The Common Good

American Exceptionalism

Source: BBC
Date: April 15, 2012

One of the chapters in Land's book The Divided States of America deals with America's special status in the world. America, he says, is not like any other country: it's less a piece of geography and more like a cause ("and that cause is freedom"). Land believes that "America's particular fortune has not been fortuitous; it is a sign of divine blessing". God, he says, has a particular and special interest in the American project: America is called to be a beacon of freedom in the world and God is personally looking out for it. Many in Europe will see that attitude (sometimes called "American Exceptionalism" or the doctrine of "manifest destiny") as part of the problem. Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, equates it with a "theology of empire". But Land dismisses those critiques: just look at the history of the United States, he says, and you'll find all the evidence you need that God is unusually interested in the progress of this place.