Every citizen who fears God ought to have room in his heart for both a patriotic stream and a prophetic stream. The patriotic stream is just what it sounds like, which is to say natural affection for the good things God has given us through our nation and people. The prophetic stream recognizes the ways in which we have displeased God, have fallen away from Him, and have in various ways incurred His judgment.
But in time of cultural disarray, as we find besetting us right now, there is a temptation to point to this binary reality as though the direct objects for our verbs of gratitude and our verbs of denunciation don’t really matter. All that matters is that we can both praise and blame in accord with our own pet ideologies—instead of in accordance with what God says is honorable and what God says is dishonorable.
So it matters what you praise and it matters what you blame. And why. Patriots want to honor what is honorable about our heritage, and damn what is damnable. Leftists want to damn what is honorable, and honor what is damnable. But both of them do both. Both sides honor and both sides damn. That is simply a structural similarity. The direction of the verbs matters, and the content of the direct objects matters, and that is where true difference lies.
The leftists want to change the name of the Washington Redskins, for example. Washington was a well-known slave-owner, and by the definition found in our pomo glossaries, a white supremacist. Excuse me? Oh, it is the Redskins part they want to change? And not the Washington part? To which I reply, patience, patience. They can’t do everything at once. They will have us rooting for the Ghandi Calves in no time.
For an example from our side, you cannot care for America’s well-being without hating abortion. Unborn children, millions of them, had blood in their veins, and therefore had their blood shed by us for reasons of personal convenience. Our nation is as polluted by this as any nation has ever been. Their blood cries out from the waxed linoleum floors of the Planned Parenthood clinics. So can I believe that we have justly incurred the wrath of God for our behavior in this travesty, and at the same time honor and respect our nobler traditions and the flag that represents them? Sure.
“Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt! Add ye year to year; let them kill sacrifices. Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow: And it shall be unto me as Ariel” (Is. 29:1–2).
True patriots do not shrink from recognizing their nation’s sins. Quite the opposite. But only ideologues see nothing but those sins, and ideology is a work of the flesh. It is natural to the natural man, and is necessarily carnal. But the spiritual man approaches all such issues quite differently.
It is true that we have despised God in many ways. But because we still love our people, our heritage, and our nobler ideals, we therefore cry out to Him. And . . . “he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry” (Ps. 106:44).