Uplift and Sunshine

This article is long enough and ignorant enough to be pretty tedious, but if you want to know how “what passes for journalism these days” is dealing with issues over on what they consider to be the Hard Right, you need look no further.

“Throughout Scripture,” Leithart declared in a passage from his 2012 book “Between Babel and Beast,” “the only power that can overcome the seemingly invincible omnipotence of a Babel or a Beast is the power of martyrdom, the power of the witness to King Jesus to the point of loss and death.”

The author then cites Peter saying something similarly outrageous over at  First Things.

“Leithart is the founder of a small school and related think tank, Trinity House, in Birmingham, Alabama, which Clarkson says ‘seeks to serve as a center for a new Reformed Protestantism, called Federal Vision, whose leading lights include Neo-Confederate authors [Douglas] Wilson and Steven Wilkins.’”

If we took all the journalistic competence on display here, rolled it up in a little ball and put it into a matchbox, it would look like a BB in a boxcar.

But while we are on the subject, let me say just a few things for the record. I do this in the hope that it will allay all concerns whatever, while knowing at the same time it will do nothing of the kind.

The Christian faith contains nations, but no nation, no empire, contains the Christian faith. Every Christian citizen of any nations, who has his wits about him, understands that he has loyalties that necessarily transcend the tribe — regardless of how big the tribe might be. It might be an imperial tribe, and it might be a tribe almost extinct, but God reigns all of them from Heaven. If you make Demos your god, where does your hierarchical vision end? It terminates in John Boehner and Harry Reid, and this is the point where I would encourage devotees of this pathetic faith to look upon their college of priests and reconsider. And looping in the Prophet Obama doesn’t help.

Second, suspicion of our current gaggle of corruptocrats is not unAmerican, but very American. Not only is it American, it is healthy American, two days before the Fourth American, down with the House of Hanover American. This, in contradistinction from that newer breed of diseased American, that species of capon that positively likes it when the kingident sends swarms of his officers to eat out our substance. At the risk of seeming stupid (“no, not that!”), I would like to suggest to writers of articles at Salon that the Declaration is not unAmerican.

And last, I would like to repeat something I have said a number of times before, and will probably be continuing to say until I die. The neo-cons with their talking point of “American exceptionalism” have really made a hash of this phrase, and have set us all up for the lefty statists who want to come after them and make us all bow down to the golden statue as soon as we hear the sound the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick. Changing Nebuchadnezzar into Uncle Sam doesn’t alter the theology of the thing, and the real Uncle Sam, unlike Nebuchadnezzar, would be more than a little annoyed by the whole enterprise.

Am I the only one around here tired of hearing about American exceptionalism?
Am I the only one around here tired of hearing about American exceptionalism?

The Founding of our nation really was exceptional, because the men who drafted our Constitution knew that American politicians, taking one thing with another, would be every bit as sleazy as the same class of men from any other clime. As Samuel Johnson once put it, “Politicks are now nothing more than means of rising in the world. With this sole view do men engage in politicks, and their whole conduct proceeds upon it” (Life of Johnson, p. 556). Surprise! Crossing the Atlantic did not change human nature. File this under things we should have learned from The Who, who weren’t going to get fooled again. Meet the new world, same as the old world — novus ordo seclorum needs to come back to Jesus.

The Founders knew we were not exceptional, and drafted a Constitution that did not trust us, not even a little bit. The subtext of the Constitution is not “beware of the English crown,” and it is not even “beware of the commies from the Soviet Union.” The subtext of the Constitution is that we are constantly to beware of boobus Americanus and the inveigling mountebanks they elect. We are particularly to watch their beady little eyes (Art. I, Sec. 2), their greasy palms (Art. III, Sec. 1), their sweaty foreheads (Art. II, Sec. 4), and their glowing promises filled with Uplift and Sunshine (Art. IV, Sec. 4).

That self-awareness really was exceptional. But we have now lost anything resembling such humility, and have replaced it with an Ozymandian pride, and are the laughingstock of the angels crammed into the balcony at the celestial matinee, who have seen ten empires rise and fall, and it is not even lunch yet.

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Dan Glover
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Thanks for the good post, Doug. Wow, what a hatchet-job of Leithart’s position. They quote Peter saying that Christians must be willing to be martyred for their faith (you know, that historic practice where the state kills Christians because of their faithfulness to God), and they interpret him as saying that Christians must be willing to kill for their faith. This article, at least where it references Leithart’s views, puts the “urinal” in Journalism.

Dan Glover
Guest

Oh yeah, and you should have titled the post, “BB in a boxcar”.

Eric Stampher
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Eric Stampher

Al Jazeera sees you as competition, Father Doug.

melody
Member
melody

I liked this!

Lis Oldaker
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Lis Oldaker

This is WONDERFULLY funny, something which is much needed nowadays. Of course, now I will have to look up semi-Pelagian which I sincerely hope is not off-topic & offensive.

timbushong
Member

The subtext of the Constitution is that we are constantly to beware of boobus Americanus and the inveigling mountebanks they elect.

Just excellent, Doug. Even though the founders weren’t all evangelicals to a man, they were borrowing liberally from a big, fat bank account of biblical worldview, and they acknowledged the “T” in the tulip as one of their primary premises.

Something that my dad emphasized to me as well–“you can’t trust youself.”

Ben Bowman
Guest

“And everyone did what was right in their own eyes.”

This is the dead fish that our founders always knew would rise to the top.

John Wright
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John Wright

Some Christians (I’m not saying you, Doug, but for sure some in Moscow) hear the word “exceptional” and go all catatonic before considering the context – or the inheritance. What is exceptional about America is that a group of people had awareness of God, called upon Him for wisdom amidst their own admitted fallibility and corruption, and that they were willing (with blood and courage) to attempt a new experiment in nation governance. In 1776, there had never been another experiment like it. Today, we look back to 1776 from our vantage point inside the Nanny State. We look through… Read more »