I love my country. I believe that true patriotic love for one’s home and nation is a wonderful emotion. I am troubled, however, by a continual insistence that a certain ideology is tantamount to true patriotism. This ideology grows stronger the more polarized we become in our public life. This ideology is also antithetical to the kingdom of Christ yet it easily gets linked with celebrations like July 4. Balanced and healthy Christian patriotism is not blind nor is it silent.
I saw a T-shirt last night at a baseball game which said: “In God We Trust. Deal With It.”
I wanted to ask the wearer what this meant but I was trying to relax, not start a debate. Something about it really bothered me. If, for whatever reason, I do not believe “In God We Trust” should be a national motto on our coins and in other parts of our reigning opinion then I have only one choice: “Deal With It.” So much for my freedom.
What if a person loves their country but sees flaws in it that are harmful to the common good? What if another person loves their country but is a secularist and doesn’t believe God should be connected to the national currency? Or what if a Christian has a strong view about keeping faith and state separate in such matters?
The America that I love today is diverse, welcoming, just, compassionate, caring and a good place to make a home and express your freedom of faith and speech. If we are not very careful we could lose the very freedom that we prize by seeking to honor it with a false and misguided zeal.