Sometimes, when I read my friends’ blogs or their Facebook pages I get the feeling that some of them believe that patriotism is the same thing as nationalism and that Christianity and patriotism are incompatible. So, first,
Patriotism isn’t the same thing as nationalism. Patriotism is respecting and honoring one’s native land so that one supports it, prays for it, and stands by it through thick or thin. Nationalism, on the other hand, is the exaltation of the State above all other considerations including practiced faith. Nationalism is worshiping one’s native land as though it were divine. But of course, only God is divine and must never be replaced as the highest object of one’s allegiance under any circumstance.
Nationalism and Christianity are incompatible but Patriotism and Christianity are certainly not, as it is every Christian’s duty to pray for the State and support it through taxes and abide within society as a good and proper citizen.
The sometimes spoken and sometimes unspoken assumption among some that Christianity and Patriotism are mutually exclusive betrays a profound misunderstanding by those holding that assumption concerning the meaning of both patriotism and Christianity.
If Christians feel a patriotic stirring on this, the 10th anniversary of 9/11, it is neither wrong nor improper. What is improper is the divorce of personal faith from public life. Christians can no more compartmentalize their lives in that way than they can deny Christ: because such compartmentalization IS denial of Christ.