I thought that this might interest some of you, actually. Who do you feel about it?
As a Christian, I tend to believe that God has a “special role” for every person and every nation. Too often, however, we confuse “special” with “exceptional.” If we agree that God has granted the United States a special role in history, then shouldn’t we also agree that God has granted Thailand and Kenya a special role?
Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s what most of the respondents in the study had in mind, and the research of Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, seems to agree. In Jones’ analysis he found:
“Americans who affirm the idea of ‘American exceptionalism,’ a belief that God has given the U.S. a special role in human history, have a distinctly more militaristic approach to foreign policy than those who do not affirm this idea. Those who believe in American exceptionalism are more likely to favor military strength over diplomacy as the best way to ensure peace, and they are also more likely to say torture can be justified than those who do not believe God has given the U.S. a special role.”
Jones is referring to the disturbing finding in the same study that a majority of white Americans who say God has a special role for the U.S. also believe that peace is best found through the use of military strength rather than diplomacy and that torture can be justified in at least some cases.
In someway, I can see the idea of a ‘special role’, especially if one believes in a Sovereign God who is pushing all of humanity towards a consummation of history. I wouldn’t, however, go so far as to believe in American Exceptionalism. Nor would I assume that I would need to have a militaristic viewpoint if I did believe in the special role.
So, what do you think?
ht – Charles Harrison, via Facebook
- American exceptionalism: the Palin version (economist.com)
- American exceptionalism challenged by a special American (robertg69.wordpress.com)
- We’re Obsessed With American Exceptionalism (andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com)