Last Sunday in our Life Groups (Sunday School), we were discussing current events before class started. Many had an opinion about the fall of dictators in the Middle East, and everything seemed civil until I asked what right the President of the United States has to tell foreign governments what to do. You would have thought I was Benedict Arnold. One lady's response was, "Well, I love my country!" Unfortunately, my response to her was just as bad, because I gave her a dirty look for challenging my patriotism, and reminded her and everyone else that I spent twenty years of my life in military service because I, too, love my country. After class was closed in prayer, I apologized to her publicly for my angry response.
During my lifetime, I have participated in many discussions which involved criticism of our nation's policies and leadership. In most of them, I will admit my views were not only in the minority, I often stood alone. I was not very popular when I stood against racism and segregation in the sixties. I opposed the Vietnam War (even though I was serving in the Navy throughout its twelve years), not because I believed the war itself was wrong, but because our political leaders did not allow our military to win. I do not believe in Reaganism with its trickle-down economics, because most rich men do not invest their wealth, but use it for opulent living and as a source of political power. I do not believe in providing free housing, food, and medical care to those who can work but don't. I do not believe in educating lazy and disruptive teenagers in our public schools, or "no child left behind," especially if that child is preventing teachers from teaching others who want to learn. I do not believe in providing college educations to those who have not earned them academically (that includes sports scholarships). I do not believe that abortion is a woman's choice, but that it is murder. I suppose that is enough to give you an idea of why my views are not always popular.
That being said, I believe the United States of America was the greatest nation in the history of our planet on the day I was born! We were at war with Germany and Japan, and our people pulled together, doing whatever it took to stop their aggression. By the end of the war, we had a merchant marine fleet that was larger than that of the rest of the world combined. We were a land of industry. It was not perfect, but it was getting "better with age." Integration became the law of the land. If a man worked hard, he could earn a college education. If a man worked hard, he could provide a very comfortable life for himself and his family. But today, our merchant marine fleet is somewhere near one hundredth in the world. About one half of all marriages end in divorce. Our educational system cannot compete with those of many other nations. Our political leaders get rich in jobs that pay little. Our leaders spend a great deal of time putting a good "spin" on their activities, rather than doing the right thing in the first place. Today, the new trend is for the minority party to simply leave their state so they can prevent democracy from working. Today, our government is more concerned with offending the atheists than it is in acknowledging God.
I am a patriot, but as you can tell, I have not made America my God. Patriotism that says, "my country, right or wrong," is not really patriotism; it is idolatry! God have mercy on this ungrateful nation!