Sunday, November 30, 2014

Throckmorton: "Thanksgiving 2014: Gary Scott Smith On America As a Blessed But Not a Chosen Nation"

Warren Throckmorton had a series of intellectuals post thoughts on the political theological dimensions of Thanksgiving. The entire series is worth checking out. But, since it's after the holiday, I'll highlight only one, Gary Scott Smith's. A taste:
Although the conviction that God has selected the United States for a special mission in the world has contributed to some good results, it is biblically suspect. The Bible provides no basis for believing that any nation enjoys a unique relationship with God, as Israel did in Old Testament times. This Thanksgiving (and continuously) we should thank God for the many blessings our nation has enjoyed. Our geographical location, rich resources, fertile soil, unique blend of peoples, numerous liberties, and outstanding leaders have indeed been great blessings.
At the same time, we must reject the idea that we are God’s chosen people, a conviction that has helped motivate and vindicate America’s actions at home and abroad. Belief that God has assigned the United States a mission has helped inspire Americans to engage in countless acts of self-sacrifice, generosity, and charity. However, it has also contributed to imperialism, concepts of racial superiority, cultural insensitivity, and unwarranted interference in the affairs of other nations. It has stimulated Americans to fight injustice at home and abroad, but it has also contributed to simplistic moralizing, overlooking of our national flaws, ignoring moral complexities, and a hatred abroad of American hubris.


Tom Van Dyke said...

Lincoln said we were an almost chosen people. I prefer his take on things.

As for Prof. Smith's not-so-subtle attack on the "Christian America" thesis [ironically, with a Biblical, not a historical argument], the Bible-thumpers know full well that the Chosen People of Israel were made to suffer greatly for their sins.

Being a "Chosen People" ain't a walk in the park, and is certainly not carte blanche to do evil. This whole thing is a bit of a straw man.

JMS said...

I was not impressed by Trockmorton's collection. The best historian on this subject is friend of AC Jeremy Bangs. Two of his best articles on the web are:

Thanksgiving on the Net: Roast Bull with Cranberry Sauce

Truth about Thanksgiving Is that the Debunkers Are Wrong

Tom Van Dyke said...

Righteous, JMS. Jeremy Bangs is an old friend of the blog, for instance

Perhaps we'll rerun some of his material in between the David Barton Sucks stuff.