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A Christian Proclamation against American Empire

We are alarmed that our beloved country, the United States of America, is becoming a global Empire. It is using its status as the sole superpower to impose its will on others, economically and militarily, with little regard for their best interest. It is choosing to be accountable to no one. To the extent that it employs coercive power, and directs it to the economic, political and military domination of others, it is acting against the God of the Bible.

Empire, and the injustice, oppression, and violence inherent in it, are major themes of the Bible. The God of the Bible works against Empire. Beginning with Genesis and Exodus, in the shadow of the Egyptian Empire, then the Assyrian, the Babylonian and the Roman Empires, the Bible clearly defines the problems of Empire and the coercive power on which it relies.
Israel ’s own failed attempt at Empire is described and critiqued in the books of Samuel. The kind of security Empire promises and the kind of power it worships and embraces lead to death, not life. Empire works against God’s creation.

According to the Bible, well-being comes from the creating, transforming God. God’s loving and persuasive power is manifest in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. His teachings, his followers’ understanding of his Messiahship, and the interior life of the first Christian communities, were all in antithesis to Empire: the coercive power it employs, the religion it exploits, and the idolatrous loyalty it demands in the name of patriotism. The divine power manifested in the Bible offers an alternative. Persuasive, liberating and empowering love defines God’s Realm.

Our country is in theological crisis. Do the American people worship the coercive power embodied in global Empire? Is that why some seem to think of our nation as divinely mandated to seek unilateral global domination? Or do we worship the God who loves all creatures? If so, we will use American power to build a world order in which all peoples freely participate and God’s whole creation can flourish.

The opposition to Empire, found in the Bible, is also part of the tradition of other communities of faith. We hope to work together in taking an active stand against the cycle of military and economic violence that is being perpetuated by our government in the name of its citizens and, too often, blasphemously, in the name of the God of Christianity.   

We cannot serve both Empire and the God of the Bible. We choose God. Because we love our country, we call on it to renounce imperial ambition and lead the world into a democratic order reflective of its finest traditions.

Therefore, we call on all people of conscience to reject the ideology of Empire for America and to work with us for a more humane and peaceful world. We call on all Americans, whatever their political affiliations, to stand for life and not death.

~ Process & Faith Advisory Council