Is there a place for "God Bless The U.S.A." in a church service?

That's a question posed by The Washington Post this week in an essay examining patriotic religious services around the Fourth of July. While patriotic religious services were commonplace in early American history, many American Christians today are rethinking the message they send about the separation of church and state, and how Christianity defines itself in a global age.

Reverend Irene Monroe and Reverend Emmett Price shared their take on Boston Public Radio's recurring religion segment, "All Revved Up." Monroe is a syndicated religion columnist and the Boston voice for Detour’s African American Heritage Trail, and Price is professor of Worship, Church & Culture and Founding Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Price said he believes the mix of patriotic songs with Christian services inappropriately attempts to confine the notion of God to national borders, instead of looking at Christianity as global and inclusive.

"I think it's a conflation of American Christianity versus global Christianity," Price said. "I think we get into this Americanization of what should be a global movement."

Monroe said the combination often encourages and strengthens nationalistic and nativist politics as well.

"This is a form of hyper-patriotism here on display," she said. "This is really what you call evangelical patriotism. It's very much suffused with conservative and fundamentalist tenets of Christianity. This would be a church that really would wave the flag of 'God, gun, and glory,' and it has certainly a nativistic sort of tinge to it."