I admit that this is a peeve for me. So let me get that out of the way before I make my real point.
Listen, beloved, you ought not to call these here United States “America”. They’re the United States. Of America, sure. There are other United States in the Americas, such as the United States of Mexico or the former United States of Brazil, but we can acknowledge the original nature of the United States in this. We can’t grant the geographical America thing.
Americans call the U.S. “America”. But I’m not hear to bash Americans. The Brits do it too. It might, for all I know, be an English language thing. I haven’t asked enough Australians or South Africans to say. And I’m all for semantic convenience. As an American of Latin extraction this use of “America” annoys me, but I realize it’s a personal reaction. So whatevs.
Have your way on the whole “everyone knows you mean the U.S. when you say America” thing.
Here’s the real reason you shouldn’t call the U.S. “America”.
The United States are/is a polity. America is an idea.
The U.S. can’t ever be ‘Merica!™, but America can be. It is worrying to see Christians thinking of the United States as a nation with a special role to play in God’s plan for the world, a sort of Christian Manifest Destiny. Sure, the United States may have enjoyed some wonderful blessings, but so have many others, and at the end of the day, it is part of the City of Man.
Many post- and late-Cold War Kids like me will wonder why I even bother to say this. In part, because many Christians still believe it. But mostly because, while the idea of America’s Special Christian Destiny may be on the way to bankruptcy, it needs to die. And for the health of the Church, the sooner the better.
We encourage the continuation of this thinking when we say America, even in our own minds. America, as I’ve said, is a special magical place. It’s a pagan place. Stop saying it.
The United States are a place (“is a place” my Yankee friends will say) that we can be honestly patriotic about. The United States are where I’m from. The country I pray for, the country I weep for. It is natural and good for an American to love the U.S. more than he loves Ecuador. All we Americans should. But let us not pray for America, lest we find ourselves praying for the idea of America.
Let us pray for these here United States, for its polity and its people. May God have mercy.