"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
0 items in your cart
$0
Blog // Thoughts
July 1, 2005

US Political Christianity III: Issues In Exceptionalism

Thanks to Sivin Kit for a link to this timely editorial from Christianity Today, “George W. Bush is not Lord. The Declaration of Independence is not an infallible guide to Christian faith and practice. Nor is the U.S. Constitution, nor the U.N. Universal Declaration on Human Rights. “Original intent” of America’s founders is not the […]

Thanks to Sivin Kit for a link to this timely editorial from Christianity Today,

“George W. Bush is not Lord. The Declaration of Independence is not an infallible guide to Christian faith and practice. Nor is the U.S. Constitution, nor the U.N. Universal Declaration on Human Rights. “Original intent” of America’s founders is not the hermeneutical key that will guarantee national righteousness. The American flag is not the Cross. The Pledge of Allegiance is not the Creed. “God Bless America” is not the Doxology.”

In reponse to my last post on this topic, Steve Knight asked some questions on my issues with Sojourners. In answering those, I touched on the issue of exceptionalism. Taken at its most extreme, exceptionalism manifests (no pun intended) a kind of political idolatry in the US church. I find it hard to take in an image like the one above, from the Crystal Cathedral, which is bred by this. Sure the tragedy of S11 prompted that giant flag, but is the answer of the church in the face of such a devastaing incident should not be to find solace in an image of nationalism, but to find solace in the peace of God. As the Christianity Today editorial put it,

“In worship we signal who is the Sovereign, not of just this nation, but of heaven and Earth. In worship we gather to be formed into an alternate polis, the people of God. It is here that we proclaim that a new political order‚Äîthe kingdom of heaven‚Äîhas been preached and incarnated by the King of Kings, and will someday come in fullness, a fullness to which all kingdoms and republics will submit.”

Whilst I am pondering the extent to which Sojourners is trapped in a US-centric local framework, I don’t really think they buy into exceptionalism. However, the most viable solution I see to unmasking exceptionalism within christianity is to focus more fully on the catholicism of the church, which means to take a fully global view. Such a mission and outlook seems wholly consonant with Sojourners’ aims, but it demands that all Christians (not just those in the US) see their first political loyalty as being to God and their greatest allegiance as being to their fellow Christians, regardless of their nationality, class or political persuasion.

Tagged
1
Responses
Steve K. 17 years ago

Well said, Fernando. Thank you for clarifying your thoughts on this, and I’m sure Sojourners would appreciate hearing from you on this as well. This issue of national pride and USAmerican exceptionalism is one that my friend Anthony Smith and I have been discussing recently, and I deeply resonate with you on this. I encourage you to read Anthony’s thoughts over at postmodernegro.blogspot.com.

Shalom,
Steve K.

Leave a comment

Enter your and your to join the mailing list.