My conclusions on the matter:
While I do wonder if the patriotism issue would have gotten so much thought and attention without it, I do realize that my original anathema has made it quite difficult to move the discussion away from what Porter Memorial did in favor of discussing patriotism generally. I can’t argue that those folks are “hellbound” just because they are deceived. Honesty, I don’t think in those terms anyway.
But as I have made clear in the posts that followed, my problem is with history: I see no qualitative difference between the patriotism of these 21st century American Christians, and the German Christians who supported the Third Reich.
I retract my anathema (as such) and temper my initial statement. If one forsakes Christ, one may well be placed outside the Reign of God. Patriotism can deceive people (see photos below) into forsaking Christ.
Patriotism is dangerous. Patriots are not damned for being patriots; rather I think patriotism can lead Christians into ethical situations in which they will be hard pressed to be loyal to Christ. This is so dangerous because they could betray Christ long before they know they’ve done it. That’s what happened to the Europeans throughout the 20th century, and see nothing to keep it from happening again. I have no question that an unexamined patriotism will lead to this betrayal.
I never said, don’t love your country. But if you claim to, I challenge you to define what that means, and to carefully differentiate it from the way those Germans loved their country. One cannot really love in the abstract. Love acts in concrete ways. I would never say that I love my country, because that phrase in itself is meaningless. I actually suggested concrete ways that one might “support” U.S. troops as a Christian, without betraying Christ. No patriot has done this yet, at least not in the present discussion.
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