Some are thrilled by this. I'm not.
As some try to convince us that our country is the source of all the world's problems, or that to celebrate America is to show narrowness and exclusivism, others say that to celebrate freedom or feel a sense of patriotism is to align oneself with the kingdoms of the world. Others say America is going to hell in the proverbial handbasket, and thus the 4th should remind us of our need to return to our "Christian foundations."
I keep thinking to myself…
One can be patriotic without being sectarian, abusive to others, or aligning oneself with the principalities and the powers–or being demeaning to others. One can hope for a more moral America without eschewing celebration for the good we experience now. Bottom line: even at our worst, America is still a great country. At the very least, there is a lot that we who enjoy America can rightfully give thanks for. Perhaps one symptom of our Americanness is our exaggerated sense of what dangerous allegiance to country or "hell in a handbasket" actually is on a worldwide scale.
Today is Independence Day, and it's one on which I like to celebrate that I live in a great country (even on it's worst day), and the fact that we can even sit around debating like we do without fear is something that testifies to America's beauty.
There is nothing wrong with loving one's country. Obviously there is something wrong with patriotism that takes a wrong turn into the aforementioned vices, or when allegiance to one's country trumps one's allegiance to Christ. While I'm warned about these things, I will admit I have hardly ever seen genuine cases of them. I see far more ingratitude and cyncism among Christians these days as it pertains to Ameria. While there is certainly plenty of fodder for those looking for it, it also seems to me that we live in a country that has a hard time being thankful for our shared blessings and heritage these days.
So today, I say it's OK to be thankful for America. It's OK to celebrate America. It's OK. It's OK. It's OK.
Maya Angelou was right:
"We really are 15 countries, and it's really remarkable that each of us thinks we represent the real America. The Midwesterner in Kansas, the black American in Durham — both are certain they are the real American."
But we are Americans. And that's a good thing. It's not the only thing. It's not the best thing. But, it's a good thing. A really good thing.
Note: *This post adapted from a previous post from Independence Day, 2007.