Am I Anti-American?
This is a question that I have been asked at times. I believe it is a racist question. How can you be anti a race of people? In fact as Christians can you be ‘anti’ any individual? I mean what does ‘anti’ mean? Against? Does it involve hate? Or is it more passive, like ‘I don’t like what they stand for’? But really, I mean what a gross generalisation “THEY”. It’s like ‘all those Muslims’, how offensive is that tone!.
BUT, lets talk about US government policy, lets talk about certain individual politicians who have power in that nation and in our world, now I can be more specific! I am so over the way the US speaks of themselves with empirical language.
I am over the way certain people in the Bush administration have taken upon themselves to ‘rid the world of evil’, a task I thought God was in charge of!
Take for example General William Boykin. Back in 2003 he made a series of speeches at Christian churches. He copped some criticism for what he said and deservedly so! In fact I think he may have even been disciplined for his loose tongue!
He said America was indeed fighting a “spiritual Battle” against a “guy name Satan” who wants to “destroy us as a nation, and he wants to destroy our Christian army”. He referred to himself as a “Warrior for the kingdom of God”. (Although he was serving the CIA). He used language you may be familiar with; “We in the army of God, the Kingdom of God, the house of God, have been raised for such a time as this.” He reminded the church that “America is still a Christian nation while other nations have lost their morals, lost their values” that the president “was in the Whitehouse because God put him there”.
He asked the question that many Americans no doubt asked, “Why do they hate us? The answer to that is because we are a nation of believers.” And in describing the Muslim warlords he fought against in Somalia he said they were the “principalities of darkness” and a “Demonic presence in that city [Mogadishu] that God revealed to me as the enemy that will only be defeated in the name of Jesus”
Well as Jim Wallis [Sojourners] asked the general, does he not know that only peacemaking, not war-making, can be done “in the name of Jesus”?
Like Jim Wallis…
- I have some concerns about a subtle ‘theology of war’ that seems to be leaking into and out of our churches…it is certainly alive and well in the American government!
- I am deeply concerned by the language of ‘righteous empire’ that comes from the US.
- I have a problem with the roles of God, church, and nation that are confused by talk of an American “mission” and “Divine appointment” to “rid the world of evil”.
These kinds of things are dangerous and look to me more and more like a return to the days of Constantine and the crusades that followed for hundreds of years. (See the movie Kingdom of Heaven for a very good look at the confusion between Kingdom as ‘empire’, as ‘power’, as ‘dominance’ versus a real Kingdom of God, of conscience.)
I am not happy with the amount of back slapping that goes on between our Prime Minister and Bush. I don’t like the fact that we so often casually say “oh, we do everything the same as the US, just a few years later.” I see some of these religious ‘right’ trends already happening here in our great nation. Lets not go there people, lets not!
So – blessed are the peacemakers, the non-violent activists. These people are not just peacekeepers (sounds like a UN role to me, not even sure they do that to well to be honest! Ref. Rwanda!) Not peacekeepers, it says peacemakers…those who are active in going out of their way to make, produce, bring about PEACE.
Yes, like Jesus!
6 thoughts on “Am I Anti-American?”
So are followers of Jesus anti-American? My take is No. But we are always pro the Kingdom of God. And that will always clash with murderous idolatary of nation States. Be they Rome, or the US.
grace and peace,
Ok, I wasn’t going to post this but I think I will. A Story to illustrate. But first a disclaimer.
It isn’t necessary to name the camp, we’ve all done thinks in ministry we regret and the purpose me writing this is not to judge (less I be judged). Christ clearly teaches if we have a problem with a brother or sister to take it straight to them (Matt 18:15-19) not to blog it for the world to see. So I write this comment to just name that THIS ISN’T JUST A DYNAMIC THAT HAPPENS IN THE U.S. BUT THAT AUSSIE CHURCHES MUST CHECK THE SPLINTER IN THEIR OWN EYE BECAUSE WE ARE INFECTED WITH ‘WAR THEOLOGY’ AS WELL.
I was one of many leaders on a Christian youth camp and the they chose a camp theme, “WAR”. When I asked why, they said it was topical because the war in Iraq had just started. This really, really distressed me. Since it started, up to 30318 people have killed in that war now! (yes 30318!) People often only know the American death tole of 2000 because our Media is prejudiced and places more value on white western lives rather than morning the death of all of God’s children regardless of their nationality and colour (The earthquake in Pakistan is an example where the U.S., the richest nation in the world, has received more aid for hurricane Katrina than Pakistan in their poverty). Using war which kills innocent children, women, men and old people as a theme for a youth camp for the Prince of Peace? Is this what we mean by making our youth ministries “relevant”?!
When I challenged this I was told I was being political. (I don’t think they stopped to think about their own politics in making war the theme.) But they have got a point. I was being political. Not power politics (or party politics) of this yet to be fully redeemed world but the politics of loving your enemy instead of bombing them, that we are all called to as followers of Jesus and empowered to do so by God’s grace.
ok now I’m going to bed.
Crazy stuff! Thanks for your comments. I agree! It would be like having “Murder” as a theme or “Genocide”! I’m glad I was not there that year…then again people change, maybe I would not have had such an issue with it back then. Well maybe I wouldn’t have, but I had just not thought about it…thinking, theological thinking…now there’s an idea!
I’ll borrow jarrod’s disclaimer (well put btw Jarrod)… I know what you are talking about and remember thinking ‘well that does great for church unity’… anyway.
And in terms of being ‘too politcal’, it’s a hard situation. How pedantic should we be – I’m reminded of a conversation about Harry Potter.. now I don’t really have a problem with it but the lady I was talking to was very against it and the witchcraft and stuff entering kids’ lives. I didn’t think this was such a problem but then I don’t go busting up spiritual warfare stuff like this lady so maybe I don’t have a full picture of it. How ‘down-the-line’ are we to be? (Without comprimise and without being about ‘the law’?) I think I have asked more questions than I’ve answered …
it is indeed a difficult conversation to engage in when blanket statements are thrown around in the media and political arenas like “it’s UN-American! or UN-Australian!!” – effectively judging an entire nation of peoples’ actions and/or thoughts against some imaginary moral benchmark.
very exclusive (or inclusive, depending on which side of the “line” you stand!), violent langauge – with very judgemental outcomes.
it’s really funny when people say that we as christians aren’t supposed to be political.
How can we mention the word “king” and not be political? Last time I woke up, King meant the person who was in charge of how people do things in a place, how they organise resources, how they relate to each other, what values they uphold?
If we use the word “King” about Jesus then, maybe it means we’re being political?
If the term is appropriate to use about Jesus, then we’re being political – surely we can’t avoid being political – or economic – or social. Jesus cares about all these things and will transform them all with the coming of his kingdom (meanwhile, let’s bring it on).