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Thursday, February 25, 2010
Doug Wilson has a good post today on the idol of American exceptionalism, which many politically-minded Christians routinely fall for. Sure, there is something about our Constitution and rule of law which is exceptional as far as world systems go. But only as far as it points more clearly to the ultimate hope and exceptional government: God's. As I mentioned in the comment section and Pastor Wilson agreed, 1 Corinthians 4:7 is most appropriate here.
There are a number of things that are circulated on the foxnewsright that do to my soul what an Athens full of idols did to the apostle Paul. One of the central ones, as readers of this space well know, is that I think there is enough sadness in the world without Republicans going around talking about American exceptionalism. The most recent sampling of a near cousin to this kind of thing was a comment by Jeb Bush when he said that Obama's policies were "not American." Obama's policies are idiotic, sure, but last time I checked, we weren't having to import any of that. We generate enough in a month or two -- just in my part of the country -- to keep New York lit up for a couple years.
So however earnest they may be in their opposition to Obamaman, whenever somebody trots out this exceptionalism business, thinking Christians need to fall upon that claim with merry shouts. However sound they may be on how a health care system should work, any given advocate of this bizarre doctrine of exceptionalism seems to me to be, in the immortal words of Wodehouse, "nature's final word on cloth-headed guffins." This exceptionalism talk really needs to expire with a low gurgle.


Chris A said...

Great article. I've been saying this stuff for years now. But I think, and the author alluded to this thought, that this American exceptionalism is getting worse and is becoming cultic. It happened after 9/11, when politicians saw fit to capitalize on the new PATRIOTism. At that time, if you will recall, it became extremely taboo for anyone to question any decision the president made, and such criticisms were often deemed unAmerican with little regard to the historically American value of dissent. But this was different. It was "war". But I digress...again.

Before I tell you where I think this is heading, I will invoke a quote from the author: "This exceptionalism talk really needs to expire with a low gurgle." Well, he is right that it needs to expire, but watch HOW it expires, or rather how IT IS EXPIRING. Its expiration began with the creation of a national sense of fear and a newly defined Americanism (PATRIOT Act, anyone?). As a result Americans are turning inward. First the enemy was al Qaeda (al-CIA-da), but inevitably the enemy would become us and now it has. Any real American political movement - protests against taxation, movements toward states rights and a general revival of our Constitutional republic and Constitutional issuance of currency, etc. - have been branded as a threat to national security (more like establishment security), with the government going so far as to use the US military and various other government bodies to gather intelligence on American citizens. Yes, the US Army monitors the "End the Fed" protests. (If you don't know what NORTHCOM is, you need to find out.)

How is this contributing to the expiration of American exceptionalism? It is but one means whereby American identity is being eroded to such a degree that only the criminally insane will continue to tout this philosophy when Martial Law becomes more apparent. Eventually America will become such a depressed state - morally, politically, economically - that its citizens will willingly integrate into the "global community" and relinquish any nostalgic sense of country. We will then be American in name only, if at all.

In short, American exceptionism is setting up for a very humbling fall of the republic. Because pride goeth before ____. A haughty spirit before____.

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The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

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