Patriotism isn’t Heresy

HomeNews, Politics, and MorePatriotism isn’t Heresy

Like many churches in America, my own church spent a little time yesterday focusing on Veteran’s Day. One of my friends had a pretty serious negative reaction, suggesting that such things exemplified nationalism at its worst. She suggested that America had done evil and didn’t deserve anyone’s allegiance. She implied that veterans made her feel sick to her stomach because they ‘believed the myth of redemptive violence’. She wrapped all of this in a seemingly-impregnable cocoon of self-righteous anger. Here’s my response:

See, I was bathing the baby and noticed that the bath water was getting a little dirty…

I’m totally with you on most of your points. Americans aren’t, in my mind, God’s specially-chosen people. Blind nationalism can be as destructive as blind religion. It’s difficult to applaud one’s government when it acts contrary to all a Christian should hold dear. However: not all nationalism is jingoism…and it’s not wrong to be proud of the principles on which America was built. It’s good to honor the good intentions of those who founded our country. It’s fitting to remember men and women who willingly gave their lives in the service of others. It’s wise to recognize God’s hand in the creating and sustaining our nation…not for America’s glory, but for God’s.

There were times when Israel wasn’t screwing up, times when Rome spread the gospel, and times when America has been a place where Christians and Christianity were welcomed and encouraged. It’s easy to demonize a people for being disobedient, abusing their power, or for being just plain stupid…but let’s not pretend that man is in charge. God is responsible for installing the governments of America, Losetho, and France. He does not do evil, but evil men and women serve His purposes and unwittingly give Him glory.

I agree that our allegiance is to a King and His Kingdom…serving the creation rather than the creator is nationalism at its worst. However: let’s not create a false dichotomy of anti-nationalism where America somehow acts on her own, independent of God’s sovereign plan. Nations are tools that God uses to reach the hearts of men, and they serve His purposes. Even America.

Your thoughts?

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