Last night was stressful. My neighbors were igniting fireworks for hours and my two dogs shivered and shook all night long as I tried to comfort them. On our walk this morning we discovered this empty fireworks container on the sidewalk. I examined it closely and thought, what the actual hell, "Amazing Grace" branded fireworks? The container highlights lyrics of the song Amazing Grace ("how sweet the sound") superimposed on an American flag, and features images of a woman praying and an American soldier decked out in battle gear holding some kind of assault rifle. What is this?
It felt so very American, in the worst way, and seemed especially awful in the wake of mass shootings that happened over the weekend at several 4th of July parades. There is something so very disturbing about the convergence of gun worship, right-wing Christianity, American flags, and patriotism, and somehow this Amazing Grace fireworks container seemed to capture it all. After my walk, I looked up the company that made it, Bellino Fireworks, and discovered their Facebook page, which shows images many of their other fireworks. Many of the labels feature patriotic images of American flags, images of guns, or product names featuring weapons of all kinds. Here's a few of the names of their products: "Lethal Weapon," "Black Box Artillery," "44 Magnum 12 Rounds," "Snub Nose Artillery," "Weapons of Warfare," and "Locked and Loaded."
After every shooting, Christian nationalists emerge, wrapped in American flags, holding assault rifles and Bibles, peddling thoughts and prayers, and blaming mental health, Satan, liberals, or their latest target, "Big Pharma." But somehow, some way, it's never about the guns. Or the worship of guns in American culture.
As Samuel Perry writes in a recent article in Time,
There's a reason we always hear calls for Christian nationalism rather than for common sense gun legislation from the right. As we have shown in our research, guns are practically an element of worship in the church of white Christian nationalism. Gun rights thus must be defended at all costs.