29 06 2012

I believe in nationalism; I believe it is Biblical. I believe in patriotism; in love of country that surpasses the politics of the day. I believe that nationalism is God-given, but patriotism must be taught. Both are within the real of God’s overall plan for mankind. I fly the flag at home and at church. I have served my country as a Sailor and I continue to serve as a volunteer chaplain to an Army Reserve Unit and an Air Force Reserve Station.

In the final post on “Nationalism,” I pose a question that all red hot, patriotic, flag waving Americans must ask: “Are there limits to our nationalism?” When do we get to the place of going too far, over the top? Like all God given blessings, abuse happens. Even our nationalism goes over the line if we are not aware of its limits.

Limits Of Nationalism

1. When we try to silence or disrespect the nationalism of others. It’s okay for you to be proud to be an American; to sing the National Anthem with hand over heart and tear in your eye; but, we must remember that those in Finland are just as proud of their country, as are the Italians, the Russians, and the Iraqis. They too have a tendency of passionate nationalism called patriotism. It is wrong of us to degrade or disrespect the nationalism of other nations. Sporting events come to mind. It would be wrong for us not to stand at attention, in respect of another’s national anthem. We need not salute, but we should show respect. It is wrong to disrespect their flag and be critical of its national holidays. A number of years ago, one popular news anchor cautioned US athletes who win events in the Olympics not to take a victory lap holding the American flag. I can not disagree more! The Olympics is a celebration of nationalism! It is not arrogance to display such pride in the country represented, it is to be applauded. Not only should we give this privilege to the Americans, but the Kenyans, the Brazilians, the British, the Australians, and all others. They too are to be applauded for their nationalistic fervor that motivated them to capture the gold! The Olympics needs to be a display of nationalism, not an experiment in political correctness! I am not only against the reprehensible and offensive act of burning the American flag, I am against burning any nation’s flag. My nationalism ends where yours begins. I will not violate or disrespect another’s nationalism.

2. When in conflict with Biblical principles. Churches in Germany were silent as Hitler rose to power. They thought it to be good for Germany. When he started smashing opposition, assuming position as dictator, they claimed Romans 13:1 and submitted to the “higher powers.” When he closed the churches down and started rounding up Jews, it was too late. Thank God for the courage of such men as Dietrich Bonhoeffer. We should never let our nationalism blind us to the fact that “the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men” (Daniel 4:17). When in violation of Scripture, “we ought to obey God rather than man.” When else do we find that perhaps our display of nationalism is over the line?

3. When it overrides our passion for God. To replace out passion for God with a passion for our nation is idiolatry. Our passion for God should fuel our patriotism! It gets our of hand when we talk about politics more than we talk about Jesus. It gets out of hand if we are waving our flag without opening our Bible. It gets out of hand when we try to put prayer in our schools and not even have it in our homes.

It is “righteousness that exalteth a nation” (Proverbs 14:34). When patriotism supercedes our righteousness, patriotism is out of context.




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