I write primarily for myself. I also write in the hope that someone, somewhere, will read what I have written, consider it, and make a shift in their opinion, small or large, in the direction I advocate. I am not paid nor do I write to build an audience, although that would be nice.
With that said, this argument is bound to be controversial and may cause some readers to write me off as insane, unpatriotic, un-American, dogmatic, and perhaps even unchristian. Nevertheless, as the battle lines between good and evil are becoming more sharply focused and redrawn, I have no problem throwing this out for inspection. There is no neutrality, no common ground between good and evil. God is my Judge.
So many Christians in America today deplore the state of the country, claiming that it must be experiencing the Judgment of God a la Romans 1, beginning in verse 18. Part of this “condition” is because these people look at the blatant immorality which is widespread and increasingly openly defiant, and make the conclusion that America is under judgment for its sins. One major problem with this attitude is that God, not only is, but has always been judging this country (and the world), and will continue to do so…forever. Judgment is not something which is simply switched on or off like a light bulb. There is no time at all when God is not making assessments about behavior and issuing either positive rewards or negative punishments which are appropriate to the behavior. America’s judgment did not begin with the election of Barack Obama and it was not deferred for four years with the election of Donald Trump. In fact, it has been ongoing since the very founding of the nation and it will continue until America itself enters the dusty confines of the ashcan of history.
That being said, it is easy to point fingers. Homosexuality is now mainstream and accepted as normal. Abortion is killing our future. Transgenderism is at odds with reality. Schools are teaching CRT to clueless children. Homelessness is a blight on local economies. Rampant drug use is out of control. Violent predators are targeting our neighborhoods. And on, and on, and on. Ad infinitum. The cause for all these circumstances, we are told, is because we have simply NOT elected the right leaders to enact the right laws which will usher America into its bright future. Oh, and by the way, the first step we ought to take is to restore OUR country to its former glory is to reinstate prayer back into the school curriculum from which it was ousted by a Supreme Court ruling decades ago.
Yeah, that ought to fix it.
Speaking of prayer…
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Contrast that with my own version.
“I pledge allegiance to the Cross of Jesus Christ, and to His Kingdom for which it stands, one Holy Nation, under God, incorruptible, with liberty, justice, and love for all.”
Allegiance. People all over the country recite this pledge monotonously, as a matter of course without ever thinking about what they are saying. What is allegiance, anyway? What does it mean to pledge allegiance? Why is this an issue of importance, especially to those who have also “given” their lives to Christ, promising to follow His steps and way, renouncing their “connection” with the worldly pattern? Here are a few definitions, slightly paraphrased solely for ease of reading.
The act of binding yourself (intellectually or emotionally) to a course of action
The loyalty that citizens owe to their country (or subjects to their sovereign)
The obligation of a feudal vassal to his liege lord
The fidelity owed by a subject or citizen to a sovereign or government
Devotion or loyalty to a person, group, or cause
Binding. Loyalty. Obligation. Fidelity. Devotion. Regardless as to which dictionary definition is used, these words or others like them are going to be present. Boiled down to its basic elements, allegiance is swearing to submit and adhere to any certain philosophy, action, cause, government, authority figure, and/or belief, among others. It always requires commitment and sacrifice on the part of the individual to an entity, establishment, institution, idea, or another person who is on the receiving end. It is an oath, a solemn promise, which is not lightly broken.
In the Pledge of Allegiance, this oath of commitment is given to an emblem, a symbol of the nation known as the United States of America AND to the system of power which rules the nation. Government, in other words. Call it a republic, if you wish. Or democracy. It does not matter. It is impossible to separate the flag from the form of government which holds power. It does no good to claim that one’s allegiance is given to the ideal of the founding principles of America and not to its present day form. This is a package deal. Either you buy into it or you don’t.
For those who self-consciously call themselves Christian, this is a major problem. It is a contradiction of their supposed spiritual beliefs. By virtue of voluntarily submitting their lives to the rule of Christ, they are automatically brought under and implicitly (maybe explicitly) swear allegiance to that rule. This is publicly shown in the act of baptism, in which the believer acknowledges that he has “died” to one way of life and been “reborn” into another to which he now is obligated. His allegiance is now owed to the Kingdom of Heaven and its rule is supreme over his life.
Can any person have allegiance, devotion, fidelity, or loyalty to two or more opposing, contradictory viewpoints, philosophies, or governments? Is it even possible to have TRUE allegiance to more than one at a time? My position is that it is not and that anyone who asserts they can is deluded. One or the other will reign and those who try to play both sides will find inconsistency in their position. This push/pull dichotomy is inherent to our sinful nature and will never be completely conquered this side of death. Unfortunately, many Christians refuse to acknowledge the issue and prefer to ignore the contradiction for one reason or another.
Is it any wonder that the Church of Jesus Christ today is impotent?
When an earthly government orders its citizens to do anything, anything at all, which is diametrically opposed to what the Christian faith demands, which allegiance is going to prevail? How committed are you and where do you draw the line? If you swear allegiance to the United States and that government orders you to do something which is at odds with your Christian beliefs, will you go along with it even though it causes “cognitive dissonance” within your soul? If you are a Christian, whenever evil is present in government, how can you support that evil without first abandoning your commitment to righteousness? The short answer is that you cannot. You must choose which course to follow.
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
Jesus Christ, Matthew 6:24
And Elijah came to all the people and said, “How long will you falter [equivocate, dither, refuse to choose] between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word.
1 Kings 18:21
Is it extreme to say that standing, taking one’s hat off, placing a hand over one’s heart, and reverently reciting an oath of allegiance to a flag, an emblem of a political entity, is an act of idol worship? Probably, and in the minds of many self-professing Christians is cause for disagreement. After all, they will say, I do not really worship the flag. However, is not the Gospel of Jesus the Christ also extreme in its message? And does not the Gospel demand that a person forsake everything, that is everything, for the sake of the truth? And, considering what passes for American politics these days, why should anyone cling to the flag as if it was the arbiter of truth or going to save them from their distress? Furthermore, politics divides people and turns them against each other, whereas the goal of Christianity is to unite them in purpose, truth, and love. The practice of politics is antithetical and antagonistic to Christianity and ought to be abandoned as a means of bringing peace to a troubled world.
Will this happen? En masse, not likely. It is a lonely path. Most Christians in America today have too much to lose by renouncing their slavish devotion to the political State. Remember that it was only 2-1/2 years ago that churches everywhere shuttered their doors because the State “strongly encouraged” them to do so as a result of the Corona virus appearing on the scene and frightening everyone nearly to death. How many churches would go “out of business” if their 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status was revoked? How many Christians are enamored of the belief that America is “good” regardless of the evidence to the contrary and will not listen to anything else? How many are prepared to die for their country, but will not sacrifice their comfortable, middle-class life for their Sovereign?
My country, right or wrong! This is a common phrase among the true believers in national politics. Unfortunately, it is used as an excuse to condone the evil which emanates from society and its government. Those dedicated to the cause of Jesus Christ are not allowed to rest here. Instead, they are required, to root out evil within their own personal lives wherever they are, wherever they live, wherever they go, in His Name and sometimes this means that a separation from the mainstream is in order.
Do not be equally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial, Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God and they shall be My people.” Therefore “come out from among them and be separate, says the LORD. Do not touch what is unclean and I will receive you.”
Apostle Paul, 2 Corinthians 6:14-17
This is a lonely road. Do not take it lightly.