In many ways, it is. Geographically, we're blessed with natural resources as no others are. Historically, we've been guided by leaders that, in spite of their all too human shortcomings, saw the future in democracy and capitalism, two inspirations that made ours the most successful nation the world has known.
We evolved the founding concepts to expand democratic freedoms and to make capitalism the driving force making it powerful. Imperfect, the American experiment has still succeeded beyond anything Washington, Jefferson or even Lincoln might have imagined.
But did God bless us? Only if you believe there is a God who'd bless a tiny sample of the people created in His image and condemn the rest to lesser status. I hope you wouldn't want a God with judgment as poor as that. I know I don't.
In her new book, Fields of Blood, Karen Armstrong makes a strong case that religion is brought in as a covering explanation for both honorable and dishonorable activities. The Crusades, for example, were land grabs masked as Christian missions on behalf of the glory of God.
Start with the fact the religion is so pervasive that, however you explain it, it seems bolted into human nature. Novelist Amy Tan has written that persuading people against religion is like teaching fish not to swim. I agree.
Similarly, when we in America credit God with blessing us exclusively, we are giving greed and imperialism a pretty face. If there's a God, that God blessed everyone -- Christians, Jews, Muslims, white, black, yellow, tall, short and men and women, all, not just the ones who pledge allegiance to the American flag.
Is Islam Violent?
With the media focus intensely on the terrors of jihadism, it's easy to jump to the conclusion that Islam is a religion that fosters violence. But step aside from the media glare. In historical context, Islam is less violent than either Christianity of Judaism. The Christian slaughters of Jews numerous times over the years far exceeds anything Islamists have done, and Jews still celebrate the mass slaughter of innocents by God's avenging angels who "passed over" the "chosen."
The fact however is, as Armstrong carefully points out, that few if any of these slaughters were essentially religious. In today's context, the violent activities of Islamists, who incidentally represent a tiny minority within the Muslim faith, can be traced to oppression in the way Mideast territories were divided by Europeans after World War I. Setting aside territory for a Jewish homeland later exacerbated the problems.
What's Happening Now?
After World War I, much of the planet was cut up by the victors. Artificial countries that disregarded differences in cultures were cut into place like jigsaw pieces. Iran was invented and given a brutal dictatorship to hold power. Western powers helped thwart democracy and brought on a religiously informed revolution because of it. Most have struggled for cohesiveness ever since.
In many of the invented countries of the Mideast, circumstances are so miserable, immigrants believe they have a better chance in Western Europe and the U.S. Recent explosions tells us how well that's working out.
Blaming religion for carrying the banner for a revolt against oppression is not the answer. It's a sad story that we do so, since ultimately, we escape dealing with the serious issue of the deformed cultures we forced on the Arab world. Those weren't religiously inspired either.
In the end, it's all about power and money.