A professor once told me this to my face. “There’s nothing Godly about patriotism.”
Now, you have to understand that I was raised by a mom who was born Canadian. She fell in love with the morals upon which America was built and finally, after a lot of work and studying, became an American citizen. Her house is filled with pictures of George Washington praying, a soldier lifting the American flag mid-battle with the shadow of a cross on the ground, teachers in one-room school houses with their hands over their hearts standing between the American flag and the ten commandments.
My mother is Godly.
My mother is patriotic.
So what did this professor know? Nothing.That was my conclusion. I had clear proof that the two could go hand in hand. In fact, I mentally decided to write him a long paper arguing the fact (writer, remember? I know this sounds like self-inflicted punishment, but I process through words.)
However, I never wrote the paper because I couldn’t figure out where to start. I’ll admit that now, years down the road, I still don’t know the answer. I pose this question on my blog, not to take a side, but to ask in all genuineness and curiosity…what do you think?
Can patriotism be Godly? (Tweet this)
There have been times when I thought about ministry in different countries like Russia and I’ve wished I had no citizenship — I’ve wished that I could go anywhere God called me without people looking at me through the lenses of my nationality. Our citizenship is in Heaven and it’s the only citizenship that really matters, right? So then is it the only “patriotism” we, as Christians, ought be showing?
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines patriotism as “love for or devotion to one’s country.” The Oxford English Dictionary goes on to define patriotism as: “…vigorous support for one’s country.”
So with the understanding of those definitions, how does patriotism glorify God? Can “love or devotion” toward anything other than God bring Him glory? (Tweet this) My conclusion is that yes, it can. Love toward my spouse will bring God glory. The second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor. But does this apply to a country? Or, possibly a more pressing and applicable question: Are we being as patriotic for the Kingdom of God as we are for our earthly country? (Tweet this)
My goal is not to create a harsh or angry debate — I’m blessed to have been born in America — I just want to hear your thoughts because I’ve been dwelling on this question for a good six years and still haven’t settled on an answer.
What do you think, was my professor wrong or right? Can patriotism be Godly?
To join my newsletter list for all updates and announcements regarding my books and my editing, enter your e-mail address here: