.

    Pax Christi,

  82. Donald R. McClarey permalink
    March 15, 2008 11:18 am

    An interesting meditation on the Fourth of July by Frederick Douglass:

    http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=162

  83. March 15, 2008 11:28 am

    Digby I gues I disagree with a tad that all that is lacking in America. It seems to me that Christianity in America has always been at the forefront of Criticizing of America.

    You see this on the left and right. From the right one often hears it as to social issues such as Abortion, The Right to Life, and common morality. On the left needless to say Christianity has been quite vocal.

    Was not the anti slavery movement religious at its core with talk of Amerca’s sins. What about the Civil Rights movement and the major resistiance to state mandated segregation and other things of that nature. From the Prohibition movement to people opposing wars religion has always been on the forefront.

    Now it is true in AMerican with it s diversity of Christian communities that there is no common Liturgical way to express that. However it is very present.

    That being said I think this thread has been instructive. It does show there needs to be an balance.

    I am not sure why Alex is getting hammered here. I mean how often do we hear the opposite side of this issue talk about horrible there is Amercian Themed song sung at Mass or the horrors of the American Civic religion. I am sure that this Fourth of July we shall have another version last years FOurth of July posts

  84. digbydolben permalink
    March 15, 2008 11:46 am

    JH, unbalanced–and largely uncharitable religiosity has, indeed, been at the forefront of American politics.

    I am not one who believes that the Abolitionist Movement or the American Civil War were good things. I think that the proponents of both were fanatical dis-respecters of human life.

    The Civil Rights Movement of the 60s, however, DID embody the best aspects of American religiosity largely because, unlike the Abolitionist Movement and Lincoln’s anti-federalist, nationalist crusade, it was non-violent.

  85. March 15, 2008 12:01 pm

    Digby and others,
    I was not sure how to comment on this thread. I do however like the turn it has made, thanks!

    enjoy Lent
    peace to all

  86. Blackadder permalink
    March 15, 2008 12:03 pm

    Digby,

    A very thoughtful comment. On your first point we are in full agreement. As Chesterton once quips, saying “My country, right or wrong” is like saying “My Mother, drunk or sober.” It is not only the right but the duty of patriotic citizens to speak up if they think their country is heading for moral or material disaster, and Chesterton himself did so during the Boer War. But unfortunately there does seem to be a difference between G.K.’s views and at least some on the American left today. The “Little Englanders” were fiercely anti-imperialistic, but they were in no sense anti-English. It was, in fact, their belief in the greatness English culture and values and their profound love of country that impelled their activity. While this is still true for many on the left today, sadly there does seem to be a significant number of people for whom the problem the problem with U.S. policy today is not that it is inconsistent with America’s traditions and values, but that it is utterly consistent with them, who view America as a fundamentally racist, sexist, imperialist nation, not worthy of any loyalty. Michael Walzer describes the phenomenon here. (Walzer, it should be noted, is a self-described man of the left and socialist, whose book, Just and Unjust Wars, is considered by many to be the best secular treatment of Just War theory of the last 40 years; and he opposed the Iraq war, fwiw).

    On your second point, having been to Poland I can tell you that religion is infused with national identity there to a much greater degree than it is here in the States. So not only would I not be surprised if a Polish website put up a picture of the Polish flag, I would be surprised if anyone objected to it. And if Poland is not a country which is deeply imbued with at least a residue of Catholic faith, then I’m not sure there is such a country.

  87. March 15, 2008 12:28 pm

    Indeed, if anything the Catholic experience in America is much _less_ tied to love of country that Catholicism has traditionally been countries throughout the world.

    I would not be at all surprised to see a similar patriotism displayed by French, Italian or Austrian Catholics. And that is in this much-diminished modern age. Recall that before the age of revolutions, France and the Holy Roman Empire especially were seen as literally daughters of the Church.

  88. radicalcatholicmom permalink
    March 15, 2008 12:39 pm

    Blackadder: Most Catholic countries ALWAYS display their flags with their faith. When Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated, the Mexicans come to Liturgy decked out in their Mexican flags and traditional clothes.

    I understand why MI and MM are upset because they want to shy away from “America is the Greatest Country on Earth” while we allow our kids to be killed legally and while we wage an unjust war on another population.

    At the same time, though, I don’t think there is ANYTHING contrary to Feddie’s desire to ask God to Bless Us and to thank Him for our freedoms. i pray that all the time, but my prayer in NO WAY means I am not conscious of the grave evils we Americans participate in.

    I assure you, when I got home from Ecuador after the military took control while I was there, I was kissing the American ground when I got off the plane. And when I saw my American flag I cried. My girlfriend (who had been detained by the Ecuadoran military) had the same reaction.

    Michael and Morning’s Minion, why is it so “either/or” for you? Most of us are thankful for our homes and America is my home. At the same time I completely understand that as a Christian, America and Home is not my end. We are pilgrims passing through to a better place. I am married to a Mexican and if you were tell my Mexican relatives that they couldn’t both love their homeland and their God the response would be brutal!

  89. March 15, 2008 12:46 pm

    I think the real question was, why was this posted? Is it solely to get people upset? Is it to mark some sort of American triumphalism and or exceptionism? And why, exactly, and in what way are we looking for blessings for America?

    Certainly we can and should look for and pray for the leaders of the nations of the world, and look for and hope for blessings for all. But the question is in what fashion is it intended here and in what fashion should we do so as Christians?

    So one can and should see the greatness of locality but only in relation to the openness to a greater whole (ultimately humanity as one) and not as a way to separate the locality from the whole (whatever the locality one wants: the individual, one’s neighborhood, one’s city, one’s country, etc; when it is done this way, it follows through with the separating of things to ‘one’s own’ in a way following Satanic pride). But this locality is a relational good and must always be seen in that light. And in this way one can understand there is good in America.

    But — obviously — there was a purpose for this post. As this is the case, is it even really looking for blessings at all?

  90. March 15, 2008 12:56 pm

    As I have explain privately to my cobloggers, there is a context to this post given its timing, As anyone not living under a rock knows, there has been heated debate at this blog and throughout the blogsphere over Rev. Wright’s asking God to da*n the United States, with many people passionately defending him doing so (including some of our own contributors). I simply wondered how these same people woudl respond to a post as simple as this one, asking God to Bless America.

    There was no need for anyone to be offended by the post. But people were. And to me, that says more about them then it does about me.

  91. Sbuck permalink
    March 15, 2008 1:02 pm

    Henry, you may speculate as to whether Feddie is posting in “charity,” but it’s for darn sure that you weren’t posting in “charity” when you recently accused me of “misrepresenting” other people’s positions, even though what I had said was indisputably true (other people had indeed labeled Hagee “anti-Semitic”).

  92. March 15, 2008 1:20 pm

    I think I had seen vox-nova.com mentioned somewhere before, but didn’t know what it was. I guess it’s a place for intolerant America haters who claim to be Catholic attack the few hardy souls who are not of their tribe. Thanks alexham, for exposing this bunch. Now I know what this place is about.

  93. Sbuck permalink
    March 15, 2008 1:24 pm

    There was no need for anyone to be offended by the post. But people were. And to me, that says more about them then it does about me.

    Exactly. Henry wonders whether the post was meant “solely to get people upset?” Well, what defensible reason is there for any American to get upset at such an innocuous post? Feddie didn’t say that America was perfect, and he certainly wasn’t “extorting expressions of allegiance to war policy,” as the ever-hysterical Alkon said above.

  94. March 15, 2008 1:30 pm

    So if someone did a God bless Bin Laden post, not calling Bin Laden perfect, it would just be an innocuous post? Of course we should ALL say God bless Bin Laden. Will you do it with me? God bless Bin Laden (Matthew 5:44; Romans 12:14). And may God bless Stuart Buck next to Bin Laden.

  95. Sbuck permalink
    March 15, 2008 1:49 pm

    I’ll take that as a retraction of your previous conduct towards me (as should be obvious, I don’t mind vigorous or even harsh disagreement, but I do object to false accusations). Thanks!

  96. Mark D. permalink*
    March 15, 2008 3:07 pm

    Feddie,

    It took you this long to admit your utter pettiness.

    You now admit that snidely and in a ugly fashion belched out those three words in obvious mockery, and your doing so simply disgusts me.

    We are a religion of communio, as our God is a communio of self-empting, all giving love.

    As a fact, our country’s material prosperity and public psyche hinges upun a willful and systematic severing or a whole race for something as arbitrary as skin color, and sadly, we have not dealt with this adequaetely or resposiblt fully yet as a nation. I waalk around every day in the inner city streets of Cleveland and Pittsburg and am painfully reminded of this every day. I see alienation, no sense of community, and this a wekened ability to appreciate self and others as wonderful sons and daughters of God. The result is violence, crime, loathing and despair.

    Like it or not, my friend, America was materially founded on identity politics and the social cosequences of that terrible sin are still very, very alive in the African Americans I choose to love as my neighor. You can take an over the top statement that comes out of an all-too-understandable sentiment and attempt to exploit it for political ends. In fact, you do so gleefully. You contiue identity politics by doing so, in the most insidious manner.

    Are you proud of that? Do you like the opportunity it gives you top call me an American hater? If so, your perverted pleasures should give you something to think about as Christ identifies with innocent suffering and sin entire this next week.

    Grow up, my friend.

  97. M.Z. Forrest permalink
    March 15, 2008 3:15 pm

    Mr. DiCarlo,

    There are 14 contributors, give or take. Inform your opinion before you slander all of us. Do appreciate the irony of thanking a contributor for exposing all the contributors. While I can appreciate many of the criticisms of the tone on the blog, most of the criticism of the substance of this blog has been from political hacks whose only interaction with opposing views is in caricature and part of fund raising drives. Other criticism comes from folks who freely fling the charge of heresy and psuedo-Catholic at bishops, episcopal conferences, and even Rome.

  98. david permalink
    March 15, 2008 3:16 pm

    I bet Mike I., the world’s smartest West Virginian, calls someone stupid a dozen times a day. Is education and intelligence directly proportional?

  99. March 15, 2008 3:17 pm

    Mark D.-

    No one made you make an ass of yourself. You did that on your own accord. And you are just about the least “loving” commenter on this website. You are a nasty little man, and your comments are prima facie evidence of this.

    And you can characterize my intentions as you wish, but my post served as an alternative to the disgusting defense on this website of a disgusting human being. Unlike you, I love my country, and I meant every word in this post. That you chose to be offended by it is your problem, not mine.

  100. bill bannon permalink
    March 15, 2008 3:28 pm

    Mark D
    A black is running for president. A black heads Darden restaurants. A black headed Merril Lynch until the recent subprime mortgage mess. CEO’s also include Kenneth Chenault, chairman and CEO, American Express; Aylwin Lewis, president and CEO, Kmart; Pamela Thomas-Graham, CEO and president, CNBC; Richard Parsons, chairman and CEO, Time Warner.
    John Thompson, chairman and CEO of Cupertino computer security firm Symantec; Chuck Phillips, co-president at database giant Oracle in Redwood City; and Myrtle Potter, a president at biotech company Genentech in South San Francisco. D. Steve Boland, 36, president and managing director of LandSafe Inc., a division of Countrywide Financial Corp.

    I sent a very tough black girl to Catholic school in Newark for years and paid those tuition bills and others and I’m white as can be. That also is the US in action.

    Turning toward murderous violence due to poverty is the right of not one black person in the US. If you think it is, tell it to the parents of the North Carolina outstanding female student who was just killed for her ATM card by two young blacks…one of whom apparently killed before for pocket change. Tape the conversation for me.
    Most blacks have zero interest in thugdom and its excuses. They know that they are the primary victim of these sloths as the OT would call them.

  101. Sbuck permalink
    March 15, 2008 3:32 pm

    There are 14 contributors, give or take.

    A number that is diminishing as more temperate contributors depart . . . .

  102. Mark. D permalink*
    March 15, 2008 3:34 pm

    One is calling people American haters and asses. This is what amounts to his arguments, all ornamented by love of country.

    Who is that, the scapegoating Feddie?

    Is this a cover for his refusal to look at painful social reality?

    How glorious and sanctimonious does he feel ? He loves his country!

  103. March 15, 2008 3:59 pm

    Jeremiah Wright screams “GOD DAMN AMERICA” — from his sermon, one might gather that “America” is constituted of “rich, white people” who live for nothing more than to acquire as much wealth as possible and kill off the black man by inventing AIDS and distributing crack cocaine, with 9/11 being nothing more than its just reward.

    When I hear such tirades — all too common among the Left — I’m not entirely sure whether he hates the sin that is in America or a disgust with America itself. And compared to that kind of hatred, “God bless America” comes like a breath of fresh air. And the hysterical and spiteful reactions of his colleagues on this blog speak volumes.

    And when it comes to slavery, I’m inclined to agree with the historian Paul Johnson (History of the American People):

    In America the moral and political dilemma over slavery had been there right from the start, since by a sinister coincidence 1619 marked the beginning of both slavery and representative government. But it had inevitably become more acute, since the identification of American moral Christianity, its undefined national religion, with democracy made slavery come to seem both an offense against God and an offense against the nation. Ultimately the American religious impulse and slavery were incompatible. Hence the Second Great Awakening, with its huge intensification of religious passion, sounded the death-knell of American slavery just as the First Awakening had sounded the death-knell of British colonialism.

    Darwin recommends Hale’s “A Man without a Country” (I love that story); a more contemprary example might be a book my father read to us when we were little: Peter Jenkin’s memoir, A Walk Across America, about an angry young radical who was challenged by an older, wiser man to explore the country he was thinking about leaving, and literally walked across our nation, meeting and staying with American citizens of every color, class and stripe along the way. I guess he wanted to teach us something.

  104. Mark D permalink
    March 15, 2008 4:23 pm

    “there is a context to this post given its timing, As anyone not living under a rock knows, there has been heated debate at this blog and throughout the blogsphere over Rev. Wright’s asking God to da*n the United States, with many people passionately defending him doing so (including some of our own contributors). I simply wondered how these same people woudl respond to a post as simple as this one, asking God to Bless America.

    The 2nd Commandment: Though shall not take the name of God in vain.

  105. March 15, 2008 4:35 pm

    One must also know God’s blessings and mercy and grace is always side by side with God’s judgment. If you want one, you must have the other. If you want blessing, you have to have humility and accept the — condemnation. But it is in that accepting of judgment, in the point of crisis, that one finds God’s blessing.

    So is there really any separation between “God bless America” with “God damn America”? Perhaps not too much. For the blessing includes the judgment.

  106. March 15, 2008 4:36 pm

    And just how did I take the Lord’s name in vain.

    You really are pathetic, Mark D.

  107. Mard. D permalink*
    March 15, 2008 4:56 pm

    You admitted that you uttered “God Bless America” as a purposely provocative statement, not to only seek God’s blessings, but to ‘test’ others as America lovers in the light of the hick mentality evidenced in your words thoughout this thread.

    Does the truth hurt?

  108. Donald R. McClarey permalink
    March 15, 2008 4:58 pm

    The Left in this country, as this thread indicates, is, by and large, deeply ambivalent about America. Such an attitude of course limits their political effectiveness. If, as I think increasingly unlikely, Obama receives the Democrat nomination, a majority of the voters will demonstrate that they are able to distinguish between God blessing America and God damning America.

  109. Morning's Minion permalink*
    March 15, 2008 5:23 pm

    The curse of slavery, Christopher, could have been ended decades earlier had not the United States rebeled by force against the United Kingdom.

  110. digbydolben permalink
    March 15, 2008 5:30 pm

    The “ambivalence,” Mr. McClarey is not about the American people OR the American principles as embodied in the Founders’ documents. It is, instead, about the wrong directions that so-called “Leftists” feel that America has gone in during the last century.

    Your “ambivalence” is similar to that of the “leftists,” because you, too, believe that “America” has gone in the wrong directions regarding abortion and stem cell research.

    Why, then, may one not describe you, as well, as being “ambivalent about America”? You would characterize your “ambivalence” as faithfulness to higher principles than those of “rule by law” and judicial interpretation of the Constitution. Why is it that you cannot see that for us “leftists” (I’m actually a “left libertarian,” but we’ll let such fine points go, for the sake of argument…), opposition to colonialist wars and “unitary executives” amounts to being true to OUR idea of what America was and should continue to be?

    Don’t you see that your ideology is blinding you to unfairness and indecency in these discussions and making of you merely a propogandist for a mindless “right wing” (and hardly “conservative”) agenda?

  111. March 15, 2008 5:52 pm

    You admitted that you uttered “God Bless America” as a purposely provocative statement, not to only seek God’s blessings, but to ‘test’ others as America lovers in the light of the hick mentality evidenced in your words thoughout this thread.

    To say a good and worthy thing in the knowledge that one is probably surrounded by those who will despise those good words is not to take in vain. If I know that I am in the presence of a racist, and say, “God bless every one of our black and brown brothers — many of them are better than us.” I may know that this will drive said racist into a rage. But that is because I know that there resides in him a hatred for what is good and true.

    I don’t get the impression that Freddie put up his post in order to “test” people. What would be the point? Many of you he doesn’t even know personally. He put it forth as a witness to filial devotion to ones country, in the knowledge that there were many present who would doubtless find such a thing mockable. He was right. That’s said for the people who feel that way, but it doesn’t reflect badly on Freddy, who has hardly been a patriotic Savanorola on the thread.

    MM,

    One of the reasons that Britain ended the slave trade thirty years earlier is that it had already dispossessed itself of all its slave-dependent possessions. I rather suspect someone was going to have to fight the South before it was all over, and all things considered I have no great sorrow it was us. Or are you against colonialism at all times except when it involved this section of North America?

    Henry,

    The rationalization is getting silly. I owe devotion and love to my family, and indeed that obligation is spelled out quite clearly in the Decalogue, in Wisdom, and elsewhere. I also am aware that each member of my family will be called before God’s judgment. Yet it would be entirely inappropriate for me to routinely stay. “God bless my family. And God damn them too.”

    Similarly, it’s indeed important to pray for our enemies. (While I’m at it: God bless Osama Bin Ladin, Pastor Hagee, Hugo Chavez, Reverent Wright, and any bloggers who think I’m scum.) However, certain forms of association when listing one’s intentions are most certainly to be taken as either a veiled accusation or an attempt to score piety points by praying for unlikely people in an over-the-top fashion.

    For instance, all sinners very much need our prayers, as do our parents. But if one were to go about publicly praying, “God bless my mother and all murderers, thieves, whores and druggies” people would rather rightly conclude that the pray-er was either trying to make a point about his mother, or trying to assert his amazing piety in praying for categories of sinners in the same breath as his mother. Either way, it’s not really a good way to behave.

  112. March 15, 2008 6:06 pm

    Mark asks: “Does the truth hurt?”

    Yes, truth hurts! That’s why few are inclined to explore it. Thus the divide.

    Some seek to “Praise America.” Others seek to “Save America.” But those who “Praise America” have anger in their voice: “Save America From Who?” And the Voice of America’s Conscience replies: “Why, Save America From Itself!” After all, who else can threaten America’s integrity? Certainly not the terrorists!

  113. Frank permalink
    March 15, 2008 6:17 pm

    I have never visited this blog before, so I don’t know if the amount of hatred shown here is typical or not, but this thread is amazing and distressing.

    Do you think that our Father in Heaven is celebrating His children attacking each other so viciously and snidely? Can you imagine our Lord guffawing and patting you on the back when you make a rhetorical point? Can you actually hear His voice saying, “You sure got him! Good one! Give ‘im another!”

    “By your fruits you shall know them.” Is this how Christians treat their brothers and sisters in Christ, on the eve of Holy Week, no less?

    For shame.

  114. radicalcatholicmom permalink
    March 15, 2008 7:32 pm

    “There are 14 contributors, give or take.

    A number that is diminishing as more temperate contributors depart . . . .”
    Sbuck: Give me a break!

  115. T. Shaw permalink
    March 15, 2008 9:28 pm

    Note to self: Include “Thank the Lord that I am not an intellectual.” among prayers of thanksgiving.

  116. March 15, 2008 9:32 pm

    Yes, please God bless America. Bless our President and the Congress. Bless the worker, the farmer, the homemaker and bless the rich and powerful and the poor and weak. Bless the immigrant and bless the native peoples. Bless us with peace and justice. Bless our whole nation, help us to maintain our freedoms and to be an example to other nations. Through the prayers of Mary Immaculate, Patroness of America, bless us O Lord!

  117. Sbuck permalink
    March 15, 2008 9:57 pm

    RCM — Sorry, I didn’t mean for that comment to apply to all of the contributors at Vox Nova. I merely meant that a few contributors are intemperate (pretty obvious who they are), and that one of the others had departed.

  118. ajmalkov permalink
    March 15, 2008 11:47 pm

    I, too am visiting this blog for the first time.

    I am very shocked that I am in a forum for Roman Catholics like myself. I would have hoped for a more respectful and thoughtful discourse. Instead I feel like a troll at the Huffington Post hate site. I will not be back.

  119. Mike permalink
    March 16, 2008 12:10 am

    ajmalkov, if you think the Huffington Post is a hate site, you don’t know what hate means. Or do you think “hate” means “criticizing Republicans who have tried their best to destroy America”?

  120. jennifer permalink
    March 16, 2008 12:15 am

    I just stumbled on this strange blog. You all say you are Catholics, but you seem so full of hate. In the words of David Mamet, “shut the….”; oops! that’s not so Christian of me either. I think you all are rubbng off on me. :)

  121. jim permalink
    March 16, 2008 12:28 am

    Like several others, I’m a Catholic who was sent a link to this page by a family member. I’m just puzzled by the anti-American loathing I’ve read. I don’t understand it. I come from a large midwestern Irish Catholic family. We are very patriotic and love America very much. I love the song God Bless America and other patriotic tunes like America the Beautiful. I sing them sometimes while driving to work.

    I don’t understand why anyone would have a problem with that — or express that anger in such an ugly, vulgar manner.

  122. March 16, 2008 1:55 am

    alex/feddie,

    Great experiment.

    So far:

    RadicalCatholicMom
    X-Cathedra
    Mornings Minions
    G. Alkon
    and
    Digby

    Have been exposed as hating America through their comments on this post.

    Simple. I’m sure their diatribes will continue through invectives and straw-man arguments. This bunch of Benedict Arnolds would make Katerina & Policratus proud.

  123. March 16, 2008 2:44 am

    Tito,

    Read. Seriously read. I don’t know what you’re smoking, but honestly copy and paste my post and tell me in detail how that could possibly be interpreted as hating America. Your presumption disgusts me. You are an impediment to dialogue. I honestly challenge you: back up your claim.

    I hope you are being sarcastic, otherwise I have no idea what you are talking about.

    Pax Christi,

  124. Phil permalink
    March 16, 2008 4:24 am

    What a strange post. Isn’t this intended to be a theological discussion board and not a silly USA nationalism forum? Surely you can find some rah rah rah for the USA web site to post this kind of thing on rather than sully a discussion board like this?

  125. arewak permalink
    March 16, 2008 7:17 am

    I have suggested in the past that the comments section be disabled permanently, because it has outlived its usefulness as far as fostering a shared devotion to the body of Christ.

  126. Dick Mulliken permalink
    March 16, 2008 8:34 am

    I get tears in my eyes when the flag passes by. A radical Leftist, I firmly believe we are the greatest nation on earth and mankind’s last best hope.

  127. March 16, 2008 9:13 am

    You admitted that you uttered “God Bless America” as a purposely provocative statement, not to only seek God’s blessings, but to ‘test’ others as America lovers in the light of the hick mentality evidenced in your words thoughout this thread.

    Yes, Mark is right. Steve Dillard’s post is a perfect illustration of the biblical meaning of taking the Lord’s name in vain. Well done, Steve!

  128. JohnB permalink
    March 16, 2008 9:22 am

    I think this comments thread is unfortunate. Most of these commentators have been going back and forth for months, and in many cases have developed real animosities towards each other.

    For anyone coming to VN for the first time, it’s like watching a couple that’s been married for 35 years screaming at each other over whether or not they should see a movie after dinner. There is a lot more going on with the commentators than a discussion of ‘God Bless America’. Even so, it would be nice if everyone tried to engage each other more respectfully. It is is important to remember that comments threads are read by more people than those who post comments.

  129. JohnB permalink
    March 16, 2008 9:36 am

    As an addendum, I am not excusing the commentators behavior by contextualizing it. Regardless of prior discussions, they should be more civil.

  130. arewak permalink
    March 16, 2008 10:31 am

    That’s why I think it needs to go…you know, like St. Paul’s chop off thy sinful hand theology.

  131. March 16, 2008 11:09 am

    I have to agree with those who are baffled at the lack of charity and the name-calling on this thread. I am new to Vox-Nova. I have been reading it less than a month, and yet it seems like many threads quickly degenerate into the “I am smarter than you” accusations, and back-and-forth name-calling. Maybe I am just not tuned into the VN “vibe,” but I don’t think it is a place for reasonable discussion when it turns into this.

  132. digbydolben permalink
    March 16, 2008 11:12 am

    I’m sorry, Mr. Arewak, but disagreement, even strong, spirited controversy, is NOT “hatred.” The inability of Americans to be able to stomach spirited political discourse–including political discourse that rests upon theological underpinnings–is one of the clearest delineations of the decline of democracy in America.

    Yes, just put on a pretty and “positive” face while the democratic spirit and the egalitarianism that are BASED on Christian values are uprooted and destroyed–that’s real “Christian LOVE.”

    You Americans should watch the verbal pyrotechnics of the British Parliament to get a REAL idea of how a genuine democracy works. Of course, after watching those spirited animadversions and having your delicate sensibilities curdled by the fierceness of those debates and criticisms, you’d be shocked to see the opponents walk off and have a beer together, in fine fraternal spirit.

    There is no “love” whatsoever in those who wish to turn off the corrective of spirited argumentation. Instead there is the ressentiment of the decadent Christianity Nietzsche spoke of. Both Catholicism AND democracy are decadent in America.

  133. March 16, 2008 11:50 am

    Wow. Amazing. Someone puts up the traditional hymn “God Bless America” and nothing more, and is accused of all sorts of terrible crimes.

    Reading through these comments is surreal, especially from some of those commenters who have a huge chip on their shoulder and wish all other Americans to share in their misery.

    And then to parade the name of Jesus self-righteously around, all the while denigrating, insulting, and accusing fellow Catholics.

    Ridiculous.

  134. Phil permalink
    March 16, 2008 1:04 pm

    Christine,

    God Bless America is not a hymn, it is not a praise to God or a song about God, it is just one of dozens of national songs that try to recruit God into the service of a nation-state which make the song basically into a kind of paganism. When Christian folk try conform themselves to the goals and desires of their nation-state and also to its religious pretensions they thereby abandon the teaching of Christ and reject the example that Christ set of being salt and light to the world but not becoming a part of the world.

    Any Christian who is foolish enough to believe that the post that heads this exchange of comments is some kind of innocent foray into Christian hymnody is just being a dupe of its author’s purpose. A purpose that is revealed on his own blog-site.

  135. March 16, 2008 1:06 pm

    Of all the blogs I’ve ever read this blog is the only one I’ve come across that has shown no charity and only venom to those that espouse orthodoxy (of course Evangelical Catholicism falls into the Vox Nova category).

  136. March 16, 2008 1:10 pm

    This blog is the mose uncharitable and mean-spirited blog I’ve come across in the Catholic blogosphere. It’s a shame that liberal Catholics are unable to engage in a civil conversation.

  137. radicalcatholicmom permalink
    March 16, 2008 1:11 pm

    Tito: alex/feddie,

    Great experiment.

    So far:

    RadicalCatholicMom
    X-Cathedra
    Mornings Minions
    G. Alkon
    and
    DigbyHave been exposed as hating America through their comments on this post.”

    Tito: Back off! Unless YOU are serving your country in uniform, BACK OFF! I am an ARMY WIFE, SIR! Don’t you DARE! And from your comments and the time you spend causing problems on other peoples’ blogs, I seriously doubt you do anything other than type on your computer all day long! Your patriotism is CHEAP when you don’t put YOUR LIFE on the line if you TRULY believe this country is great, my husband will get a big fat bonus if you choose to sign up for any branch of the military. Just make sure you send us your name and address so we can get the benefits of YOUR service.

    Right now the military is taking everyone they can get including high school drop outs because people LIKE YOU who are OH SO PATRIOTIC BUT NOT ENOUGH TO PUT THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE. Really you can sign up for Army Guard, Reserves, AGR, Active Army,Air Force Active Duty, Air Force Reserves, AFAGR, Marine Corp Reserves, Marine Corp Active Duty. i could continue but you get the idea.

    Really, Tito, let us know when you are going to be shipped off. And, please, don’t pull the “they won’t take me because I have bad knees” defense. My Marine bro was shipped back for his 3rd Tour of Duty blind in one eye (caused by his 1st Tour of Duty). My other Marine bro was shipped straight out of Fallujah (ever heard of that place, Tito) straight to Afghanistan even though his back was seriously injured. So, yeah, I don’t want to hear that you have “medical problems” and that is why you somehow LOVE YOUR COUNTRY so much but somehow cannot muster the ability to get yourself shipped off to your favorite wars.

  138. Phil permalink
    March 16, 2008 1:15 pm


    Dick Mulliken Says:
    March 16, 2008 at 8:34 am

    I get tears in my eyes when the flag passes by. A radical Leftist, I firmly believe we are the greatest nation on earth and mankind’s last best hope.

    When I read the above comment by Dick Mulliken I could not help wondering how Jesus Christ our Lord became a second best hope for mankind? I guess America really is seen as fulfilling a messianic role by some Christian folk. That is a great pity.

  139. March 16, 2008 1:19 pm

    RCM,

    Straw man argument.

    Vox Nova and Evangelical Catholicism are the only blogs that I have received nothing but hate and venom from you liberals. Honestly, sometimes I feel that I’m on Daily Kos.

    I have a God given right as well as those that are ensconed in the constitution of the greatest nation of all time, the great U-S-of-A to say my peace.

    Your rantings about being an army ‘wife’ is nothing but cheap cover to denigrate this country.

    So keep your socialistic ideals away from this great country of ours. I love this country and I know you don’t which has been expressly made clear by your venomous comments.

    May God have mercy on your soul.

  140. March 16, 2008 1:24 pm

    For the record: I have not seen anything that woud cause me to question RCM’s love of country.

    RCM has been nothing but kind to me since I started posting here, and I have the utmost respect for her.

  141. March 16, 2008 1:42 pm

    Feddie,

    I wish she would display the same kindness towards me.

    Tito

  142. radicalcatholicmom permalink
    March 16, 2008 1:56 pm

    Thank you, Feddie.

  143. Blackadder permalink
    March 16, 2008 1:56 pm

    Tito,

    Could be wrong, but from what I’ve seen, you’re the one who has gone around insulting people without cause. If you are looking to be shown kindness, that is not a good way to go about it.

  144. radicalcatholicmom permalink
    March 16, 2008 1:57 pm

    Tito, I passionately disagree with you but if I have been unkind to you first I would like to know when that has occurred, and second, I am sorry.

  145. Morning's Minion permalink*
    March 16, 2008 5:54 pm

    Tito: you are the ultimate “cafeteria Catholic” to use your own term. Your loyalty is to the nation state; mine is to God. Do not confuse Caesar with God. Do not confuse orthodoxy with loyalty to temporal administrative region. And if that language annoys you– well, start thinking as a Catholic for a change.

  146. Galloglasses permalink
    March 16, 2008 8:11 pm

    He isn’t confusing caeser with God, he is loyal to his nation an dworships his God. Loyalty to the Papacy is not orthodoxy, here you are correct, its just vitally important to it. Without it you are heterodox. Not to mention you’re ending sentence was derogatory and unneccsary, he was thinking like a Catholic as he apologised for the offence he may or not have caused, which it seems, judging by your response, you ignored.

    On the topic itself, it amuses me the controversy this poem has caused.

  147. Donna permalink
    March 16, 2008 9:21 pm

    “As nature and religion prescribe to children dutiful conduct towards the parents who brought them into the world, so nature and religion impose on citizens certain obligations towards their country and its rulers. These obligations may be reduced to those of patriotism and obedience. Patriotism requires that the citizen should have a reasonable esteem and love for his country. He should take an interest in his country’s history, he should know how to value her institutions, and he should be prepared to sacrifice himself for her welfare. In his country’s need it is not only a noble thing, but it is a sacred duty to lay down one’s life for the safety of the commonwealth.
    Love for his country will lead the citizen to show honour and respect to its rulers. They represent the State, and are entrusted by God with power to rule it for the common good. The citizen’s chief duty is to obey the just laws of his country. To be able to distinguish what laws of the civil authority are just and obligatory, it will be advisable to lay down the principles of Catholic theology respecting the nature, subject-matter, and limits of the obedience which citizens owe to the State.” — Catholic Enyclopedia 1917

    Pity the poor authors of the Catholic Enyclopedia. In 1917, they didn’t have MM around to set them straight and tell them to “think like Catholics.”

    I truly feel sorry for Americans who do not love America.

  148. March 16, 2008 9:23 pm

    What’s so special about the United States of America. It’s an ideal which is not always lived up to but it’s an ideal that many have died for and it is a good ideal. No other nation on earth has such a high ideal.

    The Declaration of Independance
    When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    One principle of the left is to secularize the nation. The only difference between the secular left and the so-called Catholic left on this blog with a few exceptions is to secularize it for the purpose of denigrating it’s ideal instead of celebrating it and moving (as the Holy Father urged) it to attain it’s ideal.

    God Bless,

    Matt
    ps. if the US is so corrupt, why on earth would you want it any more involved in your lives than it currenrtly is? Good grief.

  149. Mark DeFrancisis permalink*
    March 16, 2008 9:35 pm

    Donna quoted in highlights:

    “In his country’s need it is not only a noble thing, but it is a sacred duty to lay down one’s life for the safety of the commonwealth.”

    I think laying down one’s life for the safety of the commonwealth takes on many physical, intellectual and spiritual forms, of which some show marked deficiency in their ability to even acknowledge. And especially so at home.

  150. TeutonicTim permalink
    March 16, 2008 9:41 pm

    Well said Donna.

  151. Donna permalink
    March 16, 2008 10:25 pm

    I think laying down one’s life for the safety of the commonwealth takes on many physical, intellectual and spiritual forms

    I don’t disagree with that. My beef is with anybody who thinks love of America and the flag constitutes some sort of paganism. As if American conservative Catholics never question or criticise their country.

    I have relatives who fought in the Pacific campaign in WWII, and my heart swelled with pride the first time I laid eyes on the Imo Jima memorial. You know, the one which shows those imperialist pig Marines carrying that “garish and ugly flag.”

  152. Mark DeFrancisis permalink
    March 16, 2008 11:15 pm

    Poor naked wretches, whereso’er you are,
    That bide the pelting of this pitiles storm,
    How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
    Your loop’d and window’d raggedness, defend you
    From seasons such as these? O, I have ta’en
    Too little care of this! Take physic; pomp:
    Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
    That thou mayst shake the superflux to them,
    And show the heavens more just.

    If power had a body, it would be forced to abdicate. It is because it is fleshless that it fails to feel the misery that it inflicts. What blunts the senses (amongst other depravities) is surplus of material property. If it has no body of its own, it nevertheless has a kind of surrogate flesh, a thick fat-like swaddling of material possessions, which insulate it against compassion:

    Let the superfluous and lust-dieted man
    That slaves your ordinance, that dose not see
    Because he does not feel, feel your power quickly:
    so distribution should undo excess,
    And each man have enough.

    If our sympathy for others were not so sensuously depleted, we would be moved by their deprivation to share with them the very goods which prevent us from feelinfg their wretchedness. The problem would thus become the solution.

    Terry Eagleton, 2003

  153. March 17, 2008 12:15 am

    congratulation! YOU in
    top blogs

  154. digbydolben permalink
    March 17, 2008 12:26 am

    That is BEAUTIFUL, Mark DeFrancisis, and I think it should be the last word on this horribly embarrassing thread!

  155. March 17, 2008 5:07 pm

    This land is your land, this land is my land
    From California, to the New York Island
    From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
    This land was made for you and me

    As I was walking a ribbon of highway
    I saw above me an endless skyway
    I saw below me a golden valley
    This land was made for you and me

    Chorus

    I’ve roamed and rambled and I’ve followed my footsteps
    To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
    And all around me a voice was sounding
    This land was made for you and me

    Chorus

    The sun comes shining as I was strolling
    The wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
    The fog was lifting a voice come chanting
    This land was made for you and me

    Chorus

    As I was walkin’ – I saw a sign there
    And that sign said – no tress passin’
    But on the other side …. it didn’t say nothin!
    Now that side was made for you and me!

    Chorus

    In the squares of the city – In the shadow of the steeple
    Near the relief office – I see my people
    And some are grumblin’ and some are wonderin’
    If this land’s still made for you and me.

  156. Mason permalink
    March 17, 2008 6:50 pm

    How surprising that such a bland post generated this outpouring of baloney. First stop here for me and the last.

    God bless America!

  157. March 17, 2008 7:16 pm

    Extraordinary how easily provoked some of you are, that someone cannot even profess their love of country without you dressing them down.

    Where’s that “tolerance” you’re always talking about?

  158. Jack permalink
    March 17, 2008 8:18 pm

    I’m new to this site also; I’m not a Catholic and now I know more of why not. Many of you are disgusting!

  159. Glenn permalink
    March 18, 2008 1:46 am

    A citizen enjoying the benefits of functional, consensual, self-government has the positive obligation to make a contribution to it’s proper functioning, including its survival, according to his vocation and station in life.

    The obligation is not removed on the basis that one suspects that he posses a superior aesthetic sensibility.

    The obligation is not removed in the case that one imagines an alternate future (or present) in which consequences do not flow from inhabiting an actual nation state.

    The obligation is not obviated on the basis of anti-religious fervor.

    The obligation is not eliminated because of fear, hysteria, or cowardice.

    The obligation is a positive one. It must meet the tests of human decency, principles of natural law, and reasonableness. But it is inherent, it remains despite all desire to expunge it.

    Ridicule does not eliminate it. Disdain does not make it go away.

    For some it may seem as a cliff before them. But the only actual choice is to either accept the burden and the challenge to scale it, or to wither away in place into only the empty shell of a morally cognizant and free human being.

  160. March 19, 2008 8:48 am

    Phil wrote:
    God Bless America is not a hymn, it is not a praise to God or a song about God, it is just one of dozens of national songs that try to recruit God into the service of a nation-state which makes the song basically into a kind of paganism….

    Any Christian who is foolish enough to believe that the post that heads this exchange of comments is some kind of innocent foray into Christian hymnody is just being a dupe of its author’s purpose.

    And all this time I thought it was a song simply asking God to guide and bless this country. The lyrics certainly support that interpretation. Bu how terribly silly of me. Nice to have others clear away my delusion—and call me “foolish” and “a dupe” in the process.

    I come from a family of Vietnamese immigrants who escaped the communist plague after Ho Chi Minh’s government took everything we had. In America, through hard work, faith, and the kindness of (white male) strangers, my family has been able to thrive and flourish. But when we wish to show gratitude to the country that has given us so much, perhaps by saluting the flag or singing “God Bless America”, now we’re told we can’t without being “dupes” of the nationalist mentality.

  161. April 17, 2008 11:31 pm

    RCM,

    Thank you. I apologize likewise.

    BA & MM,

    Shame on you both.

  162. Barbara Dyer permalink
    November 10, 2008 10:12 am

    Where can I obtain a record of Kate Smith, singing, God Bless America?

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  1. An Experiment « The Reluctant Optimist
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