God is not an American.
I live in the South, where “God and country” is a popular sentiment. Despite the fact that America was reputedly built on Judeo-Christian values, this seemingly honorable motto is problematic. It fails to promote an ideology that seeks God’s glory and multinational kingdom while encouraging American citizens to submit to his will.
Instead, it turns Jesus into a patriot.
God Is Not an American
Such a mentality tends to confuse God’s interests with those of a political party. It makes the United States the center of God’s affections, above every other nation. But even though God is not an American, critiquing the sentiment is seen not only as an assault on the principles of American democracy, but on God himself.
It conflates religion and politics, yielding a false god made in America’s image.
This dynamic is not new. Many of America’s forefathers built this country believing God’s hand of blessing was on them to bring good fortune to their endeavors. And for centuries, many have attributed America’s superpower status to God’s favor.
Unsurprisingly, this dynamic has created a potent civil religion in our country. Compassion and justice for the poor and oppressed (Isa. 1:17; Prov. 31:8–9; Matt. 14:14) is often subverted for the sake of partisan values. The importance of wisdom and moral character in leadership (Luke 22.24–27; Prov. 3:13–18; Phil. 2:3) is overlooked for the sake of a political party’s reign.
To a watching world, our public witness and cultural credibility is undermined to the degree we seek social dominance over biblical faithfulness.
America? New Israel
So often the leader of this civil religion is Jesus, whose supreme interests seem to be “America first” and reinstating a golden age of traditional values. This Jesus is a mascot for a political team; he is not found in the Bible.
No earthly nation, including America, has a monopoly on God’s favor and blessing. All of God’s promises and blessings are directed toward the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multinational body of Christ.
Additionally, the Jesus of the Bible shed his priceless blood for people from every nation (Rev. 5:9). All of God’s promises and blessings are directed toward the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multinational body of Christ.
In Christ we are all blessed, from the least to the greatest. From Englewood in Chicago to the Korengal valleys in Afghanistan, God has children all over the globe. Salvation has come to all nations. The United States is not a new Israel; the church is.