The identification of religion and patriotism is nothing new in American life. The theocratic initiatives of the Bush administration elevate this identification to dangerous heights. Bush is the de facto head of the Christian Right in America. It is a movement that wishes to destroy the time-honored separation of church and state and is uncomfortable with democracy and pluralism. It contains elements that seek to proclaim the United States a "Christian Republic." This marriage of ultraconservative and exclusive religion with government is a formula for self-serving arrogance, rampant intolerance, discrimination against religious minorities and, ultimately, violence between religions.
We are not the first modern nation to use exaggerated patriotism for political gain.... Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety used patriotism to bolster support for the French Revolution, and the Nazis certainly capitalized on patriotism to bolster Nazism. More recently, the Serbs, Hutus and Janjaweed in Darfur manipulated patriotism into deadly genocides.... History should have taught us by now that the labeling of some as unpatriotic takes us one step closer to genocide.