grace, modern nation-state

Suspicion of the State and the Divine Economy of Grace

Sadly, I again feel justified in my suspicion of the state. And not only by way of history and political theory. Just recently I’ve come across the following.

From the Republicans:

I’ll just go ahead and say it: God damn the Republicans, and much of the Republican structure, who would turn divinely-inspired prophetic speech into a political tool by calling it hate speech. You parasitic fools.

However, Democrats, you will probably have a lot of explaining to do, if this article, This Is Change? 20 Hawks, Clintonites and Neocons to Watch for in Obama’s White House, is even half true about the future:

Amid the euphoria over Obama’s election and the end of the Bush era, it is critical to recall what 1990s U.S. foreign policy actually looked like. Bill Clinton’s boiled down to a one-two punch from the hidden hand of the free market, backed up by the iron fist of U.S. militarism. Clinton took office and almost immediately bombed Iraq (ostensibly in retaliation for an alleged plot by Saddam Hussein to assassinate former President George H.W. Bush). He presided over a ruthless regime of economic sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and under the guise of the so-called No-Fly Zones in northern and southern Iraq, authorized the longest sustained U.S. bombing campaign since Vietnam.

Under Clinton, Yugoslavia was bombed and dismantled as part of what Noam Chomsky described as the “New Military Humanism.” Sudan and Afghanistan were attacked, Haiti was destabilized and “free trade” deals like the North America Free Trade Agreement and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade radically escalated the spread of corporate-dominated globalization that hurt U.S. workers and devastated developing countries. Clinton accelerated the militarization of the so-called War on Drugs in Central and Latin America and supported privatization of U.S. military operations, giving lucrative contracts to Halliburton and other war contractors. Meanwhile, U.S. weapons sales to countries like Turkey and Indonesia aided genocidal campaigns against the Kurds and the East Timorese.

The prospect of Obama’s foreign policy being, at least in part, an extension of the Clinton Doctrine is real. Even more disturbing, several of the individuals at the center of Obama’s transition and emerging foreign policy teams were top players in creating and implementing foreign policies that would pave the way for projects eventually carried out under the Bush/Cheney administration. With their assistance, Obama has already charted out several hawkish stances.

Although unassuming, Jesus of Nazareth as the incarnation of the divine and human stories was an interruption from the beginning. The embodiment of divine grace, a relational act that always calls others toward the divine economy of reconciliation, had to enter into the world in some fashion. In fact, there could be no other way than interruption. With the truth of God encountering a broken world that acted as simulacra of divine politics and disconnected from its telos, and therefore in need of healing, God’s grace interrupted the structures of the world. The true politics of God could not but show self-reliant, human politics for the farce they are. Quite simply, the grace of God was not, nor is now, the economy of the world; the story of God did not live as human in the category of bargain, but that of radical grace and reconciliation.

We cry for true peace.

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One thought on “Suspicion of the State and the Divine Economy of Grace

  1. I always enjoy a good polemic. When I heard “hate speech” applied to those two particular sermons of Wright’s, I was shocked. Beyond the fact that 99.99% of people only heard the sound-byte sans context, I was amazed that the standard prophetic model had been re-branded “hate speech.” I should not be surprised, however:

    “Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.”

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