God Bless America

Shaky Kingdom: A Tiny Series on Christian Nationalism | Day 4

The last lie from Christian nationalists that we will discuss is the lie that America is the principal interest of God. From its inception, America the empire has confused itself with the empire of God. Manifest Density was the belief that God ordained the colonists to overtake and civilize the indigenous peoples, to claim their land as some twisted version of the promised land. When we speak of America like this – that it is God’s nation, that America is a Christian nation, that God is concerned with American First policies, that God should bless America over its adversaries, is to say that all of America, present, past, and future, is analogous with God.

Some of this might be true. America is founded (though not necessarily executed) on the idea that all people are free. In the same way, the Gospel is concerned with the elimination of societal definitions of inclusion so that all people might benefit from the love and grace of Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:28). America has programs (though not necessarily effective) designed to come alongside widows and orphans (James 1:27). America has acres of natural beauty that testifies to the glory of God (Job 12:7-10). It is undeniable that some of America’s goals as an empire overlap with the goals of Christ’s Kingdom.

And yet, the nationalists are convinced that God is only concerned with the interests of America, and that any enemy of America is an enemy of God. In the same way that it is true that America is concerned with the elimination of disparate social groups, it is true that America is deeply concerned with the preservation of certain social groups, and the elimination of others. White women did not gain equal participation in the empire of America until over a century after its founding. People who were not White did not gain equal participation in the empire of America until almost two centuries into its existence. America has served widows and orphans, but it has also created them in the genociding of people groups and the bombing of countries in the pursuit of democracy. America has learned from the beauty of the nature within it, and desecrated it to earn money and claim its dominion.

When this world passes away, and the new creation is wrought (Isaiah 65:17), we will not see only English-speaking Americans tilling the soil. Indeed, there will be people from all nations, speaking in all tongues (Revelation 7:9). Whoever America hates – Iraqis and Russians and Chinese – and whoever Nationalists hate – teachers and democrats and police officers – will inhabit heaven alongside whoever it loves. God is in the interest of reconciling all the descendants of Adam, not just the ones we like or who serve our same interests.

Prayer: God of the multitude, help us destroy the idols of language and nation so that we may devote ourselves more fully toward the Kingdom of God instead of the Kingdom of Man. Break our expectations of the limits of grace. Lead us to places we consider too foreign, so that we might see your mercy and creative spark is limited only by our capacity to experience it.

Further learning:   

Flags on Sunday

Anabaptist Perspectives Episode 174: How Empire and Colonialism Perverted Missions


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