What is it about?

Religious nationalism is dangerous, because it tends toward violence. In the case of America, religious nationalism is preceded by, and dependent upon, a covenant with God that renders judgment against the nation when it fails to embody divine justice. The second use of the law in Lutheran theology combined with René Girard's scapegoat theory provide the prophetic public theologian with a searchlight to make visible the nation's justification of violence. The haunting question becomes this: should the prophetic public theologian expose the lie on which American religious nationalism is built and risk sundering human community?

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Why is it important?

An analysis of the role played by self-justification and scapegoating in wider society, especially the war culture in American history.


I believe the theological category of sin amplified by Rene Girard's scapegoat theory illuminates the social fabric so that we can see more clearly blood stains of a delusional interpretation of our history

Prof Ted F Peters
Graduate Theological Union

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This page is a summary of: Covenant, blood, and violence: America at war with itself and others, Dialog, March 2019, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/dial.12452.
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