There was a time that I considered myself to be a patriotic American. My father used to tell me that to be a good Christian in our country one should be patriotic and to be a good patriot one should be a good Christian. For him, the two went together. Today, most people who do not understand the marked change that happened in the 1960’s would consider his sentiments as extreme, but that is because they don’t know what America underwent in those days.
The student movement on university campuses was much more of a cultural change agent than today’s Occupy Wall Street or Black Lives Matter movements will ever be. At the heart of it was radical change fueled by a mixture of Marxist atheism, socialism, anarchy, and hedonism. Patriotism in those days was mocked because it represented the old view of America, a view that was rooted in values that came from a shared vision that was shaped by a Christian consensus. So all things Christian had to be dismantled. The Supreme Court fueled this by their rulings which eliminated Bible reading and prayer from the public schools. At the same time flags were burned in the streets in open ridicule of the symbol of liberty and honor that traditional Americans waved in their shows of patriotism.
Patriotism was out. It was mocked in music and movies. It was considered an anachronism, certainly out of favor and out of date. But then these radicals of the sixties began to take control of the government and continued to promote their “progressive” agenda through legislation and the courts. And they have rediscovered a new patriotism. They are “fundamentally transforming” America so that what were once basic virtues are rejected and being replaced with a whole new set of values.
These new values are being pushed on a reluctant populace that have been led by either lethargy or deception into allowing and then adopting an ideology that is completely foreign to that what it once was. Hence, blasphemy and profanity are mainstream (even with some presidential candidates), marriage is redefined, that which is perverse is defended, unborn children are killed with their little bodies auctioned off by a Planned Parenthood that is funded by our Congress and blessed by our President. To raise a voice in protest to these atrocities is to be labeled as hateful and “not who we are,” or in a word, unpatriotic.
This new “patriotism” would be completely foreign to my father… and is to me. I confess that what the flag represents now fails to raise the emotional inward response that it once did. The legendary “Ragged Old Flag” honored by Johnny Cash represented the honorable, the pure, the brave, and the true. It reflected freedom as the Founding Fathers envisioned it. Now, rather than that “lump in the throat” emotion at a Fourth of July parade as Old Glory is unfurled in the breeze, I have a rather empty, sad feeling. With the advent of the new “patriotism” its honor has been degraded. Our leaders are exporting abortion and gay marriage as the new values and are pressuring nations of the world to embrace a view of life which is abhorrent to decency and dignity, while at home our government-controlled educational system mocks the God of creation. In short, this new “patriotism” has left me behind. So instead of considering myself a patriotic American as I once did, I would rather consider myself to be a Christian American.
As a Christian American, I will maintain the virtues that are defined by the same Creator who endowed us with certain inalienable rights.
As a Christian American, I will promote freedom of speech even when the speech is deemed to be unfashionable (i.e. politically incorrect). I will defend the truth that is in Jesus, and not be ashamed to say that not all religions are morally equivalent. To equate “Love your enemies” that Jesus taught with “Kill the infidel” that Mohammed taught is mindless, if not madness. Therefore, I will defend the right of Christians to tell the story of Jesus to others, even when society rails against “proselytism.”
As a Christian American, I will insist on the free exercise of religion, which is not to be regulated by a hostile government, nor redefined as only freedom of worship, nor prohibited from the government schools, the majority of whose funds come from people of the Christian faith.
As a Christian American, I will not allow changing cultural notions to change timeless truths about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Life is a gift from God valuable in the womb (Ps. 139:13; Jer. 1;5). Men and women are at liberty to be joined in marriage which is honorable as God intended (Matt. 19:5). Pursuing happiness must necessarily include following holiness, not only in worship times but also in the public square, involving employment such as baking or flower arranging.
As a Christian American, I will do my duty to vote, and will be informed by Biblical values to make my choice, including choosing civic leaders as Moses instructed, who were “able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness.”
As a Christian American, I will oppose godlessness, falsehood, and greed whether in Wall Street, the White House, in the community, or on the campaign trail. I will oppose the cozy cabal of government, Hollywood, and big business.
As a Christian American, I will resist the pressures of the libertines who have hijacked liberty and turned it from freedom to fulfill aspirations for voluntary service and charity, to license to do evil supported by the government forcing tolerance and acceptance of that which is perverted and deranged.
As a Christian American, I will defend what the God of the Bible defends and oppose what He opposes.
These statements are not a defense of being hateful or bigoted. They are statements that allow me to be who I am and maintain a memory of what this nation once was. During my time at Penn State University, as a student and then as a campus missionary, I made some friends who were certainly not of my philosophical perspective. One was an avowed Marxist, one an aggressive black power advocate, and one was a libertarian. What we all had in common was that we were all radical. To each of them, I presented the claims of Jesus of Nazareth and the message of the gospel. In turn, they defended their beliefs and mocked the Christian faith. Yet all of them indicated respect for me as a person, as well as I for them. I lost track of them, but years later the libertarian found me on the street and said, “Remember the talks you had with me? They were not wasted. I’m a believer and attending church now.”
We may not be remembered as flag-waving Americans, but let us be remembered as Bible-believing Christians in America. That is a worthy legacy.