Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Distortion of Manifest Destiny as Calling

". . . America's 'Manifest Destiny,' or more broadly America's sense of exceptionalism, can be traced to various roots, geographical and economic, but the deepest root is theological. The English Puritans saw their revolution as 'God's own Cause' and their Commonwealth (in poet Andrew Marvell's words) as 'the darling of heaven.' So when their revolution failed and they migrated from the Egypt of England to the Canaan of New England, they transferred the sense of destiny. They were 'the Lord's first born,' entrusted with a 'pious errand into the wilderness.' In short, with America destiny preceded discovery.

To be fair to the Puritans, they neither coined the term manifest destiny nor believed in the idea. They believed that God had a providential purpose for all nations, including the United States. It was not for the United States alone. The term manifest destiny was first used in 1845 by John L. Sullivan, the editor of Democratic Review. It was a secular, nationalistic distortion of calling that needs to be challenged in a nation as much as in an individual."

The Call, p. 115

No comments: