One of the justifications given for the Civil War is that it was done to "perserve the Union." The death of all those thousands of men are justified because the nation was held together. Today we are told that we must sacrifice our liberties in order for the Nation to be secure. It is the United States, especially seen in the Federal government, that is supreme and we must protect it at all costs. The state religion of the United States is the religion of nationalism.
This is troublesome, not only because of the loss of personal liberty we experience, but the unquestioning loyalty and support people give to those in positions of power. They after all work for the all powerful state, must they must be right!
During the Enlightenment, nationalism became the new civic religion, in which the nation state was not merely a substitute for the church, but a substitute for God, and political religion benefited from being more tangible than supernatural religion in having the physical means of violence necessary to enforce mandatory worship and funding. Nation states provided a new kind of salvation and immortality; one’s death is not in vain if it is “for the nation,” which will live on.
This “myth of religious violence” lived on with legal theorist John Rawls who claimed that the modern problem is a theological one and the solution is political. For Rawls, since people believe in unresolvable theological doctrines over which they will kill each other, a secular state must rule. Similarly, Stanford law professor Kathleen Sullivan, a secularist, has claimed that as a necessary condition for peace to avoid a “war of all sects against all,” religion must be banished from the public square.