The problem with this view, though, is that it’s actually a heresy, or at least a seriously false teaching. Leithart again: “Americanism is a heresy; in certain respects it is simply idolatrous. Jesus, not James Madison, brought in the ‘new order of the ages.’” Indeed. To set our ultimate hope and give our ultimate fealty to anything other than Christ alone is false worship condemned by the first commandment, America included.
There are a myriad of reasons why this matters, as Leithart points out. Americanism of this type blinds us to America’s very real, human, failures and sins. Historically, we’re tempted to whitewash things like slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, or Manifest Destiny and the brutal, un-Christian treatment of the Native Americans (you know, the Canaanites standing in the way God’s New Israel.) What’s more, it has a tendency to blind us to some of the dark stains on our current foreign policy record such as consorting with tyrants for the sake of American just cause in the world.
The problem with Huckabee’s brand of American exceptionalism is that it’s idolatry, plain and simple. It’s crafting a god after our own image, turning our values into his values, and making our enemies into his enemies.