In these turbulent times, it’s difficult – if not impossible – to be proud of America.
The President is a racist. The Congress is powerless to accomplish anything other than vote for their own pay increase.
Children are being held in cages, separated from their parents.
The government turns a blind eye to the horrific murder – and dismemberment – of a journalist because to speak out might endanger billions of dollars in weapons sales to the nation responsible.
As hard as it is to be patriotic these days, it’s even harder to follow the teachings of Jesus and maintain anything like an allegiance to such a nation as the United States of America.
In fact, one might say that we cannot do both with any real integrity.
Either we pledge allegiance to Christ and His Kingdom, or we align ourselves with the Red, White and Blue. But, we cannot do both at the same time.
“You cannot serve two masters,” a wise man once said. [Does anyone remember who that was anymore?]
The followers of the Prince of Peace cannot salute the flag that stands for warfare, military conquest and collateral damage.
The follower of Christ cannot wrap themselves in the colors that symbolize blood [lots of it], and open white nationalism, and unchecked police brutality against black people.
As one friend of ours recently said:
“Until stripes no longer represent bars, walls, systemic barriers to equality, and ‘us versus them’ mentalities rooted in stripes of toxic ethnocentrism- the flag cannot proclaim nor aspire to be a symbol of freedom. We must continue to ask ourselves, freedom for who?” – Marla Lipscomb
Yes, indeed. Freedom for who? For us, of course. That goes without question. [Doesn’t it?] But what about those who have no freedom? What about those whose oppression feeds our bottom line and under girds the wealth of corporations posting billions in profits each fiscal year?
Can the follower of Christ sit idly by while this oppression continues? Can we continue to enjoy the fruits of such a system that feeds the rich and starves the poor? Can we turn our heads so far that we honestly no longer see the poverty our quest for wealth creates in other nations?
This nation is as anti-Christ as it can be at the moment. What is truly frightening is that it’s possible this decline into Anti-Christ-likeness isn’t quite at an end yet. Perhaps there is still a few more feet of darkness beneath us? Perhaps we will continue this descent into hatefulness, racism, violence, oppression, war, greed and cruelty?
If so, it is long past due for those who name the name of Christ to opt-out of this toxic nationalism.
We can pray for this nation, but we cannot afford to align ourselves with it.
We can work to transform this nation from within, but we cannot wear those colors with integrity.
We can love our neighbors, but we cannot stand and salute a flag that waves while humans suffer beneath it.
So, let us chose this day whom we shall serve:
If Jesus is the Prince of Peace, the anti-Christ is the Prince of War.
If Jesus heals, the anti-Christ sheds blood.
If Jesus says we should love our enemy, the anti-Christ says we should torture them.
If Jesus commands us to bless those who curse us, the anti-Christ urges us to make war against them.
If Jesus says we should pray for those who persecute us, the anti-Christ says we ought to oppress and imprison them.
If Jesus tells us to care for the poor, the anti-Christ says we should just ignore them.
If Jesus says his disciples will not fight, the anti-Christ encourages us to glorify violence.
If Jesus says we should turn the other cheek, the anti-Christ says we should destroy the aggressor.
Who do we pledge our allegiance to? Are we of Christ, or are we of the anti-Christ?
Chose wisely, my friends.
Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.