America is a fallen nation. The fall is the principle spiritual and political fact of the American nation. This is what the Bible teaches and it is what the American church refuses to believe. If we had believed the Bible, we would not ignore the oppression of the poor, we would not have resisted the facts of Vietnam, we would not have been surprised by Watergate. The chaos, the insanity, the brutality that is America can only be adequately explained by the biblical doctrine of the fall: the alienation of the whole of creation from God. The biblical doctrine describes the fall as pervasive, not only affecting persons, but also relationships, institutions, nations, corporations, movements, ideologies--all the principalities and powers. The American church’s doctrine of the fall is naive, narrow, trivial and misinformed. Our preaching and practice serve to deny the reality of the fall and claim a special exemption from the fall for our own nation.
There are those who are made uncomfortable with the suggestion that their own nation bears major responsibility for the sufferings of people. They recoil when others accuse their nation of military aggression, imperialism, or the exercise of mass violence for selfish interests. They are angered by the charge that their society is founded upon national arrogance and pride, racial privilege and. property values. They are defensive of the economic and political structures of their country that maintain and perpetuate injustice. They reject the notion that their nation uses propaganda to justify its actions and resorts to repression and naked force when necessary to protect its power.
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