America is not a Christian nation under monotheism. It is a pagan nation, polytheistic in essence; emulating the civil, philosophical, and religious practices of Rome and other Babylonian cultures before and after Rome. The Roman Consul, much like the American President, was an elected position. It also carried the honor of deification. With every election America’s pantheon grows adding to its numbers more and more magistrates and rulers, according to the pattern of history.

“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods (rulers, judges) which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods (rulers, judges) of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)

America’s gods/rulers/magistrates obtain their own (literal) idols and symbols (like flags and national animals) and temples (government buildings). Serving them, as mentioned in Joshua 24, is not merely bowing to them in idle worship, but participating in their civil jurisdictions where they maintain equitable rights over you, your labor, your children, and your propertyPharaoh, Caesar, President, god, lord: these positions claim divine right to your allegiance, your service, your sacrifice, and yourself. Whether or not you are comfortable with looking at these positions as “gods”, what Scripture has to say about submitting your allegiance, service, sacrifice, and yourself to any magistrate other than God is still true. Every position of ruler has had its own apotheosis throughout history. Nimrod had the epic of Gilgamesh to establish his supremacy. Pharaoh, through coronation, had positional divine power as intermediary to the gods. As did Caesar, even though he was democratically elected. And so, too, the President of the United States through inauguration, is given an apotheosis.

Constantino Brumidi. The Apotheosis of George Washington (1865). Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.
Constantino Brumidi, “The Apotheosis of George Washington” (1865), Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.

During the year after the assassination of Lincoln, a monumental work was undertaken by Constantino Brumidi (1805-1880) to depict the apotheosis of George Washington on the ceiling of the recently completed new dome of the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. It is strange to think that expensive construction such as the dome was being undertaken during the Civil War. Brumidi had emigrated from Italy following the 1848 revolution and took American citizenship. In Italy he had done work for the Vatican and while living in New York he made a name for himself doing religious paintings such as the Crucifixion of Christ, the Martyrdom of St. Stephen, and the Assumption of Mary.

Among the many striking things about Brumidi’s fresco are the following: the monumental physical scale of the painting, the fact that it was given such prominence in the expanded and rebuilt US Capitol Building, that it was completed at considerable cost during wartime, the clear religious iconography used by Brumidi as he had done previously in explicitly religious paintings in Italy and in New York, the fact that this was not the first occasion when artists depicted the assumption to heaven of Washington and suggested he had god-like powers (the first was immediately after Washington’s death in 1799), and the links made between the military leader Washington who defeated the British to “forge” a nation” and the acts of Lincoln in using military force to “preserve the union”.

The fresco he did for the rotunda of the Capitol dome covers an area of some 4,664 square feet and includes a large central piece showing the apotheosis of George Washington surrounded by six allegorical pieces showing aspects of American life and culture – “War,” “Science,” “Marine,” “Commerce,” “Mechanics,” and “Agriculture”. The following is a description of this work:

Washington has become godlike (if not a god) and has ascended into heaven. He sits on a cloud wearing a military jacket in purple (the traditional color worn by the Roman emperor) and his legs are wrapped in a sheet (also purple). In his left hand he holds a sword and his right hand is gesturing to a book (possibly the constitution of the US). At his left sits Victory draped in a green sheet and wearing a laurel wreath, holding a branch and blowing a trumpet. To Washington’s right sits Liberty. She is wearing a red Phrygian cap and holds the book to which Washington is gesturing in her left hand; in her right hand she is holding the Roman fasces.

Surrounding Washington, Victory, and Liberty in a circle are 13 maidens who represent the original 13 colonies which formed the federation of the United States. Some of them are holding a banner which says “E Pluribus Unum” but others have their backs turned towards Washington to indicate those states which attempted to break away from the union during the Civil War. Around the perimeter of the fresco are 6 large pieces which show in allegorical form various aspects of American life and culture. Immediately under Washington, the commander-in-chief of the victorious Continental Army which defeated the British Empire is of course “War”, followed in clockwise order by “Science,” “Marine,” “Commerce,” “Mechanics,” and “Agriculture.” Below is a detail of the allegory of “War”:

“Liberty” (or “Columbia”) is seen in the more aggressive pose of a warrior brandishing a sword in her right hand and carrying a shield with the stars and stripes in her left hand. At her left side is an equally aggressive American eagle with mouth open and talons clutching a sheaf of arrows. Beneath them are their defeated enemies who are hard to identify but are most likely an assortment of tyrants, kings, and oppressors who are very fearful of Liberty and her eagle. The woman at the left has her hands outstretched in a pose of submission; the white bearded man next to her is clutching a cannon; the dark bearded man in the center is attired in a uniform of boots, breastplate armor, and helmet, and appears to have a club or weapon in his left hand; the person next to him is wearing a brown cloak and is holding a burning torch in his or her right and left hands; the final figure to the right is holding their hand to their face in a look of bewilderment at the power of Liberty.

1. Apotheosis of Washington, War
War, with Armed Freedom and the eagle defeating Tyranny and Kingly Power.
2. Apotheosis of Washington, Agriculture
Agriculture, with Ceres seated on the McCormick Reaper, accompanied by America in a red liberty cap and Flora picking flowers.
3. Apotheosis of Washington, Mechanics
Mechanics, with Vulcan at the anvil and forge, producing a cannon and a steam engine.
4. Apotheosis of Washington, Commerce
Commerce, with Mercury handing a bag of money to Robert Morris, financier of the American Revolution.
5. Apotheosis of Washington, Marine
Marine, with Neptune holding his trident and Venus holding the transatlantic cable, which was being laid at the time the fresco was painted.
6. Apotheosis of Washington, Science
Science, with Minerva teaching Benjamin Franklin, Robert Fulton, and Samuel F.B. Morse.

No doubt the American Nationalist will observe these inherently pagan details and excuse them as hyperbolic storytelling and maybe even delusions of grandeur to create a culture for the United States and establish it among the historical narratives of older nations who have similarly earned their place in history. But the truth of the matter is that these curiosities of American folklore are just further evidence of man believing Satan’s lie in the garden: ‘You will be like God.’ Now, it is not evident that either Adam or Eve endeavored to rule over human subjects. But we know that Cain did. He created the first mentioned city-state, naming it Enoch, and ’tilled’ the adamic clay from which God created man, binding them in social contracts and becoming their ruler. In this same fashion, Nimrod became a ‘mighty provider instead of the Lord’, binding the people in civil bondage with the granting of benefits extracted through forced contributions.

When man wants to play God and rule over the people it is hardly ever subtle, as you can see. When it comes down to it, America’s slogans do not refer to the God of the Bible, but the top-down polity of Gentile tradition.

This is blog post is the first part of a three part series. You can read the second part here and the third part here.

GodBlessAmerica
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