A Nuanced Patriotism
In honor of Independence Day we are re-posting an article from last year. Many things have changed in our country this past year, but the temptation for Christians to have an unbalanced view of our nation seems to be a perennial problem.
It seems that every 4th of July the template for both Right and Left is the same. Conservatives wax eloquent about how America, God’s favorite nation, has been blessed from its inception, how she was founded on Christian principles, and how there is no better place to live in the world. At the same time, Liberals spend the holiday weekend decrying America’s history of racial discrimination and segregation, persecution of women, and history of global violence. One side is completely confident that America is indeed a “shining city on a hill,” while the other side equates our nation with the apocalyptic great whore of Babylon. After listening to these same mantras year after year the only question I am left with is, why can’t we all have a more balanced view of America?
Many evils have indeed been perpetrated in our country’s short history. The sin of viewing another human being, created in the image of God, as property is utterly appalling. Even still, the lingering sentiments of racism show that we have a long way to go in this struggle. We have not always given women the equal treatment they deserve either, and some are able to make very strong arugments that this is still the case. America has not always used her power for good in the world, and at times has created havoc with the use of military force.
At the same time, where else is there the potential for a person to better their social standing through hard work and inginuity? Where else has a nation gone to war with itself in order to set men and women free from the bondage of slavery? What other nation has sacrificed so many of their young men on foreign beaches in order to preserve world order and protect the persecuted?
For all the evil in America’s past that we are rightfully ashamed of, there is also much to be proud of. The narrow view that so many have of our country, either viewing it too positively or too negatively, is not only overly simplistic, it is without nuance or rationality. America is not God’s chosen nation, nor is she Babylon: she is America. A nation that for all its great flaws has potential for great good. As we reflect on the events of this this holiday, and the pontificating from both sides on the issue of patriotism, let us have a more balanced view of our nation. Not neglecting to celebrate the great country we are blessed to live in, and not ceasing to strive for her betterment. And most importantly, let us all pray that God would continue His work in our country.