Hope and Relief

I really appreciate this article, which describes the near unanimous hope and relief around the world regarding Obama’s victory. I think it says a lot about what the past 8 years of “neocon” rule in the U.S. has done to our reputation and standing on the world stage, and I continue to thank God that the American people had the sense to repudiate “the Bush doctrine,” among other things, by voting Obama into office. Moreover, as a Christian, I continue to be appalled by many things about the  McCain/Palin campaign, including their choice of a campaign slogan: “Country (America, presumably) First.” While I recognize that the U.S. is a secular state and so it does not offend or surprise me when it behaves as such, it’s incredibly troubling when so-called “Christians” (especially the Religious Right) fail to appropriately distinguish between their identity as Christians and their identity as members (and even/especially as servants) of this secular state. This “civil religion” serves many purposes (most notably, perhaps, winning elections!), but as Scripture reminds us, “you cannot serve two masters,” but I digress. 

Anyway, as a Christian, I, for one, do not put “country first.” Quite simply, I put Jesus first. He is the only One to whom I can with good conscience “pledge allegiance,” for He is my only Lord. Furthermore, this notion of “America First” is, I think, not only wrong-headed and double-minded for would-be Christians, but is, in fact, dangerous for the U.S. and the world. Unfortunately, the record is clear that when you think you’re #1, you start acting like it. You make unilateral decisions and treat the rest of the world like they’re second-best, if not unimportant. The evidence for this, again especially over the past 8 years, is so overwhelming and egregious that it’s hardly worth mentioning, but for the record, it is summed up nicely by the article linked above: 

“Obama’s election offers most non-Americans a sense that the imperial power capable of doing such good and such harm – a country that, they complain, preached justice but tortured its captives, initiated a disastrous war in Iraq, turned its back on the environment and greedily dragged the world into economic chaos – saw the errors of its ways over the past eight years and shifted course.”

Dear God, for the sake of the U.S. AND the world, let it be so!

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