America and the Imperial Cult

The emperors use of this but bears some resemblance to modern politicians’ identification with American symbols…as a way to gain the trust and respect of its citizens. For much of its existence, the United States has had an informal mixture of Protestant Christianity and patriotism, a so-called civil religion, that has some of the feel and impact of the emperor cult. For example, this informal union gave political and economic notions such as individual liberty, democracy, and free enterprise a sacred or sacrosanct status, concepts that one may oppose at the cost of harsh criticism. The phrase “America, love it or leave it” gives something of this flavor. In addition, American Civil Religion meant that those who were not members of a Protestant Christian Church, such as Jews and Roman Catholics, were at times seen as un-American. -James Jeffers in The Greco-Roman World (103)

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