Rev. Mark H. Creech
One of my favorite quotes is by Benjamin Rush, who once shared his thoughts on patriotism as a moral and religious duty. Rush said:
Over the years, I have heard some high-sounding professing Christians disparage patriotism as if it's something beneath Christianity's global view. For instance, the Reclaiming Jesus Declaration, signed by numerous progressive clergy, targets President Trump's "America First" policy as "a theological heresy for the followers of Christ." The assertion is nonsense. As Lord Byron once put it, "He who loves not his country, can love nothing." A vision of Christ for the nations doesn't exclude the patriot's more ardent "God Bless America, my home sweet home."
These same clergy also argue that all war is wrong – wrong for both sides – and even when it's waged to restrain evil, it more often than not produces greater evils than it seeks to suppress. Again, such assertions are pitifully wrong.The late Dr. Loraine Boettner, a renowned Presbyterian minister, in his classic bookThe Christian Attitude Toward War, cites several instances where war was just and necessary. Boettner writes: Boettner also quotes Dr. C. Waldo Cherry, who said: Boettner concludes:
Memorial Day in America is once again upon us.
Memorial Day is more than just barbeques and parades or another opportunity to party. Instead, it is a sacred day to remember from whence we've come. It's a special moment of remembrance that, with all our many imperfections, there is no place in the whole world so wonderful as our American homeland – a place where liberty lives – a place where in the long run, the will of the people outweighs the wayward and despotic tendencies of government. Most of all, it is a time to especially remember those who, for the sake of their country, gave "the last full measure of devotion" in the wars our nation found necessary to fight.
As James A. Garfield, the 20th President of the United States, so beautifully stated, "For the love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue."
When we pause with patriotic heart to extol the goodness of our country – when we acknowledge our war dead who fought first to preserve that goodness for ourselves, and not only for ourselves but for others around the world that might share in it – our actions are thoroughly Christian.© Rev. Mark H. Creech
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