Controversial Christian Patriotism

The idea of Christian patriotism is one that is very controversial in modern society. Groups such as the Religious Right and the Moral Majority have taken on the cross of Christian patriotism, trying to combine love of country with love of Christ and creating a nation that is both pure in Christian principle as it is pure in the concepts of love of liberty. More liberal Christians, however, often challenge these ideas, and some even believe that Christian patriotism is not Christian at all.
One of the basic presumptions of Christian patriotism is that the United States is a Christian nation. It is their argument that the founders of our nation were Christian, that the nation they founded was Christian, and that Christian patriotism was the purest form of love of country that could be found in such a nation. Christian patriotism combines both love of country with a love of Christ.

While it might seem a truism of Christian birth that the majority of our Founding Fathers were born into Christian homes and many were raised as Christians, many more liberal scholars have been quick to point out that not all of our Founding Fathers held deep Christian beliefs. Some were Deists, some were Unitarians, and some were Christians in some respect but acted very little upon their faiths. If the Founding Fathers were not all Christian, then, does that mean that Christian patriotism is still a legitimate form of patriotism? Or does it take away from the secular nature of the government which our Founding Fathers formed?

More liberal Christians attack the idea of Christian patriotism in yet another fashion. It is their idea that patriotism and Christianity can in no way go hand in hand. After all Jesus himself could not be considered a patriot. He showed no support for Rome, under whose control Judah was held during his time on Earth. He also seemed little interested in supporting the cause of the zealots, who could be seen as Jewish patriots of their day.

In fact, Jesus Christ had little interest in politics at all, at least as portrayed in the Bible. His prime purpose was to teach the Gospel of his coming. For as God said, He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him might not perish but have everlasting life. Jesus gives little discussion on love of country. The closest he gives to a political statement is: Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, render unto God that which is God's.

In the minds of these Christians, Christian patriotism goes against the mission of Jesus because it involves too much of a love of the world. Christians are supposed to remove themselves from the world. The world is a place of sin and evil, while the world of the Christian is the holy realm of God. To get caught up in the ideas of politics and love of nations goes against the grain of what Jesus taught. After all a Christian birth can take place anywhere, are Christians from the United States better than Christians born in Russia simply by an accident of birth?

That said, Christian patriotism has a long history in the United States of America. Many popular patriotic songs make use of much Christian imagery, and many hymns found in hymnals in churches around the United States are patriotic in nature. Christian patriotism is a combination that has been around for as long as there as been a nation called the United States, and it shows little sign of stopping anytime soon.

It is perhaps Christian patriotism's linkage with the conservative cause that has given it so much bad press. Christianity and patriotism both give the appearance of being conservative in nature. This was not always the case, nor shall it always be the case, most likely. Living in the beginning of the 21st century, however, that is the way that it is.
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