Editor’s note: The following was delivered by the author as a sermon in 2020 and was provided to Spectrum with permission by Adventist Peace Fellowship for publication near the US Independence Day holiday.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/views/2023/bonds-nation-and-baptism-july-4-sermon
An excellent article for a time when we truly need to know where our allegiance lies. One of my first memories when I arrived in the US from Europe in the early 80s was going to the local SDA church and seeing an American flag on display. I had lived in several countries in Europe and had never seen a national flag inside a church. It was explained to me that it was patriotic thing but I recall it sort of bothered me.
Many years later I was at PUC and heard a sermon that brought this home. It was during the first Gulf War and it made clear that God did have favorites in this world. While I remained in the church a few more years, this was the marker for me.
I have no issue with being loyal to one’s country, as long as that does not obscure the Gospel message. When you watch the news, the way we react, either as citizens of a country or citizens of that other Country the Lord is calling us to, can help us see where we stand. Ultimately we will have to respond to that question. Which “passport” is the most important for us?
It’s been a few years since I stopped doing the “Pledge”. To me, it IS an oath, and my oaths best belong to the Almighty. I do stand respectfully while others do it, that’s their prerogative - not crazy about the verses to the Star Spangled Banner either. I am glad to be where I am though, and I don’t tear down my country (but it could do better). I just remind myself where my real heart and soul are centered by quietly praying during the Pledge.
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