When Israel entered the promised land they felt a God given mandate to slaughter the inhabitants- men women and children. They excused their slash and burn foreign policy by pointing out that they were God’s chosen people. When Britain ruled the waves, they sang “God save the queen.” England excused any barbarous act as an unfortunate necessity in their calling to bring civilization to the world. When Germany marched across Europe they wore belts inscribed with “God is with us.” But we all know that the world had to wait until America arrived to discover God’s real favorite nation. Across this great land, on any given Sunday, you can hear preachers praying for our troops and exclaiming that we are now God’s torch bearers in an otherwise Godless world.
When the United States exploded the atomic bomb incinerating thousands of Japanese civilians, President Harry Truman went on the radio and said, “We thank God that it has come to us, instead of to our enemies; and we pray that He may guide us to use it in His ways and for His purposes.”
Samantha Power recently appeared before a Senate committee as a nominee to be the US ambassador to the United Nations. She said, “If I am given the honor of sitting behind the sign that says “United States,” I will do what America does best: stand up against repressive regimes, fight corruption, and promote human rights and human dignity.”
I’m sure it was hard for Jesus to be a Messiah, but it is even harder for us in the US to be a whole nation of Messiahs. It is not easy for the same nation advocate for human rights as Samantha Power mentioned, but also to the be the nation that has vetoed more appeals to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights than any other.
As we consider whether to arm Syrian rebels we have come full circle. We helped form Islamist militants to terrorize Russia. Then Islamist militants were the target of a global war on terror. Al Qaeda had become the very manifestation of evil. Now as we discuss arming the rebel coalition, we must ignore the fact that some of them are rooted to Al Qaeda.
It is not easy to invade nations for the sin of possessing the same weapons we have, or of bullying them into accepting treaties that will destroy their economies and cultures, but that is the burden we must bear as God’s favorite nation.