Non-patriotic?

I think I am opposite from the definition of patriotic: having or expressing devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country. I have become less and less patriotic the past 20 years or so. Memorial Day, July 4th, Veteran’s Day all hold little meaning for me. When 9-11 happened I was so on fire for our country. But within ten years the disgust I felt for the deceit of our government had grown so much that I didn’t even want to vote.

“There is no thing as a Christian nation other than the body of Christ.”- from Putting Amazing Back Into Grace by Michael Horton

Many churches have twisted their brand of religion and patriotism so much that it is hard to tell them apart. Being a “good American” does not make me a Christian. But, being a Christian should make me a good citizen. Can I be a good citizen without being patriotic? I think so.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “The first requisite of a good citizen in this Republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his own weight; that he shall not be a mere passenger, but shall do his share in the work that each generation of us finds ready to hand; and, furthermore, that in doing his work he shall show, not only the capacity for sturdy self-help, but also self-respecting regard for the rights of others.” I think I’ve fulfilled that requisite, but there are others I struggle with.

Most lists of "Good Citizen" qualities include the following:

Obeys the law / Respects authority.
Contribute to Society and Community/ Performs Civic Duty.
Loves his/her country/ Patriotism.
Courtesy and respect for the rights of others.
Trust worthy and Honesty.
Tolerance.
Accountability.
Moral Courage.

I am thankful to be an American. I treasure the land and I delight in its people. But, its government and ideals are harder to hold dear.

Brief Thoughts on Memorial Day

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Ben

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces.

I have not personally known anyone who died while serving in the armed forces. I can remember being sad but not really understanding when my cousin Johnny went off to Vietnam. But, he made it through.

My son served in the Army for five years. I was apprehensive when he left for boot camp and I couldn’t talk to him for weeks. I was relieved when he was stationed at Arlington Cemetery in DC. Then, fear struck on 9/11 when the Pentagon was hit and we could not get in touch with him for hours. But, like my cousin Johnny, he made it through.

I respect those young people who join the service out of a real desire to serve and fight for freedom, But I find it very hard to respect what our military has become. I am by no means politically savvy and I am not a history scholar. I am ashamed at my lack of knowledge of my country’s past and also my lack of understanding of current world events.

Yet, on this Memorial Day I respect and honor those who have gone out in sincerity to serve our country. I pray for the families who have experienced the loss of a loved one – I pray that Memorial Day will be a time of comfort for them.