The danger of thinking that God is on our side

The Hebrew Bible provides no evidence to support this proposition. Nor do the teachings of Jesus Christ and his disciples. Yet the American Bible incorporates a de facto Third Testament, which validates this assertion of American uniqueness. That testament, fashioned from a carefully tailored rendering of the 20th century, recounts the story of a new chosen people serving as God’s instrument of salvation, leading humankind onward to the promised land…

No leading contender for the Republican nomination will challenge the positions that Romney laid out. After all, they share his certain knowledge that God has designated America as his earthly agent. They endorse Romney’s emphasis on enhancing U.S. military power as the key to perpetuating an American century. And they mirror his lack of interest in the world as it is, indulging instead the pretense that it’s still 1945.

The eventual Republican nominee, whoever that may be, will argue that President Obama believes none of these things — hence his unworthiness for a second term. For his part, the president will exert himself to prove otherwise. As he has done before, Obama will signal his own allegiance to militant exceptionalism, offered as positive proof that he is authentically American. Rival messianic visions will compete.