I’m conflicted about the below video. On the one hand, it’s great to see the free exercise of religion. These American Marines are obviously wonderful human beings, and the world is fortunate to have them. And it’s crucial to democracy that the religious and irreligious are free to live their lives exactly as they please, and according to their own sensibilities.
And this is obviously not a military sponsored event, so there’s no mixing of church and state. On the other hand, history has taught us that wedding religion with war is highly problematic; it can generate vast suffering and destruction.
Ideally, just as there is a separation of church and state, there should also be a separation of religion and war, for being pro-social and protective of one’s religious group can lead to the demonizing of outsiders. (Who would Jesus or Mohammad bomb? etc.)
Lastly, the Elijah song calls to mind a rather ugly biblical passage, in which Elijah is in a contest with the priests of Baal. The story ends with cultural extermination (hundreds of priests from a non-Israelite culture destroyed by fire from heaven). So too often, eliminationist mentalities accompany religious enthusiasm. And with regard to the war on terror, the United States is not (and should not consider itself to be) at war with Islamic civilization as such, but the video can leave one with that impression.