Friday, May 22, 2009

Is Patriotism Christian?

I just read a helpful article by Kevin Bauder called "The Christian and Patriotism, Part 1." With memorial day weekend here (and Independence Day not too far off) I thought it would be helpful to post. Here are a few quotes from the article:

Should Christians be patriotic at all? If so, then should they carry their patriotism into their churches? I would like to offer tentative answers to these questions—tentative because I am an American and I share most of the American sensibilities. Therefore, my answers will hardly qualify as impartial. The questions, however, are important and should not simply be dismissed.

Patriotism comes in two forms. The first is equivalent to Jingoism. It is a xenophobic form of nationalism that sees in one’s own country the summum bonum. It advances the interests of one’s nation by encroaching upon the legitimate interests of other nations. It is smug, often arrogant, and sometimes rapacious. This form of patriotism is, in effect, idolatry.

Needless to say, this form of patriotism has no place in the life of a Christian. Christians can be susceptible to it, however. They may infer God’s approval from the prosperity or military success of their nation. They may identify their national interests with those of the Kingdom of God. They may even assume that the strength of their nation constitutes some form of divine authorization to interfere in the affairs of other sovereign nations. Each of these attitudes expresses a false and idolatrous patriotism.

There is another form of patriotism, however. It recognizes that each citizen receives a patrimony from the fatherland (the term is deliberate: both patriot and patrimony are related to the Greek term for father). With the patrimony comes (at minimum) a debt of gratitude. The recognition of this debt and appropriate expression of gratitude are akin to honoring one’s parents.
Read the Entire article HERE.

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