Christian Patriotism, Part One

With American troops involved in military action in foreign lands, many Christians are struggling with the concept of war. One young Christian wrote recently that he had no trouble with the idea of losing his life on behalf of his life and his country. His real struggle is with the idea of taking a life.

thThis is a struggle worth having. We should not glibly accept the idea of killing, no matter what the reason. Neither, however, should we accept the pacifistic concept that war can never be the answer. As I listen to the anti-war talk, I recognize that there are basically two groups (broadly categorized) involved. One faction is made up of those honestly convinced that either war is bad or that a particular war would be bad. I understand their reasoning and agree with their right to express their displeasure either with a future war or a current war. Many would argue that American soldiers, sailors and airmen have fought and died precisely for these people to have the right to dissent.

The other group involved in the general anti-war movement is the anti-America, “my country is always wrong” crowd. For these folk, the country which affords them the opportunity to assemble and protest is always the oppressor. This nation which expends millions of dollars on foreign aid each year is always characterized as an imperialist overlord seeking to control more and more of the landscape. This latter group is nicely defined in the book Why the Left Hates America, by Daniel Flynn.

I do not think the US is always right or that war is always the answer. Immediately after the attack on our nation on September 11, 2001, it was suggested by several Christian leaders that maybe we’ve brought some destruction down upon ourselves as a nation because of the debauchery of our culture. Sexual deviancy, high abortion rates, homosexuality being taught in our schools as an “alternative lifestyle,” immorality all over the TV, the movies and in popular music, all speak of the depths to which great portions of our population have sunk.

True as these claims are, they are not good reasons to simply give up on this nation. The United States of America is still worth reclaiming for God. This land is still the best launching pad on earth for missionary efforts to all the world.

This being the case, I’d like to float the idea of Christian Patriotism, which I will define in my next post – on Memorial Day.

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