For God and country? Or for God alone? Which is biblical? Well, I think the answer is pretty obvious asked up front… but our culture today, especially in the United States, has sold us a lie. The lie is that you can be “proud to be an American” and believe in Jesus Christ. The truth is you can’t.
While I am no longer an Atheist, I still respect George Carlin and his pithy sayings. One of them, recorded in It’s Bad for Ya, right before his death, was simply “Pride should be something you achieve or obtain on your own, not something that happens by accident of birth. Being Irish isn’t a skill… it’s a fucking genetic accident.” That’s really what it is in a nutshell. The ridiculous buffoonery of saying you’re proud to be born somewhere is staggering in its sinfulness.
The word “proud” is used as a positive attribute, what does God say on pride, however? Well, that’s easy, let’s open our Bibles. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” The context of this verse is rooted in Genesis. What caused humanity to lose fellowship with the Lord? It was pride. Humanity ate from the Tree of Knowledge because Adam and Eve thought they could stand equal with God. That’s pride. That’s sin. Maybe Adam and Eve would’ve made great Americans, huh?
Nothing about placing yourself or your culture up on a pedestal is moral. It’s also stupid. Are you proud of your height? How about your eye color? Don’t forget about your nose hair. It’s the same thing about being proud to be an American. I can guarantee you that God doesn’t have a favorite country, and if he did, it sure as hell wouldn’t be America.
We were founded on the slavery of Blacks, and the genocide of Native Americans. Does that sound like something to be proud of? If anything, I’m ashamed. I’m ashamed of the unjust wars we’ve forced on other countries. I’m ashamed of how getting rich is treated as noble, but helping the poor is looked on as “giving a handout.” Fundamentally, I’m ashamed of how we’ve abandoned worshipping God in favor of idolizing ourselves. James 4:4 says, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
To be fair, we’re not the worst nation on the planet. We’re just not the best. If you’re looking for glory, you won’t find it in men, you’ll find it in Jesus. Thomas Paine is actually one of my personal heroes, but he didn’t die on a cross for me, neither did any founding father. The only thing that can comfort our souls is the love of God. Galatians 3:26 tells us, “You are all sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ.” That’s something to be proud of.