American Zionism considered. - David Gelernter has penned a thoughtful and instructive article on the mission of America given by God. Some will disagree; a great many, no doubt. But the detractors were detractors before Gelernter put pen to paper.
Gelernter asserts that the anti-American zeal of some throughout the world is akin to religious zeal and because of this makes the deduction that if anti-Americanism is a religion than also Americanism is a religion.
But what is Americanism?
It is, he states, the belief that America is divinely chosen country, the New Israel. What's more, Americanism, he concludes, is an evolution of Puritanism.
Gelernter writes that Americanism is the final stage in political Puritanism and defines its creed:
If Americanism is the end-stage of political Puritanism, which in turn was the yearning to live in contact with God as a citizen of God’s new Israel, what is its creed?
The idea of an “American creed” has been around for a long time. Huntington lists its elements as “liberty, equality, democracy, individualism, human rights, the rule of law, and private property.” I prefer a different formulation: a conceptual triangle in which one fundamental fact creates two premises that create three conclusions.
The fundamental fact: the Bible is God’s word. Two premises: first, every member of the American community has his own individual dignity, insofar as he deals individually with God; second, the community has a divine mission to all mankind. Three conclusions: every human being everywhere is entitled to freedom, equality, and democracy.
Repeatedly, Gelernter brings home the point that early Americans felt very much related spiritually to the Hebrews in the Old Testament who were led out of captivity by God through Moses to the promised land. America is our promised land.
Gelernter gives us a lot to think about. There's not much I find myself disagreeing with, except perhaps the labeling of Americanism as a religion. I think I would call it more of a belief or better still the continued action of belief in the promise of God throughout its history, but why quibble. I think the concentrated idea that he is attempting to get across is that America, at her core, believes that the hand of God is upon her and leading her to stand as a light for freedom. Further, she is not only to stand, but she is to defend those struggling for freedom under oppressive tyrants.
I would like to focus on what it might mean to America's future though, if we find ourselves along the similar path of the Hebrew nation of the Old Testament on which many forefathers and Gelernter place us.
When God chose Israel, He chose them to be that light on a shining hill; to represent Him in purity on earth. Israel was His face to the rest of the world at that time, an example of what a God centered nation was supposed to be in a fallen world. Many came to Israel to learn of this True God and experience her blessings.
America, in her creation and founding documents, is not unlike what Israel was under the leadership of God. We recognized that freedom and self-determination were given to man from his Creator and we set out to honor that gift and responsibility.
Israel, once led out of slavery and into the promised land, grew in might, stature, and wealth. Not unlike America.
Over time, Israel, left her first love, turned to false gods and evil practices, and God reprimanded her by allowing in foreign conquerors so that eventually Israel was drawn back to Him in redemption.
Sometimes I wonder whether or not America isn't in that position now. I say "sometimes" because I know much of her people and some of her leadership still hold to God. But it's increasingly more difficult to remain optimistic about the moral integrity of this nation when faced with the descent of media and educational systems which so many in America readily consume. For example, Challies.com posted today that Columbia House is getting into the business of selling pornography. Why? Because America is increasingly becoming a culture that prostrates herself at the altar of sex.
A large company like Columbia House getting into pornography is not that unusual. Disney, years ago, recognized this profitable market. Now the Mouse is into everything from pornographic rap music to pay-for-view porn.
Watching this descent causes me to ask, how far must we, the American Zion, slip before our Father really pulls back His hand of protection for the purpose of our redemption?