I originally wrote an entry about this on Saturday, but a minor system crash ate it and I didn’t feel like retyping it at the time. But it still bugs me so I’m going to rant about it now.
Seems Conservative columnist Scott Thomas of The Illinois Leader has taken it upon himself in the spirit of the recent Memorial holiday to define what a true patriot is.
Patriotism in the United States is loving God and country—in that order—and appreciating the blessing it is to live in freedom. Patriotism is acknowledging and showing our appreciation to God for the blessing of freedom by taking care of this country, participating fully in that freedom, and wholeheartedly, without reservation, supporting those who are willing to fight and die to protect those freedoms.
Let me be clear on this. I do not think you can fully be a true American patriot without first loving the God who blesses this nation. Sure, an atheist can fly a flag, pledge allegiance (without mentioning God), even fight and die for our country…all legitimate patriotic acts.
But, without recognizing the God who makes this country possible, can you fully be a patriot? Without God, there is no free United States, because freedom, even the freedom to not believe in Him, comes from and is ordained by God Himself.
So are you clear on that kids? According to Scott you can’t fully be a patriot if you don’t believe in and love God. Not only that, but love of God is more important than love of nation. If you’ve been hanging out at SEB for any amount of time you already know this isn’t a new argument. The argument that God is the source of all freedom, or love, or what have you is a popular one because it automatically implies that non-believers can’t have any concept of what real freedom, love, or what have you actually is because we don’t believe in the supposed source of these intangibles. Sure, we can go through the motions, but we’re just pretending as far as Scott is concerned.
Scott’s got more on his mind than just classifying atheists as second-class patriots, though, he’s concerned that his fellow believers are allowing the rest of us to ruin this nation.
Left to our own hearts, we would either endlessly seek the power to control people or we would acquiesce to being controlled. That’s the way it worked everywhere before God chose to bless the founders of this country with freedom and, with the exception of those nations who have tried to follow our model, that’s still the way it works today.
Like it or not, believe it or not, the difference between the United States and the rest of the world is God. To the extent that this remains a nation built on faith and one that exercises its faith, we will remain the great country we are.
Not only does this demonstrate an amazing lack of historical knowledge on Scott’s part, but it also perpetuates the popular myth that this nation was built on faith. Which leads to the usual warnings of how we’re doomed if we move away from the fictitious foundation. Scott knows some of his readers are pretty clueless, though, so he goes on to spell things out a little more directly with the following:
Should we, the faithful, allow the secular and evil to continue to advance their causes, this country will diminish.
Note the clever way that Scott is linking the word “secular” to the word “evil” in his dire warning. He doesn’t directly call secularists evil so he has an out should someone call him on it, but the implication is hard to miss. Those of us who strive to keep this country’s government secular as the Founding Fathers had intended it to be are evil and will lead this nation to ruin. This stuff plays well with a populace that thinks “In God We Trust” has been our national motto from the beginning and on our money since the first coins were minted. Christian revisionism is easy when most of the nation is largely ignorant of their country’s history.
Scott wraps things up by completing his re-definition of patriotism to be effectively synonymous with “God.”
So, I ask you, in the shadow of Memorial Day, when we honored those who have served and died defending our freedom, on a day when we proudly and patriotically flew our flags, on a day when we enjoyed the freedom of a day off from the job we are free to have, in a career we are free to choose and pursue, I ask you to consider the real source of patriotism, the real reason for patriotism, and to re-commit yourself to patriotism.
So now you can add patriotism to the list of things which God is the source of along with freedom and love. Just remember that you shouldn’t mention the other things God tends to be the source of such as bigotry and prejudice as those have negative connotations among most people.