The Christian Patriot
What is patriotism to a Christian? It is more than singing patriotic songs, waving the flag, and feeling emotionally stirred over our nation’s heritage. As we come to celebrate this Independence Day, let’s consider some things distinctive to Christian patriots.
Christian patriotism isn’t hostility but firm convictions. It’s very easy to demonize those who take opposing stands with regard to political issues. The conflict between our two political parties isn’t as simple as a struggle between good and evil. We can hold strong convictions regarding political matters, but we need to be civil toward opposing views. “We have become a culture that thrives on argumentative conflict.” We should maintain strong convictions, but it’s important that we’re civil to one another when we disagree.
On the other hand, Christians cannot put their head in the sand with regard to concepts of humanism and the rise of unbelief. The problem of humanism becoming the philosophical position taken by many leaders in education and other areas of leadership is that it opposes the values and teachings of Christianity upon which our country was founded. Do we want to become a society in which the will of man, not God, would be supreme? Look at the places in the world where the will of man has been supreme, places where atheism is the basis of government and society. Would any of us want to make those places our home?
Christian patriotism isn’t a license to sin but an appreciation of the real meaning of liberty. “Americans make a big deal about freedom. Unfortunately for many, freedom is touted as the right to do anything without regard to harm or uncivilized behavior. Taken to an extreme, this definition of freedom leads to anarchy and lawlessness. Society needs some rules in order to maintain order.” Imagine driving if there were no lanes for traffic or other driving regulations. “People claim you can’t legislate morality, yet if you think about it, most laws have a basis in what we believe is moral behavior and fairness.” The First Amendment to the Constitution was never intended to offer people the license to do anything they wanted. True patriotism recognizes that we answer to a higher authority, that it matters how we live as citizens in a world God created.
When John Quincy Adams was President of the United States, he stood before Congress and held up two bushel baskets, one from New York and one from South Carolina. He said, "The problem is, one of these baskets holds sixty-eight cubic inches more than the other." Then he held up two one-pound weights, one from Maine and one from Massachusetts. He said, "The problem is, one weighs one ounce more than the other." He said, "Gentlemen, we need a standard." As a result, the House Weights and Measurement Committee came into existence. While I have not seen them, I am told that even to this day, there is a set of scales so delicate that you aren't allowed within ten feet of it because body temperature will affect its effectiveness.
President Adams was convinced that the Unites States needed permanent standards that could be relied upon. The same is true in our spiritual lives as Christians. Neither can a society survive without standards of conduct.
Christian patriotism is “one nation under God,” not multiculturalism. We should remember how our country began, and what makes America great, lest we lose it! We remember in fact, our country’s population is almost entirely comprised of descendants of immigrants. Those who came in the past wanted a new life as Americans, not just a new residence and the benefits a government provided. If someone comes to our country today, I want them to want to become an American.
“This idea of America being a multi-cultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity.” We are not simply a better pasture in the world for people to come and live as they choose while holding onto their past. As Americans, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language, and our own lifestyle. This culture, called the "American Way" has been developed over centuries of struggles, trials, and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom. So many fought, bled, and died at places like Bunker Hill, San Juan, Iwo Jima, Normandy, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq among other places. We should never allow the laws of any other country, religion or group of countries to supersede or interfere with our laws. We speak English, not Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. If someone wants to be an American and be a part of our society, learn our language.
Likewise, "In God We Trust" is our national motto. This is not some off-the-wall, right wing, political slogan – it is our national motto. It is engraved in stone in the House of Representatives in our Capitol and it is printed on our currency. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation. This is clearly documented throughout our history except by some who would like to revise it.
Why is this so important to Christians? It is because Christians believe there is a purpose in nations. We also believe, as Scripture teaches, that "Righteousness exalts a nation" (Proverbs 14:34). But today there is a multicultural emphasis in our world which proclaims that there are no such things as "righteousness" or "evil." Instead, every culture should be revered regardless of how pagan or barbaric it might be.
The prophet Hosea said, "My people are destroyed because of a lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). It is essential that we understand the breakdown of our national pride and moral fortitude is directly proportional to the sense of our history being lost. Much of this deficit lies at the feet of liberal and left wing educators who have no pride in our past. For that reason many of our young people are told that America has been a “bad guy” exploiting the rest of the world which is the opposite of the truth. It is sad that no one in the highest places of our land calls out such ludicrous and insulting remarks and refutes them with the truth.
The rest of the verse mentioned above in Hosea says, “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I will also ignore your children.” The prophet goes on to say in the next verse, “Because of their sin, I will turn their glory into shame.” America needs to pay attention to these warnings.
Christian patriotism isn’t “my country, right or wrong,” but rather first obeying my Lord. Christians love their country, but don’t worship their country. Hopefully you remember in the movie Chariots of Fire, Scottish runner Eric Liddel is faced with an ethical dilemma. Does he run his Olympic event on the Lord’s Day, against his convictions, or does he refuse and disobey his king? Liddel decided his priority was God over king. He respectfully declined the race and was allowed to participate in a different event on a weekday and won the gold medal. This is a true story. Liddel went on to serve as a missionary to China.
Patriotism isn’t blind or uninformed. It’s certainly appropriate to be proud to be an American, but there are times when our love for our country demands that we stand up and voice our concern when our nation is headed in the wrong direction.
Finally, my prayer is that all who read this article love America and feel themselves as Patriots. I have written these words not in judgment of anyone, but out of concern for our country. Patriots are people who care about this country and what it stands for. Patriots are people who recognize the benefits of the Constitution, people who hope to preserve our nation’s values. A patriot is one who votes, earns an honest living, studies our nation’s history and knows what is going on today.
“If and when we disagree with policy, we don’t leave the country, as some people in the news have threatened. Patriotism involves taking a stand, writing letters to those in authority, and supporting candidates whose ideology concurs with our convictions. Patriotism is not equal to the number of flags we fly but by living the courage of our convictions, which may mean having to take a stand, and certainly the offering of prayers for justice and national repentance.”
Here again the Word of the Lord. “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom, or the strong boast of their strength, or the rich boast of their riches, but let all who boast, boast about this: that they understand and know Me, that I am the Lord, Who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight’, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:23-4).
“Regardless of what it says on our passports, as Christians, we hold dual citizenship. We’re loyal to our native home, but we recognize that we’re also part of the Kingdom of God. If we at times feel uncomfortable, it’s because we’re not really home yet. The Bible tells us to submit to, respect, and pray for those in governmental authority, but it also lets us know Who our Sovereign is. We are citizens of Heaven and subjects of the King of kings.”
Please join me in the most sincere prayer you have ever prayed as a Christian patriot, “God bless America!”