Currency of a Calling

The American Exception, the American Dream

Authors

  • Bradley A. Johnson

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/post.v2i1.87

Keywords:

religion, nature, culture

Abstract

One the most powerful evangelical Christian sentiments is that one is potentially imbued with the divine mandate and capacity to enact the will of God on earth. Since becoming president in 2000, George W. Bush’s sense of calling has encompassed the responsibility of the United States to bestow and/or protect freedom, which he has deemed “God’s gift to humanity.” The American president’s rhetoric, with regard to American exceptionality in its domestic and foreign policy, however, betrays a “sovereign” conception of time wherein nothing happens except the forestalling of its end. Following the philosophical inquiry of Philip Goodchild’s Capitalism and Religion and the political critique of Giorgio Agamben’s State of Exception, this article will examine the nature of American exceptionality, namely the degree to which President Bush’s rhetoric of the call co-opts its biblical precedents in a speculative maneuver that is unconcerned with the subsistence/lived level of reality, and whose aim is ultimately to perpetuate the creation of political capital.

References

Agamben, Giorgio. 2005. State of Exception. Trans. Kevin Attell. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Bacevich, Andrew. 2004. The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War. New York: Oxford University Press.

Bush, George W. 2002a. “Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the State of the Union.” Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents 38 (February 4):133–39.

———. 2002b. “Address to the Nation on the Anniversary of the Terrorist Attacks of September 11 from Ellis Island, New York.” Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents 38 (September 16):1528–29.

———. 2003a. “Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the State of the Union.” Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents 39 (February 3):109–16.

———. 2003b. “Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the United States Response to the Terrorist Attacks of September 11.” In vol. 2 of Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: George W. Bush, Jr., 2001, 1140–44. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

———. 2003c. “Address to the Nation on Iraq From the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln.” Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents 39 (May 5):516–18.

———. 2005a. “Inaugural Address.” Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents 41 (January 24):74–76.

———. 2005b. “The President’s News Conference With President Martin Torrijas Espino of Panama in Panama City, Panama.” Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents 41 (November 14):1671–74.

Goodchild, Philip. 2002. Capitalism and Religion: The Price of Piety. London: Routledge.

Schmitt, Carl. 1985. Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty. Trans. George Schwab. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Suskind, Ron. 2004. “Without a Doubt.” The New York Times Magazine, October 17.

Published

2007-05-20

How to Cite

Johnson, B. A. (2007). Currency of a Calling: The American Exception, the American Dream. Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts, Cultural Histories, and Contemporary Contexts, 2(1), 87–95. https://doi.org/10.1558/post.v2i1.87

Issue

Section

Articles