A Second Master?

“It is a myth and an illusion to suppose that political freedoms can ascend to the level of the Gospel—it is also a form of blasphemy and idolatry. The more Christianity joins the moralistic banter of neo-conservative Republican-Christianity, the more democracy is de-legitimized, the more the Gospel is profaned, and the more we bow ourselves to a second master—one clad as an angel of light (Casteel 45-46).”

When Joshua Casteel writes this letter home what is he referring to, what is he trying to portray? He argues the point that living in America (a world of political freedom) isn’t the equivalent to living under the Gospels, to even try is considered blasphemy or idolatry in God’s eyes. Yet how can this be, America’s majority religion is Christianity; but do they all follow as closely or literally as Casteel? An extremely small amount of Christians today interpret the Bible literally, and even fewer follow the Bible in a literal sense. Many Christians apply what they can to the present time. For example how many Christians do you know who own slaves or have multiple wives? Probably none, yet in the biblical times that was acceptable. Casteel while interpreting the Bible literally is also mixing it with his own opinion.


He refers to a “second master” in his second sentence, which is a reference to the verse Matthew 6:24, where it is stated that no one can serve two masters. Casteel is speaking of God as one master and the government as another master. He argues the point that no one is able to serve both wholly; you will obviously put one in front of the other just as you rank your priorities throughout life. In the bible God demands that one loves him unconditionally and with one’s whole heart. How can one succeed in loving God while serving democracy or government? I believe this is the question that Joshua Casteel poses in the quote above.   

Casteel, Joshua. Letters from Abu Ghraib. [Ithaca, NY]: Essay, 2008. Print.

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One Response to A Second Master?

  1. dgriffith says:

    Jessica, great job integrating images into this thoughtful post!

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