|Old Glory and the POW-MIA flag flying high at Punchbowl, Hawaii|
|The Old Rugged Cross at Glorietta, New Mexico|
Which one am I first: a Christian, or an American?
To go back briefly, American values and patriotism have been in my background and foreground since I was born. I was born in a Marine Corps Hospital on a Marine Corps base and spent all my childhood and most of my teenage years surrounded the Marine Corps. The Marines are extremely proud of their country and their patriotism rubs off, at least it did on me. Growing up on or near Marine bases instilled early in my life that being an American was something to be very proud of. Being raised by a Marine Corps officer and a very patriotic mother, I watched patriotism and sacrifice in action my whole life. I grew up knowing that Patrick Henry was my fifth great grandfather, direct descendant, and that was something to be proud of. That the whole family on my Dad's side was descended from those very great men who were not afraid to stand up and proclaim that liberty was something to sacrifice for, even their very lives. Liberty was not something to be taken lightly and never to be taken for granted. That liberty was for all in this country, not just the elite and privileged in class.
I think I understood at a very early age that being an American and possessing and be able to exercise all the freedoms that we have came at a very high price. The price of blood, in the millions. Since our country was conceived, before it was even birthed, men and women sacrificed their lives and the livelihoods so that the American dream might live for their children and their grandchildren. They considered it a duty and that duty was not taken lightly.
What was that American dream? Nice homes that you owned and a steady job? The white picket fence and four children? No! It was freedom. Freedom to worship as you pleased. Freedom to be able to say your opinion of the government and those who governed you without fear of reprisal. Freedom to elect those very people that you wanted to govern into authority. Freedom from tyranny. Freedom from the imposed will of the authorities on your life and livelihood. Freedom of press. The list goes on - our freedoms are great and something that millions of people have coveted, even today. Why else do so many people flock to our country and will do anything to get in? We have something that they don't - the freedom to live as you please without fear of persecution.
These things I understood from a young age. My heart has always had a swell of pride when I saw the American Flag flying high. Living on an Air Force base, I do not consider it an inconvenience to stop and face the colors at 1700 when Retreat and the Star Spangled Banner are played; nay, I consider it a privilege to pay honor to those who serve by stopping what I am doing and facing the music, with my right hand held over my heart. (Personally, I think they should play Revelry, Retreat and Taps every day in every city and town across the country so that all may remember why they are being played and as a reminder to the freedom that they possess.)
I also grew up in a Christian home. We went to church every Sunday and Wednesday night. I grew up memorizing Scripture and being in AWANAs and knowing that Jesus died for my sins. Sadly I turned away from all that when I was a teenager.
I became Saved when I was 23 years old and since then the Lord has been ever working in my life. (He has a lot of work to do . . .).
I remember the first time I heard a friend say that we should be Christians first and Americans second. That we should be witnessing to people of all nations and our pledge of allegiance should first and foremost be to Christ, not to America. That doesn't mean we can't be both, it does mean that there is a priority of hierarchy. I was absolutely struck by that. Ironically my friend who said is now an atheist and has heartbreakingly (for me and our friends) turned away from the Lord. But what he said still rings true in my mind. I was so struck by it because it had never occurred to me that giving all for Christ could possibly mean denying your nationality, if it were to come that. By God, I am an American! America is a great nation! A Christian nation, founded by Christians, rooted in the Word of God and founded on Biblical principles. "All men are created equal" is straight from the sanctity of life that the Bible talks about. No man, neither Greek nor Jew, neither slave nor free, neither man nor women, for we are all one in Christ. We are all equal in the eyes of the Lord.
And now our country is in great turmoil. The whole national debt ceiling and possibility defaulting on our debt by Aug 2 (that's this Tuesday) is in the forefront of probably every American mind. And not just what's going to happen, but the consequences for our nation, for our children, for our grandchildren. As a mother of two, soon to be three, young children, I worry about their future. My thinking towards all of this has been to be an American and get involved to try to reclaim the nation and keep it from further declining. This means, to me, emailing my senator and representative, signing petitions, speaking out where I can, trying to get my voice heard. Why? Because I believe America can be restored to the great nation that it was.
However, I fear that if the agenda of the Liberals, including that of feminism, the gay/lesbian agenda, Planned Parenthood and the like, and the attitude of multiculturism is continued to be proclaimed louder, drowning out the voice of the majority, then our country will cease to exist. (Not to put the blame wholly on them, there are other reasons including the whole debt problem, but now I speak of the moral decay and decline of our society to which these groups/philosophies directly contribute.) Several prominent figures from many of these groups have stated that one of their goals is to destroy the family unit in this nation. The family unit is God's design for society. One man, one woman, united in Holy Matrimony, bound together in a covenant (not a contract) before God and family, who procreate and raise their children in one home is a Biblical principle, accepted by every society for thousands of years. Society is built on the family. A society with no structure will not last long. My underlying fear is that this nation will cease to exist as the United States of America. And not before too long.
The thought of that is not only scary, it is very sad to me because I love my country. I support my country. My husband serves in the Air Force. My father, brother, step brother, two aunts, an uncle (by marriage), my father-in-law and many friends all served or are currently serving in the military. Though I did not serve, I support(ed) them from the home-front. The thought that all they have fought and served, for all the millions of men and women who served, fought and shed their blood, sacrificing their very lives, is all for naught is just so heart breaking.
There is another who did all those things as well, in the name of freedom. And that was Jesus Christ. He died on the cross, taking on the sin of the whole world, not any particular nation but all of them and all their inhabitants, so that we might live and have freedom in Him. That freedom should be more desired than any other freedom in this world. I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and I strive to live for Him. I am commanded to love God and to love my neighbors. Including neighbors that aren't Americans.
This lately has been very hard for me to swallow. That means I should love illegal immigrants, even though politically I do not support their being here. That means I should love homosexuals, even though I don't agree with the way they live their lives and view the gay/lesbian agenda as a threat to the family and the nation.
And ultimately, this means, that my allegiance should first and foremost be to Jesus Christ, not to the United States of America. It doesn't mean I can serve both, but as I wrote before, their is a priority of hierarchy.
In a recent blog post I read, over at A Beautiful Mess, in reading Carol M. Swain's Be the People, in reading Susan Hunt's By Design and then in a conversation with my Dad this morning, I was further convicted. Both (my friend Heather and my Dad) accept the changes in this country because these changes are an opportunity to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which I am also commanded to do. Yes it is convicting. And it by far the hardest to swallow. Accept that this country may cease to exist, in my lifetime? Accept that my nationality, all that I have known and supported may go away? And do so with joy because it means furthering the Gospel and having more doors of opportunity to share God and His love for all people opened? I fear that at times my loyalty to this country may be stronger than my loyalty to the Lord. A very scary thought indeed. I accept that I may be called to lay down my life for the Lord, but I always assumed that that would kind of go hand in hand with being called to lay down my life for this nation. The thought that it may not be hand in hand is daunting. Willingly have to choose between Christ and the U.S.? It seems so weird, so juxtaposed. To me, being an American and being a Christian have always gone hand in hand. Trends in our society and culture indicate otherwise.
I know I must pray about this and fix my heart in the eyes of the Lord to serve Him first and foremost. I pray that the Lord will have mercy on this nation and restore this nation as a Godly nation who listens to the Word and obeys. And I fear for this nation if the people do not repent and turn back to the Lord. I fear it may be too late, but I pray it is not.