God bless America: from a national covenant to the Global War on Terror

James, P 2003, 'God bless America: from a national covenant to the Global War on Terror', Australian Religion Studies Review, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 141-152.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title God bless America: from a national covenant to the Global War on Terror
Author(s) James, P
Year 2003
Journal name Australian Religion Studies Review
Volume number 16
Issue number 2
Start page 141
End page 152
Total pages 11
Publisher Australian Association for the Study of Religions
Abstract Religion has always played a role in nation formation, and continues to do so even in these late-modern and past-sacred times. The overall argument of the essay is that the nation formation involves both deep continuities and radical discontinuities with the sacredly conceived ways of life. It is not wrong to say that religious evocation is bound up in the will to power, but it is important to recognize that there are much larger social reasons why religion is linked to the name of the nation. This essay thus resonated with Ivan Strenski's article in this volume when he argues that proce4sses of legitimating go deep into the past. However, it adds another claim: namely, that religious evocation works as an act of legitimation because of the very nature of the community (the nation) in whose name the evocation is made. Read through the flickering screen of the globalising and post-modernising nation state with all its contradictions, it is hard to see any continuities-of-form here. The continuities at most appear as surface content, and even then only as points of reference, a Jewish Bible, a Christian cross, a slab of engraved marble. However, the postmodern/late-modern nation has all the ontological vulnerabilities of the proor dominant forms of polity. Despite unprecedented technical power, it still has to legitimize itself, at one level, through basic categories of human existence such as embodiment, placement and temporal transcendence.
Subject Religion and Religious Studies not elsewhere classified
ISSN 1031-2943
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