I join Wickersham’s Conscience in saying:
As usual, Sullivan nails it.
The blog post by Andrew Sullivan that WC points at begins,
The relationship between religion and politics is, to my mind, the central question of our time. As the false totalisms of the twentieth century – communism, fascism, Nazism – have been revealed as oppressive, murderous lies, insecure and inadequate human beings in need of totalist solutions to the human dilemma have returned to religion. But more accurately, they have returned to fundamentalism, because only fundamentalism, with its absolute certainty and literal precision and binding, unquestionable authority, can assuage the anxieties of a world dislocated from tradition, up-ended by capitalism, globalized to the point of cultural panic….
This ideology comes perilously close to arguing that something must be right because America does it, or has done it. It paradoxically removes the potential for moral improvement and reform by arguing that America was immaculately conceived, and that all that is required for its revival is what Sarah Palin calls a “fundamental restoration”. The core moral narrative of the country – its founding on slavery and its bitter brutal internal conflict to achieve racial justice over the centuries – is simply ignored. This is what we are hearing from Santorum and Romney and Palin: American fundamentalism.
All of this is routine for authoritarian nationalist movements. What distinguishes this one is a co-optation of Christianity. But, of course, Christianity cannot be co-opted by nationalism. It is opposed to all such distinctions:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Yes, the Messiah came from a Chosen People, but in Christianity, Jesus’s death and resurrection made the whole world that chosen people. At the Feast of the Ascension yesterday, we Catholics heard at Mass the words of Jesus from Matthew:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.
And so the notion of America as a unique nation in the eyes of God is a Christian heresy.
But read the rest.
Here, again, is a reminder of what Christianism is. Also known as Christian dominionism, also known as Christianity as political ideology, rather than religion. In this case, it’s a form of nationalist idolatry, or idolatrous nationalism — the stuff, in any case, that theologian Paul Tillich wrote about in in a passage of Dynamics of Faith whence comes this quote:
In true faith the ultimate concern is a concern about the truly ultimate; while in idolatrous faith faith preliminary, finite realities are elevated to the rank of ultimacy.
Among which idolatrous faiths counts the style of Christian dominionist nationalism practiced & preached by Palin & her ilk.