— Dr. Robert Jeffress (@robertjeffress) June 25, 2017
Yesterday was “Freedom Sunday” at the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. The pastor of First Baptist is Robert Jeffress. He is a Trump supporter, Christian nationalist, and prominent court evangelical. As the pictures attached to this tweet indicate, it was a day of patriotic celebration in the church sanctuary.
People waved American flags during the service.
The last time I checked, the waving of the American flag was a sign of support or loyalty to the nation. Jeffress had no problem allowing such an act to take place in a church sanctuary–the place where Christians worship God as a form of expressing their ultimate loyalty. Patriotism is fine. Flag-waving is fine. But I wonder if any of the congregation felt uncomfortable that all of this took place in the church sanctuary on a Sunday morning.
There were fireworks. Yes, fireworks. Somehow the pyrotech crew at First Baptist figured out a way to pull this off without burning the place down. I assume that these fireworks did not represent the pillars of fire that led the Israelites through the wilderness in the Old Testament. (Although it wouldn’t surprise me if someone during the service connected these patriotic fireworks to God’s leading of his new “chosen people”–the United States–through the desert of extreme religious persecution). I also don’t think the fireworks were meant to represent the “tongues of fire” present on the day of Pentecost as recorded in the book of Acts, chapter 2. (Also, from what I am able to tell from the church website, First Baptist did not celebrate Pentecost Sunday on June 4, 2017).
It also looks like the congregation of First Baptist sung the Woody Guthrie classic “This Land is Your Land.” I am guessing they did not sing all of the original verses.
How can this not be a form of idolatry?
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