Christianity and patriotism

I’ve written a piece for the First Things website, which ought to be read in conjunction with another essay posted over there today.  The titles of the two essays are “Moderating Patriotism” (mine) and “Patriots in Babylon” (R.R. Reno’s).

Here’s the concluding paragraph from mine:

Properly understood, “God and country” places the nation under God, where it belongs. Against the religious Left, this is not idolatrous. Against the secular Left, this provides a suitably modest and realistic means for ameliorating the human condition. Stated another way,”country” provides an anchor against the vanity or dreaminess of “mere cosmopolitanism,” and “God” provides an antidote to the excesses of national chauvinism. Where else would you want to be but in this middle?

Herewith the links:

Feel free to join the conversation, here or there.

Joseph M. Knippenberg


3 responses to “Christianity and patriotism

  1. I find it characteristic of the Sojourners people, from Wallis on down, that they leap a canyon of missing premises in a single bound from an obvious biblical truth to whatever dogma of the political left they are proposing to justify. In this case the landing point is “We live in a universal rather than a national moral horizon, and we ought to shape public policy to conform to universal claims of justice.” In other words, from a Christian point of view, individual states, with their concern to perpetuate themselves and serve a particular population over above others, are inherently immoral.

  2. Joe, your distinction between two different Gods, the one of the OT and the one of the NT, is inaccurate. He is one God throughout, unchanging and eternal. If that’s not what you meant (as I assume it’s not), the wording is ill-chosen.

  3. David,

    Your point is well-taken. My wording was infelicitous.

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