God Does Not Love America

God does not love America.

If that offends you, you have a problem.

God does not love Israel.

Israel as a nation is a construct of the Truman Administration and some legal wrangling within the United Nations.

I know we have been taught — truly indoctrinated — to think otherwise. I get it. It’s a hard truth to realize that as a nation God is no more devoted to us than he is to Afghanistan or Iraq, Iran or North Korea.  It’s like learning that your mama loves your brother as much as she loves you. It’s disappointing to not be the favorite.

But when it comes to nation-building, God does not play favorites.

I understand how we got to this place — the place where we believe that we are God’s BFF.

We packed up our wooden trunks, left Granny and the chickens behind, because it was obvious to us, if not to our neighbors, that Europe was morally and religiously corrupt. We were going to be a better people than they were. We were going to go all out for God. We were going to worship him in a way that was denied us in Europe. We were going to create the pure society. We’d teach the world what being sold out to God really looked like. Oh. Yeah, we’d teach the world to sing, too.

So across the seas we came, puking and dying along the way. That’s how we roll. Us Americans. We’ll die for anything. It’s the living for something we struggle with.

We came with the intent of establishing the first true faith-based community of like-minded believers. No matter that in our pursuit of being God’s BFF, we had to slaughter folks and steal territory. For you, God, anything.

But, shocking as it may seem now, establishing a pure society is hard to do when you’re working with people. Especially people who aren’t all that like-minded. It was an awful choice to make but in our blinded pursuit of being God’s BFF, we were willing to hang our own, unless they conformed.

That’s the toll exacted of a nation-building people. We have to be willing to turn on our own if we ever want to prove our worthiness as God’s BFF.

But the thing we keep missing, over and over and over again, is that God never asked us to prove our worthiness to him.

He sent Jesus for that purpose.

God is not into nation-building.

God does not love America.

In fact, scriptures are replete with story after story of man being asked repeatedly to pledge allegiance to someone other than God and those who were considered God’s BFF were the ones who resolutely refused to.

God is a jealous God. We know that.

If our allegiance to a personality or to the message of another flawed human being is such that we take offense at any criticism of that personality or that message , then, Huston, we got a problem.

God said: You shall not have any gods before me. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind.

For those of you who don’t know the difference, that’s a Bible verse.

Fifteen million people won’t find that truth in the pages of Fifty Shades of Grey.

There was a time in this country when people read the Bible, for pleasure, for wisdom, for encouragement, for direction, for blessings.

But that was back when we had a healthy fear of God.

We are so altogether convinced now of our rightness, our own self-righteousness, we fear no one.

We have forgotten.

God does not love America.

He loves the people of America. The people of Iraq, Iran, North Korea, South Korea, China, all of Europe and South America. Every unknown tribe of every unknown nation. God loves them all. “For God so loved the WORLD, that he gave his only begotten son, so that whosoever believes in him will not perish but will have everlasting life.”

It’s not about us.

We are not God’s BFF, folks.

God does not love America.

 

About Karen Spears Zacharias

Author. Speaker. Journalism Instructor. Four kids. Three dogs. One grandson.

  • therealzippy

    Wow. I love it when you remind readers what we have obviously forgotten.

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      Preaching to myself, here, as usual.

  • Tanya

    I love this. My only hesitation is over these two lines:

    “There was a time in this country when people read the Bible, for pleasure, for wisdom, for encouragement, for direction, for blessings.

    But that was back when we had a healthy fear of God.”

    I won’t dispute that there might have been a time that more people read the Bible. But I’m not sure whether that gave them a healthy fear of God or not. The Pharisees knew scripture, and see where that got them.

    I think Christians need to resist any attempt to look back for “the good old days. ” The good old days included slavery, and an attitude that men were king of their castles — they could treat women and children as they wished. (See the history of prohibition for evidence of just how bad things had got.) We should remind ourselves of the lives of coal miners and textile workers and oh so many things whenever we’re tempted to think we were once a kinder, gentler people. There may have been certain mores — ways you spoke or treated people of your own social class– but oh my, there is no reason to pine for those good old days,

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      Tanya:

      Must be all that sentimentality over Andy Griffith’s passing coming to bear.

      But having lived in some of those good ole days, I do think there was value in living in community where the most widely read book was the Bible and not Fifty Shades of Gray.

  • Ronald Frederick

    I have long known that God does not love America more than other countries or people groups even though it seems popular to say that Americans are the chosen people. Everyone who reads the Bible knows that Jews are the chosen people. Since my heritage is 50 percent Jewish, I am halfway chosen. Although God does not love America more, I do love America more than other countries and people groups. I want America to succeed. Even though we have many flaws, we have been leading the way for a couple hundred years. What other country out there does it better?

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      What other country out there does what better?

      • Christian LeBlanc

        Wow. Have a nice 4th of July.

        • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

          I can enjoy my 4th without having blind allegiance to America or embracing the nationalistic fervor of flag-worship. I would hope that for all people. There are countries that do things better than us. There are countries that do things worse than us. Pretending that we are somehow God’s beloved to the exclusion of others is wrong-headed. Bad theology & bad foreign policy.

          • RickCruse

            We are a people who, at times in our history, have done exceptional things. However, in our narrowness, we fail to see or believe that others have also done exceptional things. To hear Mitch McConnell state that we have the best medical care in the world made my stomach turn. Good thing I’m fortunate enough to have a wife who’s job provides insurance.

      • Tanya

        Here’s a website you can go to and compare national rankings in things like life expectancy, infant mortality, clean air, employment, money, education. http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/ Here it is clear we are not “the best” by many measures.

        A recent CNN story tells us we are “We’re 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, 3rd in median household income, No. 4 in labor force, and No. 4 in exports. … http://edition.cnn.com/2012/07/02/us/american-exceptionalism-other-countries-lessons/index.html

        As that article says, it is likely the third rail of American politics for any politician to admit that perhaps, we are not #1.

        • Ronald Frederick

          I looked at the chart and we are better at many things than I would have guessed. We are right up there in income and housing. The people ahead of us on life satisfaction are places like Denmark and Norway but we are still very high. We are certainly number one in military power but that was not rated. The reason some of those countries rank so high (think Europe) is because they were protected by our military power from the USSR after WWII. They were able to spend their money on other things without worry because we were spending our money to protect them from the bully. The difference between East Germany and West Germany is a good example. It would be nice to spend all this money on fixing up our own country, but who will protect us from the bully or the terrorist? We do have the opportunity here to create a number one environment for ourselves as individuals or for our own families if we are sufficiently motivated. Many start with a disadvantage but it is still possible.

    • Ronald Frederick

      All the things AFRoger wrote about are true, but we are not alone in our disregard for these things over the years. The situation was much the same in other countries around the world concerning human rights, abuse of minorities etc. I think we have improved over time as women do now vote, we do have civil rights, Native Americans do have casinos etc. Many other nations have also improved, but some like North Korea or Iran are still a couple hundred years behind. I don’t think we need to beat ourselves up so much as we move forward to realize more and more of the ideals of our founders. Our founders did what they could even though some of them knew about the possibility of trouble ahead. Abigail Adams told her husband John about big trouble ahead if he did not consider providing a vote for women. She was also an abolitionist. When I said “Who does it better?” I should have been more clear. What I mean is that we create a better environment for freedom, democracy, liberty and allowing the individual to do his/her own thing. No, we do not have the best health care, the best educational system and many other things. Hey, we do have the best military. One of the arguments of our day is whether or not we want to provide the best health care, the best education, the best space program in the world etc. Or do we simply want an environment where people are free to make their own choices. Yes, many people have lousy choices. Yes, many people are left behind. How we deal with this is the question.

  • AFRoger

    This morning before putting out my flag, I again read the Declaration of Independence.

    Apart from mildly stilted language, general eloquence and lofty ideals, there are a few things that rightly cause us to squirm in our seats. That “all men are created equal” was indeed radical talk by no means broadly accepted then. It still is not today. Sure, “men” may have been the rough equivalent of “humankind” back in ’76. But think about the broad classes of human beings to whom the definition of “men created equal” would not have applied. Like women. People of color. No property rights, no educational or civil rights, no citizenship rights–because they were not seen as “men”. They could be owned, bought, sold, imported, used for food and wealth production and used for sexual pleasure. All of that was seen as being entirely consistent with the drafters’ worldview which they understood to stem from entitlements granted by no less than the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”. Squirms all around, I hope.

    The drafters of the declaration decried the British king’s “transporting of large armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, destruction and tyranny…” Today we use them ourselves, calling them “contractors” and “coalition partners”. As if they were doing painting or concrete work. We use them to deny the true costs of war. Hardly a grownup position, but the prevailing one.

    Then there was the problem of the king’s use of “the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions”. (See definition of “men” discussion above.) Sounds like an apt description of suicide bombers, better named homicide bombers. But it all too often fits completely what we accomplish with the use of drones. Or rifles back at Wounded Knee. Who was that chief forced to flee a Pharaoh’s army to Canada? Why again did we have a Trail of Tears here in USA? Tell me again about smallpox, carpet bombing with alcohol, worthless treaties and “termination”. Children shipped off to boarding schools to be decultured but not acculturated.

    Merciless who?

    A wise man once said, “Everybody wants peace, but we also want what we cannot have without war.” Our own founding documents call us to repentance and renewal and humility before the God of all people and all things. Thank you for your message today, Karen. And may the God of All Things and All People renew us and restore us in steadfast love. And hope. Amen.

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      And, thank you, Roger, for your words and piercing reminder of the ohsomany times we have failed to live up to our own standards. And your remarks about the contractors… so painfully true.

      • Tim

        We are not supposed to live up to anyone’s standards. God desires that Christ live in us. Christianity as a path to better behavior is just morality dressed up as religion. Christianity is about Christ, not our behavior, attitudes and actions.

        Actually, this supports your thesis that God does not love nations but people. Not many folks I talk with misunderstand that, though. I know there’s a lot of rhetoric to that effect, but much of it seems to be hyperbole or constructing straw men.*

        Cheers,
        Tim

        * Why doesn’t anyone ever construct rhetorical straw women?

  • Kath

    Thank you for this. I have wrestled with being an American Christian and how to reconcile my faith in Christ (which I came to at the age of 32) with my family’s heritage (European, Native American and Chinese). It has been an interesting journey. Thank you also for your open letter to Anne Rice. I found your blog after reading that on CT. You’ve inspired me to begin blogging.

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      Kath: Wow. Thank you! So send us a link to your blog. Would love to see it.

  • Kingans

    And of course you had to throw Israel in there….

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      Absolutely. (as the British would say…)

      • Kingans

        I guess all that love talk in the OT is just God being….I dunno….a little over the top? Go ahead and party poop the 4th if it makes you happy, but leave Israel alone. They have enough crap to deal with.

  • Robertnevillemd

    I’m not sure I disagree with you, but I find your tone a little strident. Anyway, I thought the saying was “God Bless America”. Oh yeah, I guess someone else already covered that one in a sermon.

    • RickCruse

      Sometimes stridency is the only antidote to complacency. And “God bless America” is no more biblical than “God helps those who help themselves.”

  • Rose

    well said Karin…

  • Chuck

    You got it right. God loves no nation, God has no religion. We may ask God to bless us, our nation. Does He? We try so hard to box God in, to place Him where and when we want Him.
    God loves us, His children, but only when we love Him first.

  • Smiley Guy

    You spelled “Houston” wrong. Just sayin’…

  • Parasum

    As a “not-American”/inferior being (?), I don’t see the problem. Why would people in the US regard themselves as special ?

    “God said: You shall not have any gods before me. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind.”

    It’s the *Shema*, from Deuteronomy 6. And Jesus repeats it, adding “You shall love your neighbour as yourself”.


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