Gosh, I make it a point not to visit Vox Nova often as it is a very silly place. It is just so darn convenient when your religious beliefs coincide with your political beliefs. When its not so convenient, you need to make them coincide. One of the easiest ways to do such a thing is not to clearly define your terms and expect that nobody will bother to ask.

Matt Talbot at Vox Nova entitles his post “Nationalism is Idolatry.” Hmmm. Ok. I think this is a point on which we might agree, provided that some distinctions are drawn and terms defined. Here is how Mr. Talbot defines his terms.

His foreigner friend says “Boy, you have lots of flags in this country.” Matt Talbot responds, “We do? I shall drive around and assess for myself.” Matt Talbot drives around and says “Omigosh, we do have lots of flags in this country. Flags are evidence of nationalism. We are evil nationalists!”

Matt Talbot then calls upon every right (sorry, left) thinking Catholic to fight against the ghastly sin of flag exposition.

Think I exaggerate?

…Callie, my coworker, was right: there was never a place where an American flag was not visible. We made 20 stops, and most of the time we did not even have to get out of the car to find one. This was not the 4th of July or Memorial Day (and well before 9/11/2001).

Nationalism saturates American life – it is just the ever-present, ambient sound coming from every form of corporate media, 24/7/365, so ever-present that it has become, in an odd way, invisible. I have come to understand that it is idolatry – subtler, arguably, than building a golden calf, but no less idolatrous. And it disturbs me a great deal.

I wish Catholic priests and laity would stand up more often against this sort of thing. We Catholics, at every level of our society and in every vocation, me included, have failed to do our jobs of providing clear witness against this spiritually destructive idol.

Without fail, the lefty echo chamber (aka Michael Iafrate) responds with this insightful comment.

Exactly right. Great post.

The propaganda becomes even more obvious when you live outside of the u.s. for a few years and then come back.

We definitely should not have them in our churches, or flying outside of our churches.

Mr. Iafrate, having been outside of the country, is in the unique position to know such incredible things.

How these folks make the leap that exposition of the flag is sinful nationalism is beyond me. I fly a flag at my home because I wish to signify the respect for my country and the God-given freedoms that she has endeavored to secure for me. I fly a flag to show respect for the men and women how have sacrificed and died to to protect those freedoms. I fly my flag to show my proper and fitting esteem for my country and to show the honor properly owed to her.

In a similar way, while not blind to their faults, I show honor and esteem for my parents as God has commanded.

To suggest that flags flying at car dealerships, libraries, malls, and even churches constitutes a sinful nationalism and idolatry is simply as disingenuous as it is senseless. In other words, perfectly Vox Nova.