You know you’ve entered a temple when disagreement is treated as sacrilege. The animosity directed toward NFL players kneeling at the anthem, protesting police brutality and structural racism, is the sort of acrimony we reserve for infidels.
Many professedly “religious” believers will be among those most incensed by resistance to this secular liturgy — a sign that even believers in God are not immune to being captivated by secular rituals, confusing what is holy.
This response to the kneeling controversy tells us something about the state of American civil religion and the way it accommodates — and then deforms — traditional religious communities.
– James K. A. Smith, “The NFL’s Thanksgiving games are a spectacular display of America’s ‘God and country’ obsession” in The Washington Post.