Confessing the sins of the land

Land acknowledgments have become a thing in recent years:

Speakers list the people who were harmed on the land in the distant past. The Native Governance Center recommends "don’t sugarcoat the past. Use terms like genocide, ethnic cleansing, stolen land, and forced removal to reflect actions taken by colonizers."

The implication is that the people on the land owe some kind of sin debt just by nature of being on the land in the future.

Which, when you say it like that, starts to sound pretty biblical.

The Confessional County

Ray Simmons argues for the existence of land curses in The Confessional County:

...we know land curses still apply today because Adam's curse is still here, because curses have always been levied on disobedient nations (not just Israel), because the Great Commission carries God's ethics to the world, and because Jesus specifically declared that houses and cities can be cursed in the new covenant.

- (page 23)

He argues that there are biblical land curses that apply to the United States:

  1. Land curses due to killing the innocent
  2. Land curses due to sexual immorality
  3. Land curses due to sabbath-breaking
  4. Land curses due to idolatry

He goes on to argue that the biblical solution is societal confession, where a county/city/nation comes together and collectively confesses the sins of the land and renews their covenant with God.

How are they different?

When a humanist confesses the sin of the land, there is no endgame. There is no forgiveness. There is only endless confessing to demonstrate your morality to the satisfaction of the audience.

When a society confesses sins to God, there can be forgiveness, the start of a better relationship.

If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, in their trespass which they trespassed against me; and also that because they walked contrary to me,

I also walked contrary to them, and brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled, and they then accept the punishment of their iniquity, then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham; and I will remember the land.

- Leviticus 26:40-42

There is a God, he is concerned with the historic sins of nations, and we must direct our confessions to him.