Early in the history of the US the founding father of America, George Washington, became an object of worship. Not only is there a fresco of him on the dome of our National Capitol building, risen to heaven among the gods, in a full blown Apotheosis (the ancient Roman/Greek practice of elevating a leader, after his death, to the status of a god), but also in a plethora of paintings and sculptures that literally deified this man.
He became the icon of manifest destiny a sort of Moses or Joshua to lead the Americans to their destiny in this land. This mindset was embedded in the hearts and minds of the Euro-Americans who were, I believe, desperately needing a way to justify their consciences (in relationship to the injustice toward the Indians) and adopt a religious facade for America.
If you have and doubts, consider also the statue of George Washington as the Greek god Zeus. It is a massive marble sculpture, reported to weigh as much as 30 tons, by Horatio Greenough who was commissioned by the US Congress for the centennial of Washington’s birth in 1832. The statue depicts him as an Olympic God and is modeled after the ancient statue of Zeus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was first placed in the rotunda of the Capitol until it cracked the floor and was moved to the east lawn of the Capitol building in 1843. Because of controversy and criticism it was moved to the Smithsonian Castle and then finally to the National Museum of American History, where it currently resides.
This sounds ridiculous to us today, but it reveals the condition of the “national psyche” in regard to America’s founders. 2 Corinthians chapter 10 speaks of “vain imaginations” or “lofty opinions” that “exalt themselves against the knowledge of God.” I believe that all who grow up in main stream America today have been infected by these vain imaginations and exalted ideas of our National identity.
It is time for the church to put the axe to the root of the cherry tree and tell the truth about our past!