Monday, July 02, 2012

Patriotic? Religious? T-shirts

So... You're an American Christian, and you want to celebrate Independence Day. You could buy one of these ACTUAL t-shirts!

We're not sure what it is, but there's SOMETHING about them! This is not TOO bad, I guess. You love your God; you love your nation; you want to state that you love them both.

"There is something about" draping the cross with Old Glory that grates on me, however. Like they can't decide which stands higher on the list of priorities. Oh, and the horrid (though typical) misuse of Psalm 33:12! Even if you want to reinterpret Israel as the Church, the ol' U.S. of A. does not have a covenant with God the way Israel did/does.

This is the best pic I could find. Sorry.

This one is kinda cute. Of course, it IS a kids' t-shirt. It's a play on the "inalienable rights" in the Declaration of Independence: "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happy Meals." The cross stands in for life, the American flag for Liberty (meaningful to an American kid) and what seems like a star-eyed smiley face for Happiness.


What slays me is the header, "Jesus gives me." Life and happiness, yes. (Though any thinking person will point out that the guarantee is for the PURSUIT of happiness, not happiness itself.) Liberty, in a non-political sense, sure. (Freedom from sin's power, et al.) But using the flag in this context makes it look as if the shirt is saying Jesus died to give us the freedoms guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. Not too bad, though. You could do much worse--as we'll soon see, sadly.

Jesus tells his followers that we are the light of the world. Matthew 5:16 is cited right on the shirt in case folks aren't familiar with that. I don't think Jesus was talking about the Statue of Liberty, though.

Dissonance aside, this is a nice-looking shirt design.


Let's imagine the creative process behind this one.

"Y'know, I really love that Isaiah 53:5! We should put that on a t-shirt!"

"Yeah, we could put some spikes on there--maybe kinda in the shape of a cross!"

"Kewl! But the verse says "stripes." How do we fit that on the shirt?"

"Let's see, what has stripes? Hmm... stripes... 'Stars and Stripes'..."

"That's perfect! We'll stick the American flag on there!"

"And just to make sure they get it, we'll put some stars on the spikes, like they're reflecting or maybe rubbed off."


Maybe they were going for the  2 Chronicles 7:14, "Heal their land" thing (also typically misused). I dunno. Mostly, I just think it's bad.

This tee was designed using the blind-folded dart-throw method, it seems.

Ichthus fish--ancient symbol of Christianity.

Jesus Saves--popular religious truth.

"Jesus Saves" cleverly re-fonted as "jesUSAves," meaning:
--Jesus Saves the USA?
--"Jesus Saves" REALLY means "I love America"?
--I'm in the USA, therefore I am saved by Jesus?
--Aren't we clever? We noticed that when you run these two words together, you get USA in the middle! And, Hey! We like the USA! Now we can get TWO of our favorite things on this shirt! Woohoo!

"United States (national flag) of America," because people might not get the "USA" thing?

A nice text from the Psalms, though it's difficult to see it's connection to ANYTHING ELSE on the shirt.

It's kinda like a much more baffling version of the "Something about God and Country" shirt.

The branding/stamp "Paid In Full" paired with John 3:16.

Superimposed on

The U.S. flag clever rendered as the 48 contiguous states..


John 3:16 is abbreviated "For God so loved..." Are we to fill in "... the United States"?
Jesus shed his blood for this country, so they are saved, by virtue of citizenship?
Jesus' death secures our national freedom?

If you think that's confusing, here's some of the ad copy from the website these came from:

"Jesus paid it all, and those who serve our country have followed suit."
And, from the baseball cap version of this design: "This Paid in Full cap gives honor where it's due to our Savior and those who defend our country, too."

Translation: "We find enough similarity between the sacrifices of our troops--living and dead--and the atoning death of Christ, that we feel no qualms about putting the two concepts together in one place, devoid of explanation." I'm not sure if this makes me more angry as a Christian or as an American.

Or as this shirt states so well,
I think I understand the intent of this shirt. Our faith impacts our politics, and it should be so. But it reminds me so much of how some folks can't seem to tell the two apart.

This may be a sort of antidote to the rest of these. True, you've got the Declaration of Independence in the background, Old Glory in the foreground, with "Since 1776." You have a quotation from a patriotic song, "America, God shed his grace on thee."

Then, you have Romans 5:8, which, in this context, may mean, "Our citizens are sinners and in need of God's grace and the forgiveness brought by Christ's death."

Sadly, it's probably just another shirt proclaiming that, since Christianity influenced our founding fathers, we are a Christian nation, and don't you heathen scumbag liberals forget it!

Now THAT would be a great t-shirt!


Allen's Brain said...

Oops! Looks like I already did one of these before!

Allen's Brain said...

This one may still reign supreme, though:

hmsnow.novelist said...

Another reminder of my teeth-gritting experiences working in Christian retail. Gah! Now the twitch is back! Please excuse me while I call up my therapist for another appointment...

PaperSmyth said...

Amen and bravissimo. I wish I had your gift for attacking frustrating things with humor. The tendency to confuse Christianity and "patriotism" is one area where I really wish I had that ability. I appreciate this and all related posts. :-) Thank you!

Rocket Scientist said...

Hahahaa! Great post. I love the last comment. We are called to love our enemies, but we don't have to like them.

IC said...

absolutely. love. this.

Allen's Brain said...

IC, me too. Probably hints at masochist tendencies.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.