As America's Independence day (aka "the fourth of July") approaches, we're getting set for the usual reappearance of patriotic-themed Music.
In recent years, the tune "God Bless America" has gained quite a bit of popularity, and we should expect to hear it at various local and national celebrations.
In William Robert Miller's "The World of Pop Music and Jazz," we note an insightful statement he makes about the lyrics of this song:
"God Bless America" completes the picture of a genial, hedonistic culture. In contrast to the Bible, in which God transcends all nations, He becomes here a mere adjunct. The main focus in on America (ourselves), and God is called upon to "stand beside her and guide her" like an obliging pal. The spirit of the song seems to say that God automatically has to bless America because it is "the land that I love." Moreover, being patriotic (which is the same thing as good), I want to let God share in its glory.
This inversion of power places humanity above God, allowing God to assist and stand beside our own works, but ultimately relegating God's power to an assistive, or secondary role.
I also would like to add that nowhere in this piece do we hear any mention of God's Son, Jesus Christ, original sin, or his redemptive work. The lyrics may be "Christian" in a very broad sense, but that sense is also broad enough to include any theistic (or deistic) worldview.
Fine, fine. I'm not here to blast "God Bless America," but Miller's points are valid and, more importantly, make me wonder if this kind of subtle bait-and-switch happens in Contemporary Christian Music? Can we find examples of modern worship songs that put us at risk of placing God (and his plan for our salvation) in second place?