September 11th, Patriotism, and the Human Spirit

But what if the events of September 11th had nothing to do with civic humanism, at least as it was defined by the founding fathers? Did a love of country motivate police officers, fire-fighters, and other rescue workers to charge into a collapsing skyscraper to save the lives of their neighbors? Or did their sacrifice stem from a set of ideals and commitments that transcended the values of any particular country? Did the people in Valparaiso pray for the people of New York because they were fellow Americans, or fellow human beings in need of prayer?

On Sunday let's remember the tragedy of September 11th. Let's remember the lives that were lost and the suffering that occurred on that day. Let's celebrate the heroic action of so many men and women who risked their lives to perform actions that were certainly compatible with Jesus' call to love our neighbor. Let's not forget about the liberties and freedoms that were threatened on that day. But let's also be careful to remember that what happened on September 11, 2001 was just as much a human tragedy as it was an American tragedy. The attacks were a consequence of the sinful world in which we live and the heroism was an example of our human spirit that bears the likeness of God.

9/6/2011 4:00:00 AM
  • Evangelical
  • Confessing History
  • 9/11
  • History
  • Patriotism
  • Christianity
  • Evangelicalism
  • John Fea
    About John Fea
    John Fea chairs the History Department at Messiah College in Grantham, PA, and is the author of Was America Founded as a Christian Nation? A Historical Introduction (Westminster John Knox Press, 2011). He blogs daily at
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