The word Americolatry comes from Timothy Dalrymple's blog where he asks "Are Conservative Christians Worshiping America?" - you can check out his thoughts here. I actually borrowed the blog title from Scot McKnight who is discussing this on his blog. Here are two of Dalrymple's questions that I would like to consider today:
  1. When does patriotism pass over into idolatry?
  2. What are the healthy (if there are any) and unhealthy ways of mixing politics and religion?
I love these questions. Firstly, I think that it is good to say that religious people should be involved in the political process - we should pray for our country and our leaders.. we should vote and participate in whatever way that the Lord leads us to do.

Secondly, I think that we must realize that, for Christians anyway, our US citizenship is secondary to our heavenly citizenship. A word like Americolatry (i.e. the worship of America) comes into play when we confuse and intermingle citizenships. Something like this can really get weird when religious folks gather (physically or virtually) together attempting to coalesce around moral and civil issues in ways similar to the ways that they coalesce around theological issues.

Lastly, I think that religious people must not cower or be intimidated by nonreligious folks who try to discourage them from participating in civil and political ways with rhetoric like "the separation of church and state". Religious people have a lot to offer our country and should not be discouraged from being involved.

How would you answer Dalrymple's questions? Is Americolatry a valid concern?


  1. I think that's a good (though hard to pronounce) word. I think it is a concern. I think it happens when an individual thinks that they've figured out "God's politics". I think it happens when our desire to see America be a strong or a good country (not bad things) makes us do or say things that betray our faith. And this happens on both ends of the political spectrum.

    I think what you say about our citizenship being secondary is true. We're citizens of heaven. That doesn't mean we need to make where we are BE that place (as though we could).

  2. "Mixing" politics and religion is fine as long as we don't cross the line into thinking that our beliefs automatically translate into correct policy, or that our political stands are God's will.

    I see a lot of fundamentalists and evangelicals as similar to the Jews in the first century. They believed that their national identity brought blessing from God, and whatever they did was right because they were God's chosen people.

    I have heard songs that go beyond the beauty of America and the desire for God to bless us to equating the sacrifice of those who have fought in wars for our national freedom with the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross.

  3. Is Americolatry a valid concern?
    Yes! Anything put on the same level or exalted above God becomes an idol.
    Sad to say, politics is the false god of many professing Christian today.

  4. Thanks all for commenting. A few of your thoughts that resonate with me:

    + "makes us do or say things that betray our faith" - Scott

    + "our political stands are God's will" -co_heir

    + " politics is the false god of many" -Geezer


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