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Born Again America


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Someone sent me the following link:

 

http://www.bornagainamerican.org/

 

As the United States goes through some economically tough times, the ugly head of religion rears its head, attempting to snag people into its grasp and put on a show of solidarity.

 

At first, when I started to watch the video and listen to the song, I was hoping that perhaps I was wrong about how I understood the term "born again." I thought that perhaps they were using the term in a non-religious sense as if to indicate that it was time to renew or revive the spirit of a stronger, better America. In fact, the song starts out with a man singing about being out of work then transitions to a Marine singing about his sacrifice made for this country. Then come the lyrics:

 

I’m a Born Again American, conceived in Liberty

My Bible and the Bill of Rights, my creed’s equality

I’m a Born Again American, my country ‘tis of me

And everyone who shares the dream from sea to shining sea

 

Out of nowhere they throw in the Bible and the order of its appearance shows that it trumps both the Bill of Rights and America's concept of equality for all it citizens.

 

There is a pledge to sign and, frankly, the pledge, on the surface, looks good. They are asking Americans to stay informed and committed to our country and to remember that our government is for the people and by the people. Even so, I find that I cannot sign this pledge. The song still echos through my head. I am grateful for the Bill of Rights and for our nation striving for equality among races. However, I cannot forget that they throw the Bible into the mix and purposefully chose the words Born Again American, a distinctively fundamentalist Christian term. I cannot forget that the video shows, not only a Marine and a cowboy, but church choirs, priests and reverends in abundance. I cannot help but wonder what the secret agenda is here ... that which is not spoken ... what innocent trap is ready to be sprung?

 

Frankly, I am tired of the lie that the United States of America is a Christian nation. The Founding Fathers never intended to make America a Christian nation nor a religious nation. They guaranteed its citizens the freedom of religion, but did not mandate it upon them. I am an American! I voluntarily served in the US Marine Corp and gladly went to Desert Shield/Desert Storm to serve my country! I am registered to vote and will make my voice known during elections. But I am tired of Christians trying to shove down my throat that being an American is a Christian. I am sick of them trying to convince me and those that are around me that a real American carries his Bible under his arm and first pledges his allegiance to the Christian Flag! I am an American! and believe in the principles of this country! I was willing to shed my blood for this country in the past and, despite my countries bumps, warts and current bruises, I would serve her again if I was called upon to do so! I fought for this countries freedoms, but I did not fight for the Bible! I fought for the Christian to have the right to read that book and worship that god if he or she so chooses. I fought for the right for the Muslim to do the same (and the Hindu, the Buddhist, the Mormon, etc)! But I also fought so that you and I could choose not to believe if that is what we want!

 

No! I am an American! But I am NOT a born again American!

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I’m a Born Again American, conceived in Liberty

My Bible and the Bill of Rights, my creed’s equality

I’m a Born Again American, my country ‘tis of me

And everyone who shares the dream from sea to shining sea

I didn't look at the site except for a very quick scan. I came across this when speaking about the lyrics:

Why I am a Born Again American: When Norman asked me to write "Born Again American" he did so with the suggestion that the song address several timely and timeless social and political issues. He was quite specific about reinforcing what our founders envisioned when they wrote our Constitution and Bill Of Rights; (ergo " my bible is The Bill Of Rights "). The secular ideals of Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine are what we need to remind ourselves of at this critical time in our Nation's history.

Beyond this I don't know anything more (though it does look like there may be quite a few religious folks down the page I didn't take the time to read any of it).

 

mwc

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That is interesting, mwc. However, compare what he said to the actual lyrics. Here is his phrase from your post:

 

my bible IS The Bill Of Rights

 

But the lyrics of the song say:

 

My Bible AND the Bill of Rights

 

Also, on the Take the Next Step page they provide a link to People for the American Way. Frankly, I don't know anything about this organization and I have not researched it. However, on their Statement of Values page (http://site.pfaw.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_values) they make a heck of a lot of a big deal out of the freedom of worship. It is the second issue they tackle and one of the largest sections on this page. This concept of the freedom to worship is placed before the concepts of equality (that one is the fourth Statement of Value down), the democratic values of our country (that one is number three) and justice (which falls dead last).

 

To me, this is a pattern inherent in both sites. They see liberty and freedom as pertaining to religion first and that all other liberty flows from there. In fact, when studying American history as a Baptist, we learned about Roger Williams, who was a Baptist at the time that Rhode Island was founded. He instituted freedom of religion there. Baptists, going all the way back to well before the USA, believed in what was called liberty of conscious. For many Baptists this has to do more with the ability to choose god than to be actually free or at liberty. I suspect that the concepts are somewhat the same with these groups.

 

Perhaps I am overreacting a tad, but the same thing could have been accomplished in a very different way that did not smack so much of Christianity.

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Uh, you cannot find ONE article in the Bill of Rights in the Bible, in fact the Bill of Rights is pretty anti-Biblical in that regard (where Americans are given the freedom to worship however they may please, the Bible god in the OT actively proscribes killing non-believers, etc). It is scary that someone would think them on par with one another or say that the Bible is their Bill of Rights.

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Well, the phrase, my Bible is the Bill of Rights would mean that just as a Christian looks to the Bible for truth, structure and leadership, I look to the Bill of Rights (as if it were a Bible). It does not mean that the Bill of Rights is a Bible, speaks about the Bible or has anything to do with the Bible.

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I think evangelicals are trying to redefine the term "Born Again" since now after years of politically alienating everyone around them they having to pull their pants back up and act like adults to everyone else.

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I used to have a blog where I wrote some pretty forceful Xian entries. One of those was "Democracy and the Kingdom of God". I pointed out that despite the popularity of individual freedom in this country and the fact that many Baptist churches see America as something created by God, the scripture is clear that God is a King (aka tyrant, despot, dictator) who rules with absolute authority. I pointed out that:

· We do not have a vote on issues

· We do not have freedom of choice (though we have the ability to disobey)

· We have no bill of rights (though we have many privileges as his children)

· We are not independent moral agents (we don’t get to decide what is right and wrong)

 

And a list of other things promoting this kingdom as something good instead of the reprehensible evil it truly is.

 

I think this song is just more of the same cherry picking we see in all churches. They pick out what makes them feel good and forget the rest that is inconveniently in direct opposition to everything they love.

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I'm surprised that they linked to PAW. PAW is one of the "liberal left" groups that is frequently demonized by the Religious Right alongside the ACLU. It would've made more sense for them to link to the Heritage Foundation or some shit like that.

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I frankly don't know anything about PAW. However, I find it interesting that, in their Statement of Values page that the freedom of religion concept is the second most important thing out of five key principles. I am certainly not against the freedom of religion that the United States enjoys. However, why make it the second top concept to deal with? Is freedom of religion more important than our democratic process? Is freedom of religion more important than even justice? Is freedom of religion more important than the equality of men, woman and races? It would seem so according to PAW's Statement of Values page. To me, this seems to place freedom of worship/religion as a key element of utmost importance to this group. For me, the other principles are much more important and, as a result, the Statement of Values seem to be mis-ordered. That is what has caught my attention when it comes to PAW.

 

On the other hand, a quick search about People for the American Way shows them to be a mix of actors, producers and a variety of religious types (like a rabbi and others who sit on the board). So they are definitely NOT part of the religious right!

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That is interesting, mwc. However, compare what he said to the actual lyrics. Here is his phrase from your post:

 

my bible IS The Bill Of Rights

 

But the lyrics of the song say:

 

My Bible AND the Bill of Rights

...

Perhaps I am overreacting a tad, but the same thing could have been accomplished in a very different way that did not smack so much of Christianity.

I didn't actually listen to the song. I only read the statement. And it is possible that they changed the lyric when they recorded it. I don't know. I don't think I'm trying to say you're overreacting. That wasn't my intent. I was just trying to point out the lyric (at least as written) was different.

 

mwc

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So who the hell are these people and what do they want? The vagueness and ambiguity of their purpose is somewhat sinister.

 

It seems that they want to remind people that this country belongs to its citizens and that we need to be active and informed so as to keep our elected officials on a short leash, reminding them that they work for us. Even so, I agree with you. It all seems a bit odd and ambiguous to me.

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