It’s easy in our current political climate to equate religion and patriotism. Certain political issues, like abortion, are steeped in religious ideology. When I was a kid, it was natural to assume that only Republicans were real Christians.
Lately, however, the “Republicans are Christians” mindset has been tangled up in Trump’s misogyny and racism. Many Christians have backed out of their support of this particular Republican. Others remain convinced that God and their personal freedom are linked, going so far as to claim God is behind their reason to not wear a mask.
God doesn’t want our Patriotism, however, and here are a few basic reasons why.
Throughout scripture, God supports the poor and outcasts.
‘Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.’ Then all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
If God speaks adamantly in defense of the ones without a home base, what makes us think our home base is His top priority?
The concept of “greater than” is anti-Christian. Many American Christians believe America is the greatest country on earth. While this ideology isn’t necessarily dangerous or wrong in and of itself, it has little to do with Jesus Christ. Christ asked for humility, washing of feet, and turning the other cheek. When His disciples asked to be great He told them to get over themselves. “Greater than” isn’t in the vocabulary of a humble servant-teacher carpenter.
We aren’t losing a long tradition of religious perfection. I was raised to believe that America was the pinnacle of Christianity, that we were the Christian Country, the apple of God’s eye. This history, however, is largely fictional. We burned “witches” alive. We enabled chattel slavery and then went so far as to work its acceptability into our Sunday sermons. We weren’t the best Christian country; we were simply human. We tried to follow God and largely failed. It’s irresponsible to sell ourselves a rose-tinted past, rather than focusing on an ethical future.
God didn’t give us America. When I was a child, I was raised by history books that taught me, “God gave Christians America so they could spread the right kind of Christianity all over the world.” The “gift” of America was proof that God wanted the strict Puritans and their views of God to win. But what actually happened so we could “have” America? Millions of people died of new diseases; civilizations were lost. It was a nightmare worse than the Bubonic Plague, the apocalypse for all who lived through it, and we largely ignore it. “They died to make room for something better” sounds dangerously like Nazism. Let them quietly die, so better things can live on in their place. Our possession of America is pure coincidence, not divine blessing. God never gives genocide.
God consistently uses a global mindset.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. — Galatians 3:28
Scripture makes it clear that God’s ultimate plan is to make all people one people under Christ. The Gentiles are accepted. The outcasts are drawn in. A new heaven and a new earth are the ultimate prize, where community is effortless. The Trinity makes up one God; our Lord adores unity. It follows that He would bless the world as a whole, loving all His children equally.
God loves America in the sense that He loves every living soul within it, legal or not. God hates our egocentric mindset and loves our efforts to make a better world. Ultimately, God and the American flag have no more in common than God and the banner of the Holy Roman Emperor. At the end of the day, tying Christ in with politics may merely be an excuse to worship our country, thereby worshipping ourselves.