BreakPoint: Why We Must Love Our Country

A Call for Patriotism

As I wrote recently in USA Today, if we ever want America great again, it’s time we re-embrace patriotism. I’ll explain, next on BreakPoint.

Remember when Mark Twain and Matthew Brady did that daguerreotype with the fake bloody head of Honest Abe? What about after Pearl Harbor when Bob Hope and Jerry Colonna mugged for the newsreel cameras holding FDR’s noggin?

You don’t remember these stunts? That’s because they didn’t happen. Lincoln and Roosevelt were despised by millions. And yet, the comedians of their day would not have dreamed of pulling so-called ”funny” stunts involving severed heads.

Why not?

Well, it has to do with patriotism. There was a time when patriotism was the norm. So were generally-accepted limits regarding how we express civic disapproval. The main form of dissent was yanking down that lever in the voting booth against the candidate we disapproved of.

So when did a normal and healthy patriotism begin to fall out of favor? Many believe it began during the flag-burning Vietnam War era. (Sadly, these acts were countered with an unthinking hyper-patriotism typified in the slogan: “America, Love it or Leave It!”) Thus, an atmosphere of enshrined adolescent rebellion took over. The flag burners quickly moved from academia and found a home among our cultural elites, especially those in the news media and in Hollywood, where it has thrived ever since.

Now this is bad news, because a unifying spirit of patriotism is vital for the United States to continue to exist.  America is not based on ethnicity, but on the unprecedented idea of liberty and self-government. This means we are incapable of truly being America unless we understand and appreciate our country.

During the 1950s, my dad came here from Greece and my mom from Germany. They met in New York City and raised me to love their adopted country. However, in the public school education I received during the 1970s, we pretty much skipped learning the greatness of America.

And when I got to college in the 1980s, professors taught against patriotism. A narrative had taken hold that America was not the strong, heroic country protecting the weak; instead, it was the abusive stepdad who needed to be kicked out and arrested. I drank this anti-American Kool-Aid and became deeply skeptical of anyone who wrapped himself in the red, white and blue.

But not long after the 9/11 attacks, I was on a ferry ride with my family and I saw the Statue of Liberty against the deep blue sky, nobly holding out her golden torch to the world. My proximity to the recently vanished Twin Towers gave the statue poignant context.

It was then that I knew I loved my country, and I felt shame for ever taking her for granted.

There’s a Greek proverb that says, “If a man does not boast about his house, it will fall on him.” If we do not begin to understand and appreciate what made us great—including the flawed heroes of our history, who risked life and limb so that we could enjoy liberties unlike any before in the history of the world—we can never again be great.

And as Chuck Colson once said on this very program, “we’re to love our country just because it’s our own. Not because it’s the best and most democratic country in the world-which it may not be at times—but because it’s the place God has put us.”

The thing we must now rebel against is rebellion for its own sake. We must resist resistance for its own sake. We must dare to express our love of this country and its promises if we ever hope to solve our problems.

Now if some of us happen to be too proud or too angry to do that, then we need to have the maturity to let them stew in their rebellion, loving and praying for them all the while, hoping that they might at last come to their senses and then come down to supper with us again.

 

This commentary was adapted from Eric Metaxas’s op-ed in USA Today, “We need patriotism, not severed heads to make America great again.”

 

Why We Must Love Our Country: A Call for Patriotism

As Eric points out, we love our country because it is where God has placed us. And love for country includes praying for our fellow citizens, whether similar or dissimilar to us, and praying for God’s help as we face together the challenges to our nation.

 

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  • Kevin Craig

    On this 4th of July, I do not love “my” country.
    And I wonder if Jesus loves this country.

    Today millions of Americans will be enjoying a day off work, having Bar-B-Ques, and doing fun things on a nice summer day in July. Some (according to a survey I saw) believe that on Independence Day we celebrate “the freeing of the slaves.” But what we’re supposed to be celebrating are things the Bible condemns. Killing Red Coats. Rebelling against the government. Not rendering unto Caesar. Telling lies about Caesar.

    http://KevinCraig.us/1776lies.htm

    400 years ago, North America may have been the most Christian “City on a Hill” in the world. Today, perhaps as a result of the disobedience of the American Revolution, midway through our history, the United States is the enemy of God and Humanity. The most dangerous and the most evil government on the planet.

    http://KevinCraig.us/enemy.htm

    I will proudly stand up and say, “Hi, my name is Kevin,” at the first meeting of “America-Lovers Anonymous.”

    • ElrondPA

      Hmm, it sounds more like you’re a member of America Haters Non-Anonymous.

      • Kevin Craig

        “America-Lovers Anonymous” is like “Alcohol-Lovers Anonymous.” We’re in “recovery.”

    • Steve

      Your post is rather bizarre. Not quite sure whether you are being serious or not.
      If you truly think that this it the “most dangerous and the most evil government on the planet” I suggest you look into what is going on in North Korea and many countries where Sharia law is practiced.
      In many countries in the world you would be arrested just for writing such a post. But the First Amendment protects you here.
      If the US is so bad why do people risk their lives to come here? Why does it accept more immigrants than any other country? Why does it provide more foreign aid than any other country?
      Try living in some other countries and perhaps you will achieve a better perspective.

      • Kevin Craig

        I agree the government of North Korea could well be more evil than the government in Washington D.C., but it is not more “dangerous.” Since I was born, the U.S. government has killed, crippled, or made homeless TENS of MILLIONS of innocent non-combatant civilians. (But this gave the politicians the votes of people who work in the “defense” industry.) The average human being on planet earth is more likely to have his right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness infringed by an employee of the United States than by any other nation.

        The First Amendment did not protect Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington, I’ll bet that not a single federal employee has read my post, If I’m wrong, I hope that his loyalty to the atheistic government is tempered by a loyalty to Jesus and His commandments, and that he won’t begin a legal process that leads to my being tasered, arrested, sodomized, or executed. The U.S. has the largest prison population on the planet.

        People risk their lives to come here because they want the goodies. The entitlements. The “personal peace and affluence.” The government lets some of them in — if they can get a job and pay taxes for the goodies the gov’t passes out. “Foreign Aid” is the poor people in rich countries giving money to the richest people in poor countries. Sometimes the U.S. uses foreign aid to put pressure on less powerful nations to promote abortion and the homosexual agenda, as a previous broadcast of Breakpoint pointed out (I linked to it on my website: http://KevinCraig.us/enemy.htm).

        I’m perfectly happy to admit that the first 200 years of American history were more Christian than the last 200 years. Because of our Christian past, I would rather live here than any other place I know of (but I’ve only been able to afford to visit one other country: Mexico). But we’re burning up our Christian capital, and not replacing it. The house of cards is going to crumble, and when the Fed destroys the dollar (through “false weights and measures”) and the checks stop coming, we’re going to see the real character of a nation educated in atheistic schools, where 1 in 4 do not know what we’re supposed to be celebrating on the 4th of July. (That’s about 75 million people.)
        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2010501/Independence-day-Only-58-Americans-know-US-declared-independence-1776.html

  • gladys1071

    I think we need a balance, nothing wrong with patriotism, but, i am not sure about loving a country. I think we are called to love individuals and God. I don’t think as Christians we are called to love a nation.

    • Just one of many voices

      Good place to share that article you shared in the other thread 🙂

      I definitely second your statement about love & allegiance too. I bet Eric probably assumed love & allegiance to God first, even though he didn’t mentioned it directly. Still, doesn’t hurt to restate it!

  • gladys1071

    I want to also add, that our love and allegiance should be to God FIRST and foremost.