I want you to know up front that I think there is a lot wrong with the practice of Christianity, especially in America. Despite the thousands of congregations and leaders who stick to the words of Jesus, it has far too often been polluted by the radical right/religous political extremists in our society.
Now that you know where I am coming from I will explain the title above. I have come to be annoyed by the term “God Bless America”. It is almost as if we think we have a lock on Christianity.
The Bible is the story of an occupied and oppressed people trusting that God will guide them toward liberation. The main characters who modeled faithfulness most often were those OUTSIDE of power. Many of us have been taught (albeit subconsciously) to read ourselves into the biblical story as the protagonist when in reality — whether we like it or not — we have more in common with the antagonist.
We live in one of the most powerful and wealthy countries in human history. We don’t need to be ashamed of that, but we do need to be honest about it. And, if we are honest, we have more in common with Pharaoh than with Moses. With Pilot than with Jesus. With those on the side of empire extinguishing the good news of the kingdom. As my friend Tony Campolo says, “We may live in the best Babylon in the world, but it’s still Babylon.”Source: Red Letter Christians
I love that the quote above helped me realize that America, me included, is more aligned with the antagonists of the New Testament stories than the oppressed. More in common with the Pilot than with Jesus. Those are startling revelations!
Getting back to my annoyance with the phrase “God Bless America”, yes I recognize that we in America are certainly blessed with material goods. We are all the 1% when it comes to the world’s riches. We need to claim that mantel and the obligations that go with it. We need to be our brother’s keeper, not just in our families or even country, but in the world. For that reason, I very much favor the phrase “God Bless Us All”.
So I close this post with the idea that everyone in the world is God’s family and
God Bless Us All