Mailvox: nationalism and the Church

A Christian sent this to his naturalized, Canadian-born anti-nationalist pastor. It’s interesting how often those who deny identity nevertheless exhibit it in their ideology, and how observably dishonest they are every step along their broad and easy stroll towards worldy approval.

I was moved to provide some response to this Sunday’s sermon on America, patriotism, and nationalism.  I’ll just go through the line items:

The referenced survey of pastors was based on perceptions of the pastors, of congregants, rather than asking congregants directly about their attitudes.  One could draw generalized perceptions regarding any aspect of people’s lives: sports, hobbies, money, work, etc.  The survey is a questionable gage of the real spiritual situation, in my own opinion.

We honor our veterans on Memorial Day and celebrate the country we were blessed with because we are grateful for the freedom we have to worship – which is not available to most of the world.  Veterans have put their very own lives on the line defending it.  This is not true of doctors, teachers, etc.  But it’s a stretch to equate this to idol worship.  This is generally only done a few select holidays a year, not every Sunday.  

When Paul says he counts his other identities as nothing compared to his belonging to Christ, there’s a rhetorical element to what he is saying.  It doesn’t mean that he no longer has responsibilities to his family or his society, as a father, or a citizen, etc.  Are we to argue that all other civic bonds, associations, loyalties should be thrown out as a result of being a Christian – or are they just simply subservient to our Christian ones?

“Love your neighbor as yourself” – who IS your neighbor?  Are you certain of just who Jesus defines to be our “neighbor”?  If everyone is my neighbor, than no one is my neighbor, in the same way that loyalty to everyone is loyalty to no one.

To say that we have more unity with an Ethiopian christian, than say, a biological/ethnic kinsman who is an unbeliever is certainly true in the spiritual sense.  But it stretches credulity when taken to its absolute logical conclusion in an earthly practical sense.

Timothy 5:8 “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and specifically for those of his own house, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever”

You state that nationalism means “thinking you’re superior to others”.  This is a mischaracterization if not a demonization of the term.  Nationalism simply means taking care of your own as an extension of Timothy 5:8.  Nations are, by the Bible’s own portrayal, extended genetic families, just like Israel. He Himself ordained them when he scattered and divided humanity at Babel.

To do away with this concept may suggest that I’m not supposed to care about my child any more than I should care about any random person anywhere on earth.  Do you believe that?  If not, where is the dividing line?

On “America First”: It’s a political term to urge our leaders to make trade deals, treaties, etc. that are in the best interest of the citizens of our country. I would expect that Canadian citizens should say “Canada first,” Moroccan citizens “Morocco first,” etc.

Americans give more to foreign charitable aid efforts worldwide than any other country, yet we have people suffering materially and spiritually in our own country.  Would you care for your own suffering child first – or seek out someone else’s child?  How can we successfully help others if our own foundation has crumbled?

We live in a time where global capitalism is spawning runaway materialism, degeneracy is cultivated by curated mass-media pop culture, and Christian societies are being atomized through mass immigration and urbanization.  It’s interesting to me that with all of these things the church could be addressing, you attack the natural defense mechanisms against these very things.  It is because we are Christians, that we care about addressing these things not just spiritually, but also materially through political action.

Re Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr: Our spiritual leaders should be speaking out about the direction the country should be going – social issues, etc. One of the reasons we’re in the mess we’re in is because they have not!  Most of them have instead chosen to bite their tongue, or water down their messages, and market their church with graphic art and praise bands, failing in their primary duty to steer our society away from its ongoing decay, by promoting both the sufficiency of the Gospel and Truth.