Let me say at the outset, I am a Christian. Almost fifty years ago I pledged my allegiance to Jesus Christ. I am a citizen of a holy nation (I Peter 2:9), of a continuing city whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 14:14). While my physical birth in 1952 found me being born a citizen of the USA, my spiritual birth in 1970 found me being born into the Kingdom of God. Even if the USA collapsed and ceased to exist, the Kingdom of God is eternal. Without question my first loyalty is to my Savior and His Kingdom of which I am a citizen. That being said, is it ok for a Christian to express patriotism to their earthly homeland?
As a United States citizen, there are those within Christendom who contend that a Christian should not express loyalty or patriotism to any earthly kingdom or nation. Without question, in the current climate of the day showing expressions of patriotism is under fierce attack. By patriotism is meant to be unashamed to show a love, devotion, and loyalty to one’s country. While it is the Christian’s responsibility to first and foremost be obedient citizens in the Kingdom of God, in Romans 13:1-7 the Apostle Paul discusses the responsibility of Christians being prayerfully supportive and respectful of civil government. It is appropriate for a Christian to be supportive and express patriotism, to exhibit respect and a desire for the country to thrive. Patriotism is one of the finer qualities any citizen should possess. When patriotism is properly understood it creates a responsible citizenry.
It was by God’s grace I was born in the greatest nation on the face of the earth. From the moment I saw the light of day, my parents instilled in me the importance of patriotism. I still get a lump in my throat when I hear the National Anthem and see Old Glory waving in the breeze. I am unapologetically a patriotic flag-waving, flag-standing citizen. Now, being patriotic doesn’t mean I agree with everything that goes on in this nation, it doesn’t mean I am blind to the nation’s shortcomings and the corrections that need to be made, but what it does mean is that I believe in the ideals for which the flag stands; it means I am respectfully honoring and grateful to the over one million patriots who have given their lives that the flag might fly; what it does mean is that I am thankful, even in spite of Her shortcomings, to live in the greatest nation on earth; what it does mean is that I am thankful to enjoy freedoms that citizens of other nations only dream of; and what it does mean is that I am thankful, even in our differences, there is that which unites all citizens in a Brotherhood, and that is being an American in a free society.
Patriotism is an important thread in the fabric of our nation. If patriotism is absent there will be a rip in the seam that will eventually unravel the cord that holds the nation together. Patriotism is the spark that creates a fire in the nation’s spirit. It is important that we return to being patriotic Americans. Patriotism is important for several reasons.
First, patriotism is important because without it our freedoms will be lost. John Adams, our second President, stated, “I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these states. I can see that the end is worth all the means to defend it.” Daniel Webster stated, “God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.” A people who have lost their patriotism and love for their country will not defend it, and will eventually lose the freedoms so many fought to preserve. Without patriotism, freedoms can’t be maintained but will eventually be lost. We owe our freedoms to the patriots who fought for our country and those guarding it. Let us be cognizant of the words of Ronald Reagan, “Freedom is never more than one generation from extinction.”
Second, patriotism is important because without it we soon lose our courage. Love for country inspires courage to defend it. We need more citizens who are made up of the “stuff” of Nathan Hale who said before being hung, “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” It took courage for those 56 brave men to sign their names to the Declaration of Independence, most of them losing their fortunes, family and lives. Their courage came from a patriotism that bolstered them to fight for ideals they believed worth dying for. When patriotism is lost, courage is lost to defend the ideals upon which this nation was founded. Sadly, today many don’t respect the hardships of our Founding Fathers and our Armed forces who protect us. Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it; it flies from the collective breath of each courageous patriot who died protecting it.
Third, patriotism is important for without it we lose appreciation for our heritage, we forget where we came from. When as a nation we fail to teach the history of this great nation and begin to take our freedoms for granted, we then lose appreciation for our glorious heritage. With history today being erased, rewritten and no longer being taught as in years past, surveys show that with each passing year more and more people don’t know why the Fourth of July is commemorated. Thomas Jefferson stated, “How little do Americans know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy.” Patriotism is important for the protection of a country’s culture and historical heritage. When we no longer teach of the hardships of the Pilgrims in the New World and of the faith and fortitude of our Forefathers who fought for freedom, lack of appreciation grows and the freedoms we take for granted will slip through our fingers like sand.
Fourth, patriotism is important because without it we lose sight of the faith that made America great. America became great by a people who held to the conviction as stated in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Four times in the Declaration, God is mentioned. The revisionists in their attempt to rewrite history seek to dismiss the faith of our Forefathers. While not all the Founding Fathers were individually Christians; nevertheless, they founded this country on the basis of a faith in a Divine Creator from whom we receive our unalienable rights. John Adams, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, stated, “The general principles, on which the Fathers achieved independence, were the only Principles in which that beautiful Assembly of young Gentlemen could Unite…. And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity, in which all these Sects were United: And the general Principles of English and American Liberty.” George Washington stated, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness.” When we view patriotism as unimportant and fail to acknowledge that we began as a nation “under God” we are a nation destined to go under.
Fifth, patriotism is important because without it we soon lose our unity. When a ball team loses its loyalty to one another, unity dissolves and defeat will result. Part of the Declaration of Independence reads, “For the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives our fortunes and our sacred honor.” We may all have our differences, but one truth that should unite citizens in Brotherhood is that we are blessed to be Americans who live a free society. As we watch patriotism vanishing before our eyes today, we are witnessing, as well, the eroding of our nation’s unity. We need to be united and stand together for the progress of the country for its improvement.
Sixth, patriotism is important because without it we lose our identity as a nation. Sadly, there is the push today to dissolve our nation’s identity and blend in and be like other nations, and in the process, we are losing our uniqueness. We are like no other nation on earth. The USA is the envy of the rest of the world. We need to remember, our identity of who we are as a nation is wrapped up in a people who have a glorious heritage like no other nation, who can be proud of those who have fought and defended her honor, and who aren’t afraid to stand up and speak out and take action against evil and wrong around the world. When patriotism is deemed as unnecessary, we will eventually lose our identity as a great nation.
Seventh, patriotism is important because without it Old Glory will cease to fly. My heart breaks today as many hold the flag in contempt. There are those who say, “The flag is just a symbol.” But behind that symbol is the reality of the faith and courage of our Forefathers, the blood, sweat and tears of countless brave men and woman who have sacrificed that Old Glory might fly, and the noble ideals which has made America great for 244 years. While we continue to strive for “a more perfect union,” as stated in the Preamble to the United States Constitution, when we begin to hold the flag in contempt and lose our patriotism the ideals which we long to see become a reality, will begin to vanish like the morning dew before the heat of a summer sun.
Yes, patriotism is important, it is essential for the survival of a nation. While as a Christian I only bow my knee to the Lord Jesus Christ, on the Fourth of July I will patriotically and unapologetically stand when the flag passes by.