I am reading Robert Jenson’s Systematic Theology Volume 2 (I just recently finished his Volume 1), and in his chapter on the imago Dei. In passing, almost, as he is writing on nihilism’s impact on the way human beings view other human beings he references Germany’s National Socialism and its endeavor to cleanse the human gene pool of peoples it determined were sub-human, relative to the Aryan race; it is here he also mentions America’s Planned Parenthood and how it was just as much a part of the research project of eugenics that the Nazi solution was. Jenson writes:
Germany’s National Socialist thought it scientifically established that the Jewish strain degraded the European genetic pool. Setting out to cull their human herd of these threats to its genetic future was only what any responsible farmer would do on such information. They were, indeed, quite explicit in describing the human gene pool as a herd to be genetically improved; moreover, the holocaust of Jews was organized on the basis of an antecedently established program of positive and negative eugenics that in its negative mode had been directed against defectives of indubitably Aryan ethnicity. We should remember also that the sort of science that obtained these results was also practiced in England, Scandinavia, Italy, and the United States, resulting, for example, in the American Planned Parenthood organization and in Scandinavian state-mandated eugenic sterilization programs.
It is easy to sanitize, for example, American identity through her psyche of exceptionalism; but we play the fool if we do so. American complicity in the evils of the world is well established and pervasive; the example of her reliance upon eugenics given expression in the practices of Planned Parenthood is indicting.
My intention is not to bash America, but instead to draw attention to the fact that as Christians our primary allegiance is to our Lord Jesus Christ and our mode, consequently, is as the agents of his Kingdom. If we tie our identity too closely to our nationality as Americans we, just like the German Christians, will conflate the Gospel with moral proclivities that have more to do with hell than heaven. I think there is hope to be had, at least in and among many younger evangelicals that any type of overt nationalism, for the Christian, can only result in idolatry which further results in untold evils.
It is clear that almost all evangelical Christians find abortion repulsive, as they should! But my concern is that the same evangelicals haven’t thought systematically enough in regard to how the principle that fosters their hatred for abortion—i.e. the sanctity of human life—is not far reaching enough; that evangelicals fail to see how something like the military industrial complex, and its deployment, can and has fostered the same types of violations against humanity as abortion has. What Jenson notes about America’s engagement with eugenic thought ought to serve as a cautionary tale to Americans in general and Christians in particular. The thing is, I don’t think we have extricated ourselves as much as we would like to think from the evils that we think we have; idolatry has this type of blinding effect.
 Robert W. Jenson, Systematic Theology Volume 2: The Works of God (New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 57.
*Image Credit: Mario Mariani