3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them
Exodus 20:3-5a (New International Version)
No, this is not going to be a porn-related post, so relax. However, many of you may take me to the woodshed, accusing me of being unpatriotic.
Today is the 15th Anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Today will be a day of remembrance, church services, flags at half-staff, etc. I passed through a town yesterday and saw a sign for a town-wide memorial program. In fact, September 11th is known as “Patriot Day.”
Since that fateful day, Americans have taken pieces of surviving crossbeams from the downed World Trade Center and made memorials out of them. We have turned, “United We Stand” and “Never Forget” into mantras. We turned the famed image of the three firemen raising “Old Glory” into an icon. We took patriotism and turned it into a religion, so much so that we now idolize our flag like it was some fetish. We’ve surpassed the Crusaders of old with our “War on Terror” against the “infidel” Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan; now we’re in Syria.
One of the definitions Webster gives fetishism as, “extravagant irrational devotion”. To be honest, we’ve gone from good old patriotism to fetishism. We have allowed the events of September 11th to make us like this. We laugh at indigenous cultures with their objects of devotion, however they look quite logical compared to us. We’ve developed a “My country: right or wrong” that blinds us to any unpleasant truth about us.
I can go on about this, however for anyone who’s been in the US for any period of time can see this. This had been recently exemplified with the backlash aimed at 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaeperneck’s refusal to stand during the playing at the National Anthem.
Patriotism or fetishism? You decide.