American “exceptionalism” and Scripture

Of all the themes espoused by conservative pundits like Rush Limbaugh, perhaps the most damaging is this idea of American “exceptionalism.” How can it possibly be squared with the Scripture? It can’t. When the Bible says that all men have fallen short of God’s glory, that includes Americans. And it certainly includes the American government that has, incidentally, safeguarded tens of millions of abortions.

Laurence Vance unfortunately has been affiliated with the Grace Evangelical Society, but on the topic of war he publishes thoughtful articles. Why have Christians been seduced by the warfare state and this foreign policy of endless meddling in other lands? Vance attributes it partly to American exceptionalism.

Many Christians are guilty of nationalistic and political idolatry. They have bought into a variety of American nationalism that has been called the myth of American exceptionalism. This is the idea that the government of the United States is morally and politically superior to all other governments, that American leaders are exempt from the bad characteristics of the leaders of other countries, that the U.S. government should be trusted even as the governments of other countries should be distrusted, that the United States is the indispensable nation responsible for the peace and prosperity of the world, that the motives of the United States are always benevolent and paternalistic, that foreign governments should conform to the policies of the U.S. government, that most other nations are potential enemies that threaten U.S. safety and security, and that the United States is morally justified in imposing sanctions or launching military attacks against any country that refuses to conform to our dictates. These are the tenets of American exceptionalism.

The result of this American exceptionalism is a foreign policy that is aggressive, reckless, belligerent, and meddling. This is why U.S. foreign policy results in discord, strife, hatred, and terrorism toward the United States. We would never tolerate another country engaging in an American-style foreign policy. How many countries are allowed to build military bases and station troops in the United States? It is the height of arrogance to insist that the United States alone has the right to garrison the planet with bases, station troops wherever it wants, intervene in the affairs of other countries, and be the world’s policeman, fireman, social worker, security guard, mediator, and babysitter.

Many Americans seem to think we can do no wrong when killing foreigners. It’s all in the name of protecting our freedom and the American way.

I think it’s time American Christians took off their blinders and repented for following bureaucrats and lawless politicians with their flag pins, and for cheering on mayhem. American exceptionalism is American arrogance. It’s deeply unbiblical.

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