The Religious Character of American Patriotism
It’s time to recognize our traditions and answer some hard questions (1987)
By Frederick Edwords
“The United States is indeed a religious nation, but its unifying religion is not Christianity or any otherworld faith — not even “the religion of secular humanism,” as has been claimed of late. It is instead a unique national belief system best called _Americanism_.”
And here we look to Pastor Bill and hear him say; “Our flag mimics the color of the Christian flag by design, not accident. Betsy Ross was given the task to use these colors, and she sewed their pattern by choice. And this flag, as it flies high in the air, reminds all who walk here, where they walk, and the nation which it flies believes in God.
Our songs, our national anthem, our most patriotic of lyrics all cater to God and his mighty glory to carry our wounded, our dying, our ailing home to His Heaven; to touch the hearts of the weak, the lost and sad.
It is in America’s very independence that we are uniquely united as “one nation under God.
So how can we “not” have a religion?
How can we ignore the freedom that God has given to us to live our lives?
We can sit around the church all day and discuss our sins. It might actually be rather fun. And when we are finished we can all stand together, form a line, and walk with one hand stretched out to the side allowing God to take it and walk next to us for, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: For thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou annointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over.”
This song is a song for us to “LIVE” by, not die. God is walking with you; He is guiding you “through” the valley of death not “to” the valley of death. God is always with you. You are never alone when you have God in your life. And all He asks is that you trust in His glory, His honor, His truthfulness, and give Him all your sins.
In this quest of belief you will honor your Father, your Mother, your Brother and Sister. You will honor the soldier who stands in front of your enemy protecting you with his blood. And you will honor America’s very own idea of independence.
There is a fight that each of us must make to continue to honor God’s America. The fight is against the losing of our nation to those who do not trust any longer.
When I was younger I worked downtown Chicago, south side. I used to take the bus to get to work, and I’d get there before the sun was up. One day I got off the bus and began to walk to work when a homeless man came out of his cardboard box and told me I was lost, that I didn’t belong here, it wasn’t safe. I assured him I was safe because I walked with God. And the homeless man took a step backwards. I told him that I had a shrewd around me of God’s love. And he stepped further back. And then I told him I had a halo of protection from angels sitting on my shoulders. And he stepped further away telling me I was a crazy white man before he crawled back into his box. That is how powerful God can be in our lives. God is not an idea he is a nation. This nation is more than just an idea as it was founded upon the declaration of God’s word through the leather bound pages called the Bible.”
As Pastor Bill was speaking I found my mind wander off a few times. The first was in honor of those who’s blood lays deep within the crater of wounds found in New York where the World Trade Centers used to stand. The memory of this gruesome day are imbedded into my soul like a tattoo on my skin, and where so many think God left us on this day I know God was there doing all He could to help the fallen, the stricken, and the survivors.
My second thought was to Sam’s second grade teacher, Mr. Montague. This man was truly one of the great teachers of our day. He was only 4 years from retiring when Sam was in his classroom. And I was fortunate enough to be the classroom Mom. I spent three days a week there, for about 2 hours each day, helping with reading, math and wherever else I could.
It was November and Mr. Montague was talking about the Pilgrims, their voyage, and God. The first time that taboo three letter word escaped from Mr. Montague’s mouth I thought for certain there was going to be trouble. Two days later I returned to class and there he was, happy as always, humming a tune and going about his normal routine. I was pleased yet shocked. It was here that he asked me to take on the biggest assignment I had ever had as a classroom volunteer. He wanted to through a potluck traditional Thanksgiving feast for the kids.
I set about getting volunteers, and of course making much myself. Mr. Montague provided the bird, cooked to perfection. And he invited all the parents that were able to join us to help celebrate. The tables and chairs were all moved to face in toward each other, just like at the real feast, while the children were off at PE. Once the children returned, and had found their seats again, Mr. Montague discussed a little more about the feast and then he did something I never expected, “Please take the hand of the person next to you and bow our heads in prayer.” And he lead the entire class in a prayer that was filled with God and His glory, His honor, His power, in a public school in 2006. And nobody complained.
That was in Washington state. To have a similar experience here, in Oswego, IL, I think would be liable for death threats. It is an impression I get and maybe I am wrong in this opinion, but in the past 5 years I have to say that I truly have not felt a vastly open minded community.
So how do we change things?
How do we get people to honor all flags of our nation?
How do we remind people to honor the blood that has spilled from yesterday to today?
We become patriotic in our religion.
We honor all who have fallen.
We remember who will lead us through the valley of death.
We honor our independence in the name of the one – God, and his fallen son, Jesus, for our sins.
If you need a reminder of just how much these three colors mean, please take a moment to watch this video: