The other day, I heard a pastor preach about how uniquely divinely blessed America was, and I wondered if he was right.
As I see it, no group of people has been more fortunate than the Spanish.
The area did well enough to support pretty talented cave artists some 15,000 years ago, thrived under the Roman Empire, and even as Western Rome collapsed, the Visigoths took good care of the peninsula for a few hundred years.
And of course, the Spanish were the only Europeans to really prosper during the Dark Ages because they benefited from the light of the Islamic Golden Age instead. Al-Andalus, and all that.
Later, the process of driving out the Moors laid the foundations for a strong central government while most countries were still basically feudal, and a series of marriages and serendipitous deaths eventually meant the king of Spain ruled or owned about half of Europe.
And Spanish luck in Europe up to that point was only so-so.
After all, Queen Isabella managed to put her faith in one explorer, Columbus, who thought the world was half the size it is, and who thought he and his crew could survive a trip sailing straight west to Japan. Wrong in theory but right in practice, he gave Spain the Caribbean and through it a foothold in the New World.
Meanwhile the Aztec and Inca had gone to the trouble of building native empires just before the Spanish got there, meaning there was already a functional system in place. The Spanish could take off the top of the pyramid, put themselves in as replacements and everything underneath could go on as before. Where this wasn’t so, and the Indians didn’t all die of disease, the Spanish had a much rougher time of it.
Then you throw in all that stuff about Cortes being identified with the Aztec’s god Quetzalcoatl and Pizarro showing up right after a civil war and getting an opportunity to capture king. I mean, just looking at the early Spanish experiences with the Western hemisphere is enough to make an atheist believe God was real. And Spanish.
Of course, the Arabs had a pretty good run for a while, too. They managed to get themselves together and start expanding right after the Byzantine and Persian Empires had been clobbering one another for a generation, and for four hundred years, God was Muslim, and the Muslims drove their enemies before them everywhere.
Until the Spanish showed up, and God manifested Himself in their destiny, revealing He’d only been pretending to be on the Islamic side to lull the Muslims into a false sense of security.
Obviously God was Spanish. Through the pope, He gave them half the world and the charge of Christianizing and Catholicizing the other half. That’s why Phillip II sent the Spanish Armada to conquer England.
We know better, though. God was really Protestant. The whole time He’d been playing at being a Spanish Catholic, but really, He was English, and really He saved His divine inspiration for the King James Bible. The Spanish Armada had to sink.
Too bad for the British, God was specifically Puritan. It wasn’t that He had anything against the Anglicans, just, you know, they didn’t have it quite right, and once those folks on the Mayflower set out, He went with the true believers.
That’s why for the past 200-odd years, Americans have been so successful. I guess that pastor is right after all. We’ve stayed true to our religious principles, and God has blessed us, because we’re His favorite country.
Because God is American. Really.