Saying "God damn America" from a Christian pulpit in a black church is not even remotely expletive on a level with the secular Jew's derisive "Jesus H. Christ," nor is it a malediction on a par with the fanatic jihadists' "Death to America!" Why is this so hard for people to understand?
Because of the appalling state of religious literacy.
Anyone who has given even a cursory glance to the prophetic books of the Bible would know that damnation is a common literary form used by those who came to believe they were God's spokesperson at a given critical juncture, as were Isaiah and Jeremiah, for example.
Isaiah cries out in God's voice
Woe to the sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a wicked seed, ungracious children: they have forsaken the Lord, they have blasphemed the Holy One of Israel, they are gone away backwards. ... And the daughter of Zion shall be left as a covert in a vineyard, and as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, and as a city that is laid waste. (Isaiah 1:4,8)Should Israeli voters reconsider divine leadership because a prophet has cursed them? No?
Why then should Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) even have to explain the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's biblical curse on the United States for enslavement and discrimination of his congregation's forebears and for the exploitation still heaped on the ethnic community to which its members belong?
Blogs such as Feministing, Latinopundit and The Assimilated Negro have in common that they offer comment from the perspective of, for, by and about a particular group of people, the group to which the authors belong. I am not black and I am not advocating on my own people's behalf.
Nor, as an agnostic, am I very intensely a believer.
Advocacy on one's own behalf threatens the birth of a new progressive era (yes, I'm referring to Barack vs. Hillary) and I want no part of it.
What I would like to make clear is that pseudo-leftist secular humanist Democrats and conservative Republican pseudo-Christians alike need to take more seriously the actual language of religion before they advocate for a theocracy or against it and the language of various cultures, before they advocate measures against one group or for another.
This new episode of rent garments only speaks to the paucity of understanding of the languages of conviction and culture.