This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Idol of patriotism

Has patriotism become an idol in our churches? Test the spirits and see. If America is a nation “under God,” then put a Christian flag above America’s on the pole and watch what happens. Try removing the U.S. flag from your sanctuary to indicate the separation of church and state. If patriotism does not demand human sacrifices like an idol, why are people who kneel during the national anthem accused of dishonoring those who “died for their country”? Aren’t Christians supposed to long for a better country as aliens of all nations and citizens of heaven first?

The patriotic slogans “God and country” or “America first” constantly go unchallenged as contradictions of the Greatest Commandment and Second Commandment. Is it hypocrisy to advocate for Romans 13 submission to government while also claiming moral authority for a Revolutionary War against the king of England? Is the rallying cry “liberty or death” compatible with denying yourself and taking up your cross? Is Christ teaching us to kill or die for civil rights? The mantra “freedom  isn’t free” is a counterfeit of our freedom in Christ. There is only one eternal freedom that is the result of killing or dying: the freedom of Christ from sin and death. His death accomplishes salvation once and for all. No other deaths will further the gospel except for martyrdom.

Are U.S. Christians choosing the idol of faith in America’s founding fathers over adoption as heirs in the kingdom of God? Ask Christians from other countries and see what they say about American Christianity.

Clint Bergen
Orland, Calif.

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