Study Finds White Evangelicals Believe in American Exceptionalism

"Progress of America," 1875, by Dome...
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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.

Study Finds White Evangelicals Believe in American Exceptionalism – Evan Trowbridge – God’s Politics Blog.

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

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Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

One thought on “Study Finds White Evangelicals Believe in American Exceptionalism

  1. I think that we still believe in Manifest Destiny, we just call it American Exceptionalism now.

    But it’s still what it always was — vanity being given a theological license.

    Kind of like the Divine Right of kings.

    There is nothing new under the sun.

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