I am a Christian. Interestingly, Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn is taking his brand of Christian faith on a “Reawaken America Tour.” He says that he wants to get fellow Americans to “effectively fight our true enemy (Satan),” embrace values he presumes we hold in common, and then rally around them.

Of special interest to me is the huge assumption of this brand, that when we ‘fly the American flag’ so to speak, a common language is being spoken among us and that a common ideology of liberty and values exists among us.

The so-called “common values” that Flynn talks about, I’m arguing, are the product of small minds still mired in a WASP (White Anglo Saxon Protestant) mentality that accepted slaves as lesser beings in order keep Southern slave owners on board for the founding of America. Common values are not a basis of our unity in America now.

What we really have in common as Americans is that we are different as well as members of different value communities living in an increasingly diverse country. And the last bastion of any common values for many WASPs is the Republican party, a party that pretends to have faith based sympathies but in reality has lost touch with the Old Testament prophets and core details of the biblical narrative.

In America, freedom and rights are supposed to march hand in hand but my brother in Christ, Flynn, seems to forget that these, to have lasting traction, have to be tied to love for both God and neighbor and cannot be sustained by compromised versions of Christianity. Rather “Flynnitis” is bred, a dangerous mush and meld of Flynn’s own version of what the American flag stands for, a version that is steeped in a type of civil religious idolatry where cross and flag become synonymous as ultimate life symbols.

Unfortunately, the seeds of “Flynnitis” were planted long ago – by the compromised Christian faith of the many early Americans who used and endorsed slave labor, and by founders who not only valued the “common good” notions of classical thinkers but were also enamored by the ideas coming out of the God-hating French revolutionists. New England piety, though compromised, still upheld some measure of limits. But for many reasons even this has all but lost traction in America.


To sustain hope for the future and accommodate diversity we need to shift out of the governmental system that Flynn exemplifies, one that assumes WASP prevalence, and into one that reflects a more Godly tolerance for the diversity that now exists. (His rain and sun come to all people not just Christians.) We need a new perspective that rejects the false and artificial unity of the melting pot, a social metaphor that obscures the reality of deep differences and permits their continued marginalization via cookie cutter schools and winner-take-all elections.

Flynnitis aside, neither the flag nor the founders and their constitution are divine realities. Arguing otherwise is a flirtation with idolatry that has bred many of the social and environmental problems we are now faced with.

To get beyond the injustices of Flynnitis and the lie about life these promote we need to broaden and deepen our perspective with a new social metaphor like a patchwork quilt. A quilt maintains the integrity of diverse components even as each contributes to the whole.

When you operate out of a principled sense of being in concert with others who share those principles in a system that honors and structures into life real communal room for deep differences then you are on a path that fosters social healing and justice to both people and planet.  This is what we need to be about birthing instead of embracing Flynnitis and trying to resuscitate a dying national corpse.

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