Is America Exceptionally Bad?

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A very concerned Washington Post recently ran a front page story about the persistence of “American exceptionalism,” followed up by an online panel of religious experts pontificating over the reputed problem.  A recent poll, of which the Brookings Institute was a partial sponsor, showed nearly 60 percent of Americans believe God has assigned America a “special role” in human history. Most believing were white evangelicals, over 80 percent of whom uphold this special role for America, as do two-thirds of minority Christians.  Majorities of Catholics and Mainline Protestants also agreed.

Of course, the left-wing religionists from The Post’s “On Faith” discussion were very distressed.  The Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State tied exceptionalism to America’s darkest sins.  “After the European settlement, strange ideas about ‘manifest destiny’ were used as an excuse to push Native Americans from their land,” Lynn explained.  “Later, in the antebellum South, some preachers routinely endorsed the thesis that slavery, American-style, was endorsed by God.”  Lynn deliberately concluded:  “Today’s ‘exceptionalists’ are really no different, a theologian’s equivalent of the child in the backseat telling his sister that ‘Mom likes me better than you!’”

So apparently Lynn believes the majority of black and Hispanic Christians in America who believe in America’s “special role” are the moral successors to slave-holders.  He forgot that American exceptionalists have included Abraham Lincoln, abolitionists, civil rights advocates and hosts of social reformers motivated by America’s highest ideals. Most Americans who believe in a providential role for America probably aren’t aspiring genocidalists or slave traders.  Instead, in sync with most Americans across several centuries, they believe America was founded to uphold democracy, freedom, religious liberty, with the opportunity for prosperity to all. They also recall America’s unique role in defeating foreign tyrannies who genuinely did aspire to a sinister global hegemony.

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  • Chezwick_Mac

    One need not be religious to believe in American exceptionalism.

    • sebyandrew

      One needn't be religious to be self-righteous either-look at the Left.

    • Liberty Clinger

      America is exceptional because our Founding Fathers identified equal rights to life, liberty and fruit of labor as the source of social justice – not equal outcome which is destructive of equal rights. Marxist equal outcome is also an Orwellian lie since the not-to-be-equalized Marxist equalizers end up with superior rights, superior before law and superior in property outcome. Our Founding Fathers identified God as the source of our equal rights since before God we are all of equal (infinite) value.

      “The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions: for men being all the workmanship of one omnipotent, and infinitely wise maker; all the servants of one sovereign master, sent into the world by his order, and about his business; they are his property, whose workmanship they are, made to last during his, not one another's pleasure: and being furnished with like faculties, sharing all in one community of nature, there cannot be supposed any such subordination among us…" John Locke

  • ThatGirl61

    I love Rabbi Wolpe. Also, I heard Rush give a good explanation of American exceptionalism back on November 2, 2010. Here's what he said: "American exceptionalism is this: The history of the world is oppression, tyranny, authoritarianism, control, dungeons, and prison. The history of the world is people living in squalor. Check it. The history of the world is human misery. The United States is the exception. And why?

    "Not because we're better people but because of our founding documents and the notion that our freedom is part of our creation, that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. Our Founding Fathers codified our very existence in our founding documents. Our Founding Fathers wrote a Constitution that limits the freedom of government, that limits the reach of government. That is what is exceptional about America."

    There's more, which is available at his website.

    America is "exceptional" as in "the exception to the rule." I think that is spot on, myself.

  • Rifleman

    Lynn' doesn't seem to realize he's just another kid in the back seat. He, and likely the other leftist preachers would talk of ending slavery, but never do a thing to end it.

    I'd rather explain myself to God for killing tyrants and terrorists than trying to explain my meekly standing by while they subjugated, tyrannized, and terrorized the weak or innocent.

  • davarino

    The left is insane with jealousy that the American experiment continues to work and thrive so they invent evil and magnify any wrongs done by America out of proportion.

  • Doug

    Barry Lynn is a leftist hack going through the motions about the same way as that ultra deadpan leftist lawyer, Fenstermaker who appears on O'Reilly from time to time. They are termites and maggots, determined to bring us down.

  • JohnB.

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the concept of "exceptionalism" originally mean the FALSE belief of a nation or society that it wasn't bound by the rules of history that bound everyone else? Somehow it has been twisted by pseudo-conservatives, in their everlasting quest to avoid having to face reality, to be a positive attribute. They conflate the ordinary meaning of exceptional with the meaning of political exceptionalism. As long as you pretend that America is exceptional (meaning immune from historical forces that have destroyed other nations) you don't have to confront the destruction coming down on this country of the powerful forces supporting that destruction. No matter how bad things are getting you can fall back on the fairy-tale of "exceptionalism", the comforting myth that things will always work out in the U.S. because they always have, to avoid having to take action.

    • JohnB

      Should be "OR the powerful forces."

  • Samurai Hit Woman

    I think dishonest people want to deny American exceptionalism as well as divorce Christianity from the country’s founding. In fact the two are inexorably entwined.

    It’s even possible that “a primitive Christianity” was attempted in the nation’s founding. Ben Franklin among other utterances of faith said this, “He who shall introduce into public affairs the principles of a primitive Christianity, will change the face of the world.”

    Deists believe in an absentee landlord and Ben Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson among others are listed as Deists. Yet, Ben Franklin had this to say, “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it” And Ben Franklin added, “ I firmly believe this.”

    Ben Franklin,“ the Deist”, also gave a stirring speech to Congress praising and honoring God for helping America win the Revolutionary War.

    The same holds true for the other founders listed as Deists. In fact, George Washington in his own words sounds more like Billy Graham than someone who believes in an absentee landlord. Clearly something is amiss.

  • Larry Linn

    What else did our Founding Fathers have to say:
    "Question with boldness even the existence of a god." – Thomas Jefferson (letter to Peter Carr, 10 August 1787):
    "All natural institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit." Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason;
    "Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.", John Madison;
    “Lighthouses are more helpful than Churches”, Benjamin Franklin
    “Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”
    -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

    • Liberty Clinger

      What else did our Founding Fathers have to say:

      “Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” George Washington

      “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour…” George Washington

      "Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe." James Madison

      “It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it [the Constitution] a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.” James Madison

    • Liberty Clinger

      What else did our Founding Fathers have to say:

      “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.” John Adams

      “The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.” Samuel Adams

      “The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased.” Alexander Hamilton

    • Liberty Clinger

      What else did our Founding Fathers have to say:

      “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs the affairs of men. And if the sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that 'except the Lord builds the House, they labor in vain who build it.” Benjamin Franklin

      "Almighty God hath created the mind free. All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens . . . are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion.” Thomas Jefferson

      “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?” Thomas Jefferson

      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

      • don zwieback

        Why is it that that believers in the same faith can believe such different things about America.
        And not just believers, but men who dedicate their lives to their faith.

        • sebyandrew

          who are you comparing?

    • Seek

      A lot of the quotes attributable to the Founders' insistence that we are a Christian nation are fake. The fake quote, in fact, is a cottage industry among theocrats like David Barton. Where they lift quotes out of context, they make them up entirely.

      P.S. You cited some accurate quotes, but you would have been more convincing if you had gotten James Madison's first name right.

      • Liberty Clinger

        Our Founding Fathers didn't set up a Christian nation; they set up one nation under God. While our Constitution separates church from state, our Declaration of Independence unites God to state.

  • CP party

    yes politicians are bad. I have the unhappy news to share, in CA we all believed in this woman Chelene Nightingale for governor, she claimed to be conservative and a christian. We did not know much about her past only that she said she had been an "actress" well, at we were sent this site, on the front page is a porn shot that Nightingale did. Apparently her actress was code for "porn" actress. We at the constitution party are dismayed and troubled. We spent time and money on a woman that made us look like fools. Vetting is important, we will never trust anyone like this woman again.,

    • Jimmy Wong

      apparently her embarrassment of her porn life, they moved the pisture, but you can still see CN in all her fraud whore glory google "sos leadership Chelene Failed actress job>" there on front page is the saved photo of her porn work. GET A REAL JOB! loser

      • jENNA

        Chelene Nightingale is such a con artist and fraud. She is now conducting fake seminars how to stop paying your taxes. Charges people money and or gold or silver. Chelene Nightingale should be monitored by the police. Disgraceful pig. Times are hard for people and this thief is scamming the poorest of the poor. (meaning dumb sheep that are lost) PIG!

    • Don Groundling

      its "" they tried to change the picture of nightingale but its on this webiste. red hair left hand side. What a fraud!

    • patriotic dream

      google the then press the (cache) there you have nightingales picture. They are trying to hide her picture but we have saved the site copied the picture and it will be produced in mass. (best not to mess with mother nature) liars always get caught :)

  • Lawrence Smallwood

    Thank you. I’m supposed to cook for my new vegan girlfriend this weekend and have no idea what to make! I found a loadlots of recipes at this vegetarian recipe site but with soo many to choose from I just got confused. Do you have any favorites youself, like .. the tastiest vegetarian recipe, ever, or something?! Thanks in advance! I’m so clueless about this vegetarian stuff

  • Gigi56

    A reading of the documents and letters of the founding fathers show that they were very unhappy about the institution of slavery even at the founding of our country. However, they were unable to establish the nation and end slavery at the same time. They chose to do one task and leave the other task for future generations to solve. The problem was that they could not get the support of the southern colonies if they made eradication of slavery a requirement. They were forced to be pragmatic — something that is common in politics. However, they built the country on a foundation of Judeo-Christian principles. And the government was based on a system that allowed for reasonable ammendments to the Constitution, which enabled future generations to address the issues of slavery, voting inequalities, etc. The Constitution is a brilliant document; worth re-reading and studying. And as Washington said, it's meant for a moral people. So, we should make ourselves worthy of it.

  • btilly

    American stopped slavery, both white and black and red. The s-called Judeo-Christian principles advocated slavery only for Jews and those who chose to live under the Mosaic Law.Under Christianity, human trafficing was considered the same level as sodomy, which was considered a mental disease. Romans 1:24.

    Slavery was engaged in by the Mongolians who are called American Indians, Europeans with indentured servants, and blacks, who were sold by their own bamboozled people by Islam. Arab Masters made it impossible for the black Africans to refuse to help sell other blacks, Egypt was big in black slavery and so was other black Africans. Capture a village here and there and workers and sex slaves were available. Regardless of the destination, east or west, slavery was a way of life until the Protestants in America and Britain decided to stop this evil practice. America is the product of people who had the guts to DO something for themselves, and then for others. The good, the bad and the ugly has been a part of all people since Adam and Eve messed up.

  • Christoper Jenkins

    totally agree about chelene Nightingale. Pure and pure fraud.

  • Duncan Barbor

    Please don't give moeny to the tax defier fraud hitting the circuit. Chelene Nightingale and group of thieves are going around the southland with a so called "constitution Lesson seminar" Make no bones about it, these people are deceivers and scam artists. They will ask you to pay for this "course" with SILVER OR GOLD OR CASH! What a shameful thing to do to people at this time in our economy. But snakes and scum like these people, have no ethics or conscience. Restore america plan is a scam. Its being reported to current authorities. Please be AWARE!!!!

  • Melanie G. Griffthen

    Thanks for the scoop on Chelene Nightingale, being a devious and unethical nutjob. I have seen her porn pictures online, and the fact that she thought she could run california and then took money from little old ladies and men is despicable!! I hope this so called "christian" really stops bilking people. She is not better than the fake preachers on TV> God save Chelene Nightingale! For the sake of her poor little son.

  • Nathan Rigard

    Thats really rank, Chelene Nightingale is a fool!

  • Alice Medina

    Chelene Nightingale tried to bilk my grandmother of money to join some anti-gove group, under the guise she would be a freedom fighter! Thank God I read about her and her kookydelusional scams. I told my grandmother to stay away from these grifters trying to bilk unsuspecting elderly folks. Please be aware!!! My grandmother is 79, and she almost got duped. Nightingale you are rotten to core!

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