American Israelism

FileFlag of the United States (Pantone)

I recently stumbled across a Christian radio station broadcasting on the Internet. Its origin is the far-right, King-James-Only sector of Protestant (make that Baptist—they’ve forgotten that they’re Protestants) fundamentalism.

A perky choir was singing the following:

We pledge our lives to you, America,
With every fiber of our being,
Every breath within our soul!
We pledge our lives to you, America,
And pray that God will keep our land secure and whole;
We pledge our lives!

This troubles me. Would we feel comfortable hearing Soviet Christians in 1986 singing, “We pledge our lives to you, Mother Russia”?

If the answer comes back, “No, because the USSR was an officially godless state,” then I want to ask, What’s the difference between an officially godless state and an unofficially godless one? “In God We Trust” is approximately 90% mockery; even our Christian politicians frequently make and defend their decisions based on “neutral,” “secular” principles. And what does having God’s name on our currency do except damn us further? Everyone who hands over two dollar bills (?) for a copy of Cosmo takes God’s name in vain two times—more if they have to use change.

I do not pledge my life to America with every fiber of my being and every breath within my soul. I will give numerous of my being-fibers to America if called upon to defend our nation or its allies in a just war. I view that as my responsibility according to Romans 13 (and Gen 9:6). But I’ll have quite a few fibers left over, I think. Most of them, in fact. Because I am a stranger and a pilgrim.

America is not God’s chosen nation. It is not the successor to ancient Israel. It is not a Christian nation, whatever that is.

I invite the guys over at Religion in America to say something more insightful about this song—and its use on a Christian radio station—than I just did. I know “American Israelism” has a long history that they know better than I.

If they don’t get around to it, you can at least read this helpful article by Mark Noll, “America’s Two Foundings.”

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

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