Not a birthright. I came to a startling conclusion this week and I feel it’s necessary I share it with you, the reader. I share because you, my friend, have taken the time to navigate to my corner of an internet filled with noise. I share because it’s too important to keep to myself. It seems that America has gotten something starkly wrong over the past few decades and it’s about time we set the record straight. We, America, are not God’s chosen people.

History of the chosen. The Israelites became God’s people for a specific reason. Religion was a relatively new thing in the world when Abram was a young lad. However, most religion centered around a multiplicity of gods. God decided to use a man and his clan to build up a minuscule nation amongst the greatest concentration of civilizations at that time. He chose the Israelites so that He might better reveal Himself to the world on a greater scale as the true God on a stage filled with hundreds, maybe even thousands of gods. He used the story of the nation of Israel to tell His own.

Times have changed. God’s told His story. In fact, throughout the Old Testament, you see glimpses of God trying to convince the Jews to be less exclusive and foreshadow the acceptance of the Gentiles, the heathens of the day. You see, even the chosen people weren’t the only people of God. After the life, death and resurrection of Jesus,the work was finished and everyone could be God’s chosen people. Yet, somehow, two thousand years later that trend has reversed and America is the only chosen people. Sorry, I missed that part of the Bible.

A dangerous cocktail. America has taken up a very weighty mantle in the world as its protector and caretaker. I’m proud of this fact that we live in a nation that cares enough and is powerful enough to do this, but this has been taken a step too far. We’ve contaminated this honor by framing it in a religious context. There was no angel from God who came down to deliver the decree that God blessed America and nowhere else. There is nothing in the Bible that even advocates mixing nationalism and religion. In fact, God from the beginning warned the Israelites against such things. He knew what we should’ve figured out by now.

With pride comes the fall. The worst atrocities the world has seen have been committed in the name of god. I cannot bring myself to capitalize that ‘g’ because it is not for God these acts have been committed. Even now, this nation marginalizes illegal immigrants, uses excessive military force and exercises both racism and sexism. Though we don’t throw around the phrase as much anymore, I think we all know under whose authority we’re claiming our actions. It’s sick and perverted. Yet, we’re the only ones who can’t see it as such.

Too often have I heard the phrase “God’s removing His hands from this nation,” and I have to ask myself, “If God’s infinite, where would His hands go?” Sarcasm aside, God is not removing Himself from anywhere as He saved somewhere so wicked that Jonah refused to go there. However, God never needed this nation to do His bidding for Him. He’s quite capable as was evidenced by the number of Christians throughout the centuries before the settling of America. He doesn’t need us, but we certainly need Him. And He can definitely use us if we’re willing and cooperative (or not, again citing Jonah). Being God’s chosen is a privilege, not a birthright. It’s time we start living a life up to spec with what we claim.