I titled this particular blog "Proceed with Caution" because I'm pretty sure that the topic is going to make some people angry. That isn't my intent. I was just thinking about things, and I think best through writing, so you might want to stop now. I don't want to stir up controversy, and am open to thoughtful dialog, but I was thinking about some things and thought I'd write them down here. I've actually got a different title for this blog, but didn't want to put it at the tippy-top and tick EVERYONE off, so this blog is for those who feel comfortable reading it.
WHY GOD DOESN'T LOVE AMERICA, AND NEVER HAS.
Alright, I know. I should clarify the above statement. God has never loved the political entity that is America. God loves Americans in that He loves humanity. I was taught the familiar verse, "For God so loved the world . . ." I'm sure you probably saw it posted somewhere during the Super Bowl.
But as to the political entity that is America. We are not God's chosen Nation. There was only ever ONE chosen Nation in the Bible and that referred to the Nation of Israel, but in a larger sense, it referred to those who came to know Him.
I was taught early on in my life that my patriotism and my faith were pretty much synonymous. Christians must be defined as the following: Love Jesus, love America, be a conservative republican, and be pro-guns. Now, obviously this is an oversimplified definition of being a believer, and leaves out all the significant parts of true Christianity - faith in Christ's redemption, reliance on Him, and commitment to spread His love to all peoples. And more importantly it ignores the words of Christ, Himself who defined it pretty clearly, "True religion is this: To care for widows and orphans."
There is nothing in the scriptures about Nationalism, or patriotism. There isn't a section about the Founding Fathers, and there is no book of George Washington included in the holy scriptures. Now, some argue that the Founders were men of faith, and therefore the founding of our Nation was built on faith. That may well be true, but it doesn't make us a Holy Nation. It doesn't make us the Promised Land. In fact, Thomas Jefferson was adamantly opposed to including spirituality in our founding documents, as was John Adams.
And also, claiming to be God's Chosen Nation overlooks some pretty big history. America was founded on greed. I know, the Pilgrims came to America for religious freedom -- they did. However the powers that be sent them to gain more territory. The believing pilgrims were simple pawns for corporate greed. Sound familiar?
And here's the danger of me saying all this, you might get the wrong idea about me, and how I feel about being an American. I am very grateful to have been born in America, and I believe strongly in the ideas of liberty, and freedom. I do not believe that we are a perfect Nation, but I do believe that our system of democracy, our checks and balances and our ability to continually move, grow and change, make us one of the greatest Nations on this earth, but my love for my country is separate from my faith. I do not believe that we are any more blessed by God than any other Nation on the globe.
It is a frigthening thought to recognize that our Nation isn't all that special -- at least in the spiritual realm. I think we are spectacularly unique in that we were actually willed into existence by men who were determined to forge a new nation. Everyone thought we wouldn't last and yet, here we are -- even in these difficult and complex times we continue to exist and lead. America as a Nation is a political achievement like no other, but as to our unique place in the glorious kingdom above, we are a collection of humans dearly loved by a Creator, just as the people of South Africa, or Japan, or Russia or Wales, or Nova Scotia. We are all His children. All of us.
Of course, these are things that are not acceptable to say. These are the things that can lead to your loyalty and your faith to be questioned. It is a radical view. If you step into any Christian book store you are as likely to see as many American flags, as you are to see crosses. This is not true in other Nations around the world. I recognize that men of faith have led our Nation and have prayed over decisions and sought good spiritual counsel. I hope that that is something that continues to be true. I cannot imagine travel life without support and I am just an ordinary person doing ordinary work. I cannot imagine the strain of leading a country.
But I do think it is time for believers to recognize that patriotism and faith are two entirely separate things. Our expectation for our leaders to enact laws that support the Christian faith is unreasonable, and I believe counter-productive to true faith. If we were to have a leader who put "prayer back in school" — what would be the result? True heartfelt prayers from every single child or forced meaningless rituals that have no true depth or meaning? We cannot regulate true faith, and we should never try to, and the first step toward that would be to recognize that America as a Nation is just like all the other Nations on this globe -- all of them cherished, equally by their Creator.