In other words, when Mormons and evangelicals are at their worst and are indulging their least admirable tendencies to idolize the country at the expense of their religious teachings, there is a chance for them to find common ground. If you think that a serious religious revival in America might have something to do with a spirit of repentance and humility rather than with an extravaganza of validation and national self-congratulation, that is really a very damning indictment of what Beck is doing. As Joe Carter correctly says, “As Moore notes, the problem isn’t really Beck. The problem is believers trading the true faith for the syncretism of Christian-flavored civic religion.”Hm, well, look. America is a cobbled-together Rome-manqué. Oughtn't we have a decently syncretic state religion? Maybe we can appoint Beck Chief Priest. Shit, maybe we can make it an elected office!
I do take Larison's point that the thrust and spirit of the Gospels runs mostly counter to the vague, patriotic Becktoplasm, and it's valid as far as it goes, but I also think he displays a rather naive atavism in wishing for a Christianity that perished for all intents and purposes on the Milvian Bridge.