blue bits. red rocks.


American Exceptionalism should not be part of any Christian’s theology or thinking. If we have anything more than others or that which privileges us over others who have less, we should use that power as an opportunity to serve those who are less fortunate. Ready to take on American Exceptionalism? You might want to pack a parachute… Randy Woodley

So to those who insist that America be a Christian nation, I ask: Is this truly what you want? Do you want the I-was-hungry-and-you-gave-me-something-to-eat of Matthew 25? Do you want the Sermon on the Mount? Do you want to shine God’s light in the darkness? Your behavior says no. Your shouts against generosity say no. Your penchant for oppressive culture says no. Your willingness to shower wealth on the few while the many suffer says no. Your hostility to freedom says no. So stop pretending. At least be as honest as the hedge fund manager who paid himself $8 billion last year. It’s “all about the Benjamins,” not the Gospel. It’s about stifling any freedom but your own. It’s about imposing your cultural preferences on others. It’s about turning your fears and appetites into law. It’s about you, not about Jesus Christ. That’s the nature of politics, of course: one “you” versus another “you.” That’s fine, and it’s why we formed a democracy, so that our various interests could compete fairly. Just spare us the religious posturing. If America became a Christian nation, doing what Jesus did, you would be aghast. Tom Ehrich

So how do we reconcile these two seemingly contradictory facts: that the Christian Right wants a moral establishment, a coercive vision of government, with its libertarian framework? Here I would draw a crucial distinction between libertarianism and anti-statism. Members of the Christian Right are decidedly not radical individualists of the Age of Aquarius. But they are opposed to the state insofar as it represents a secularism that they despise. The state as it is currently constituted is seen as the greatest barrier to their Protestant moral establishment. Now, obviously, many Christian Right leaders celebrate unregulated capitalism—“free enterprise”—to the degree that they fit well within the Republican Party, which would give corporations a freer reign than they already enjoy. This holds true even in the wake of the recent destructive financial collapse that is so obviously the result of giving free reign to finance, the most powerful sector of corporate America. This tendency needs better historical explanation than I can give in this blog post. But it does not take away from the fact that libertarianism is not anti-statism, and that the Christian Right, and thus much of American conservatism, holds to the latter, not the former. Liberty and Order: Or, the Perplexities of American Conservatism

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