Thoughts on Patriotism
The 4th of July has come and gone and like all good Americans I celebrated it by going to a wedding… wait. >.> Okay, that might not be the standard way of celebrating our independence but it was a very nice wedding for some lovely people. And we did go to a picnic both the night before and the afternoon following, so we can check that off the list. We also saw so many fireworks as we drove home. I grew up in the country where trees are abundant and you could hear more fireworks than you could see. Sometimes you could see one township’s fireworks off in the distance if you walked up to the top of the hill. Here they were putting them off at the country club up the road from us, and we could see fireworks going off in two different places down the hill when we got a good view. It is PA so the trees inevitably came back to block our view, but it was cool while it lasted.
Naturally, American Independence Day brings out thoughts of patriotism in all of us. My husband and I have differing views on the subject, as we do in many things. His view is a valid one: nothing should come before God and so often people put their country on a pedestal and worship it about all else. Patriotism should not be a religion, that is true. But just because there are people who take it too far, doesn’t mean it’s bad all together. I believe that everything can be good in moderation and I think that pride and especially investment in ones country can be a godly thing.
A few years ago I spent some time looking through ancestry.com to see what I could see. I love family history and I found out a lot of really cool things about my heritage. One of those things was that three hundred years ago a Scotsman came to America and built a life here. When the revaluation started, his son answered the call and fought for the independence of our country. He fought in six major battles and survived to be 80 years old. Basically my ancestor was awesome.
Does this change my views on patriotism; knowing that my family has been here since the beginning? Knowing that my great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather was a soldier in the Revolutionary War? Yeah, a little bit. He set the example I think we all need to follow. He was a patriot, yes, he believed in his country enough to risk his life on its behalf, but most of all, he was a strong christian and a prominent member of his church. They don’t put that on your gravestone if you just showed up every Sunday.
Okay, here’s how I figure it. God put me here. I could have been born anywhere else in the world to any other family with any other culture. God put me here, in America, to serve Him. Should I not take pride in the place God put me? Should I not love the gift that he gave me? Should I not take an interest in the well-being of the country I’ve been made a part of? That doesn’t make everything America does right. That doesn’t mean that it’s government is perfect in anyway, but it does mean that we should take an active role in how things are done. We have been given democracy so that we can work to change things if we choose. We have been given that power and I think we should be using it more. If we are not invested in our country, if we don’t have any pride in it, how do we expect to change it? History is riddled with people who loved their country so much they were willing to fight to make it a better place for the people around them. They didn’t say “if you don’t like it here, leave.” They took up arms and signs and ballots to make change happen. Does our government make poor decisions? Yes, everyone does. Pick up your voice and do something about it.
Everything in moderation. Our country is not a holy one, it is not infallible and the law is not absolute and true. There are a lot of people who have way too much patriotism in this country and, yes, that is bad. However, pride in your country is not inherently evil. Take an interest in where you live, but remember who put you there. God is above all things, even your country.