It ultimately derives from a derivative form of Calvinism whereby the world can be divided into good and evil, the elect and the damned. From its earliest days, America has seen itself as God’s chosen nation, the idea of the Calvinist elect projected onto a country. The role model, of course, was ancient Israel. The early settlers were the “elect”, chosen by God to be saved through no action of their own. And America was their country. This concept resonates deeply among the American evangelical culture today. There was much outcry over Jerry Falwell’s comments after 9/11, when he was accused of blaming abortion, gays etc. for the catastrophe. But what Falwell really said was that God had withdrawn his shroud of protection from America. That presupposes that God was protecting America in a way that other countries could not access.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Distorted Calvinism and America's Predicament
Morning's Minion has a great post up at Vox Nova, where he explores some of the theological underpinnings of American arrogance. Read the whole thing: here's an excerpt: