Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Jingo Games

Our television screens are currently dominated by the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia. The (British) Commonwealth is the last vestiges of the British Empire that dominated the world during the 19th century.

I find it rather bizzare that a competition between individual athletes is turned into a competition between nations. I suppose that it is better than fighting wars to decide who is best, but why to we need to prove that we are better than other nations.

I also feel sorry for the athletes. They do all the hard training, but their nation takes the some of the credit.

The concept of an individual athlete representing their country is quite odd. An elected politician cannot represent me, so how can an unelected athlete be my representative. If they new how unathletic I am, they would not want to represent me.

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek‚… for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:26-28).
If this is true, why would I want to claim that I am an American, or a Canadian, or a New Zealander? If I am passionate about being in Christ Jesus, how can I be passionate about by nation?

I am very wary about cheering my national team. I do not feel comfortable about saying ‚“We won‚” when all I did was sit on a couch and perhaps cheer.

National pride is the thin end of the wedge of nationalism. Nationalism dominated the twentieth century and terrible evils were done in the name of nationalism. I suspect that people who get wrapped up in a national team, will be more open to the militaristic adventures of their nationalist governments.

Nationalism also buttresses state power. When a government politician says, "We have paid for more cataract operations"”, he is using the word "“We"” in the same way as the person sitting on the couch who says, "We won the rugby". Both are taking credit for something to which they contributed nothing.

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