I’ve been reading Scandalous Witness: A Little Political Manifesto for Christians by Lee C. Camp, after seeing the book mentioned a couple of times on Scot McKnight’s blog. It’s a challenging read and is forcing me to recognize some blind spots I have had. Other times, I find that Camp has put into words things I have felt but not taken the time to articulate thoroughly.
Rather than chapters, the book has a series of “Propositions,” which are summarized with one or two paragraphs at the start of each “chapter,” then developed and fleshed out over several pages. The fifth proposition is, “The United States is Not the Hope of the World.”
Camp recounts how various U.S. government leaders since the founding of our nation as have placed the United States in that position. Thomas Jefferson, in his inaugural address in 1801, used the words “the world’s best hope” to refer to the still-new republic. In his 1862 state of the union address, Abraham Lincoln used the phrase “the last best hope on earth” to describe our country. Following World War I, Woodrow Wilson repeatedly said that the United States would “save the world,” and in one speech said, “At last, the world knows America as the savior of the world!”