“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” — Jesus
From the “Says who?” department: In order to be a good Christian you must love America and believe Jesus wants you to vote Conservative. In order to be a good Christian you must believe America is the greatest nation on earth, the nation after which all other nations should model themselves. In order to be a good Christian you must support the US military and agree with America’s overseas policies. In order to be a good Christian you must agree having the words “In God We Trust” printed on our money demonstrates America is a Christian nation.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my country. I deeply admire the young men and women whose courage and sense of duty leads them to put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of their fellow citizens. I honor their sacrifices.
What I’m asking is this: When did it become appropriate to see love of country as being equal to or greater than love of God?
I see this expressed in two ways. First, there are those who love country more than God because they don’t give God a second thought. They take for granted the gifts they’ve been given by the Almighty. They’re glad to be American, celebrate patriotic holidays with a family B-B-Q, and then go about the business of making money and consuming. God only comes into the picture when someone in the family is being “hatched, matched, or dispatched”. These folks need God. They don’t know what they’re missing. But they’re not the ones I’m writing about today.
The second type is far more troubling. These are the people who parrot the nonsense in the ‘says who’ paragraph above. They make an idol of America. They wrap Jesus in the flag and demand that you salute… and then kneel.
For the Christian, there can be no question: our first loyalty and primary obedience is to God. When Jesus said “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s,” He meant give to the nation whatever has the nation’s imprint on it: money, flags, things — and give to God what has His imprint on it: yourself, your soul, your heart, your life.
Having traveled widely I have discovered first-hand the truth in the Bible when it says: “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” I have also found an old heresy based on this verse has been rearing its ugly head over the past couple of decades: Dominion Theology. I will delve into this in more detail in another post, but for now I’ll just say this:
If your style of Christian faith leads you to believe…
- Satan usurped man’s dominion over the earth through the temptation of Adam and Eve;
- The Church is God’s instrument to take dominion back from Satan; and
- Jesus cannot or will not return until the Church has taken dominion by gaining control of the earth’s governmental and social institutions.
…you have fallen for the lie. And if you have been applying these beliefs to your American citizenship you are worshipping a false god called America.
I can hear many Christians saying “you gotta be kidding — our church doesn’t teach that”. You’re probably right, your church probably doesn’t teach that. But a lot of Christians believe it, or at least live like they do. And a lot of what passes for cultural Christianity is based on it. Case in point: the Diamond Rio song “In God We Still Trust” (which, btw, was never banned from the airwaves for lack of “political correctness” as Christian nationalists claim). Look at the lyrics:
Now there are those among us,
Who wanna push Him out.
And erase his name from everything,
This country’s all about.
From the schoolhouse to the courthouse,
They’re silencing His word,
An’ now it’s time for all believers,
To make our voices heard.
They’re not talking about faith here, or being a disciple of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They’re talking about putting down anyone who dares stand against their quasi-religious nationalistic bullying. This is an amazingly clear example of Dominion Theology leaking into popular culture.
So what will it be, folks? Do we follow a sycophantic god who sets America up on a pedestal and bids us devote our lives to serving a political entity? Or do we love the one true and living God who says “if you love anything more than Me you are not worthy of Me — take up your cross and follow”?
Ironically, the latter makes for far better citizens. May God bless America with many more who love God more than country.