Sunday, July 4, 2010

On Why I Don't Love the U.S.A.

"On Why I Don't Love the U.S.A." is a negative sounding title, but I hope this post will be positive in the end.

Since today is both Sunday and the Fourth of July, the U.S.A. will be worshiped in many churches today. "God Bless America" will be sung in many places. Church signs will be full of "God-and-Country" type slogans. The cross and the flag will be wound tightly together.

I just can't stomach the worship of country any longer.

Let me be clear: I like living in the U.S.A. I appreciate the freedoms we have. I'd rather live here than anywhere else. I just rooted for the U.S. soccer team in the World Cup (and was disappointed).

However, I don't love the U.S.A.

In fact, I don't love any country.

When we look to the bible, we never see any command to love country. It is not even implied. Yes, we are to obey those in political power over us, but this does not mean we are to love country. I can't imagine Jesus telling His followers to love the Roman Empire.

What does the bible tell us?

In Philippians 3:20, Paul writes, "But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." Paul, a citizen of the Roman Empire, considers his real citizenship to be in heaven with God.

In I Peter 1:1, Peter addresses his letter, "to those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia." Peter is telling the Christians in modern day Turkey that they are to consider themselves exiles. In other words, they were never to be too comfortable in their earthly countries because that was not their real home.

Back in Philippians, Paul writes in 1:27, "Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ..." Paul is literally telling the church in Philippi that they should "behave as citizens worthy of the gospel." Why? The reason is that they are citizens of the Kingdom of God.

Part of the problem in this country is that many American Christians act as if the U.S.A. is some sort of new Israel. The thinking is that as God has a special place for Israel, so He also has a special place for the U.S.A. This is simply not the case. Just look in the bible. Israel is mentioned repeatedly. The existence of the U.S.A. is not even hinted at.

If a Christian declares that he loves his country, my question is, "Why? What is your scriptural basis?" The great commandments are to love God and to love neighbor. We are to do this whole-heartedly. There's no command to love country.

My devotion is reserved for God. He alone is worthy. He alone is deserving of my love and worship.


Arthur Sido said...

Amen to that Eric. Wrapping the cross in an American flag has no place among the gathering of God's people.

Eric said...


Sad that it happens so much - what an odd country we live in.

Elizabeth B said...

i've often felt strange about the Memorial Day or July 4 service at church where the focus is often moved away from Jesus and toward a social or human construct such as nation-worship or soldier-reverence. When my 3-time deployed soldier husband is recognized publicly at church, he appears very uncomfortable. Honor is indeed due, but has that honor been exaggerated or at least misplaced? The lines between love of God and appreciation of privilege (i.e. free country) are blurred on such occasions, but who am I to stand up and request that we keep the sabbath a God-centered day?

Eric said...


Thanks for commenting. This is a difficult issue. I often feel for our military when, like you said, the church makes them feel uncomfortable. I wish we could appreciate their service to country without mixing it in with worship of God.