I don’t feel “patriotic” if patriotism means expressing confidence in the country as it is today. Living overseas for the past two years, in a conservative country that’s in America’s ideological crosshairs, has taught me a painful lesson about what my country stands for today, and how it uses its power in the world. “We’re Babylon,” a visiting US pastor said to me recently. He’s right. … Seriously, you have to get out of America for some time to grasp how much cultural influence we have in the world, and how bad that is.
The idea that America is “Babylon” has intrigued me for more than 50 years, after I read Edward Tracy’s book The United States in Prophecy.
I do not recommend that book, written as it was by some manner of Evangelical or Dispensationalist. But I bought it at a time when I was Evangelical and the Evangelical Book market was flooded with crap like The Late, Great Planet Earth, which fed catatonic Americanism and cold war Russophobia (which differed from today’s Russophobia). The idea that the United States might be an equivocal, or even a negative, player in Bible prophecy was just irresistibly transgressive.
Not that I exactly believed it, mind you, but I thoroughly enjoyed the irony of using Hal Lindseyish exegesis to reach Jim Wallisish conclusions. Still, the possibility of Tracy being at least adjacent to the truth lingered and lingers.
I have a much different view of Bible prophecy these days. I don’t use it to predict the future (I never really did), but I think that figures like “Babylon” can echo typologically down through the ages, and in that sense “We’re Babylon” fits Edward Tracy’s exegesis awfully well (see Jeremiah 51:7-8, Revelation 14:8).