“And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? ‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good–except God alone.’ ”
So many times over my life I have heard about the exceptionalism of the American people and its government. This was usually equated to the general goodness of the people and their support for liberty (free speech, religion, etc.) and equality. The American Revolution has been referred to as the “Glorious Revolution” even though there was never a majority of colonists who actively supported the war and a large number of “Tories” – American colonists who openly supported England. In fact, the “Patriots” who supported the war had to resort to torturing Tories to suppress their dissent. In Holger Hoock’s book Scars of Independence he laid out the normal procedure of torture which included striping the person naked, pouring hot tar over the naked flesh or rubbing it in with a Tar Brush; sprinkling Feathers upon the Tar and then holding a lighted Candle to the Feathers to set the Tory on fire; and sometimes putting a halter around the person’s neck and dragging them around. This was the oft heard about tar and feathering. Many people survived this torture but were badly disfigured and some died from it but it was a horrible procedure perpetrated by the so-called freedom-loving Patriots. It did have the effect of squelching free speech however.
America, over much of its history, has had a remarkable number of its citizens espousing christian principles and morals and having a general fear of God. This has allowed God to bless America and allow it to do much good in the world and that undercurrent of faith has mitigated much of the wickedness that might have been produced in America. However, despite this, America has perpetrated much evil such as the ruthless subjugating of the seceding Southern states that were only trying to do what the Patriots had done and with much greater support among the people; the stealing of Indian lands and the massacre of their women and children; and atrocities committed by American troops in the subjugation of the Philippians Islands, including again the killing of women and children, among other wrongs.
As we head into a time where free speech is being squashed if you do not hold to the politically correct line; babies are murdered in the womb; parents are being forced by some courts to allow their children to undergo sex changes; and Christians risk losing their business if they do not celebrate a homosexual marriage, it is important to remember that this type of wicked behavior is not something new as America has been and is run by men and women with fallen natures. We are all inherently wicked absent God, even Americans. None of us or any country is exceptional in its goodness.
We need to remember that only God is good. We should always be loyal citizens of our country but our confidence is not in ourselves or in our country. Thankfully, some day we, as Christians, will enter a truly exceptional land of perfect goodness when we go to be with God in Heaven.