Friday, July 03, 2009

Buechner on Patriotism

All "isms" run out in the end, and good riddance to most of them. Patriotism for example....

The only patriots worth their salt are the ones that love their country enough to see that in a nuclear age it is not going to survive unless the world survives. True patriots are no longer champions of Democracy, Communism, or anything like that but champions of the Human Race. It is not Homeland that they feel called on to defend at any cost but the planet Earth as Home. If in the interests of making sure we don't blow ourselves off the map once and for all, we end up relinquishing a measure of national sovereignty to some international body, so much the worse for national sovereignty.

There is only one Sovereignty that matters ultimately, and it is of another sort altogether.

The above quote is from a book of compiled writings, so I don't know when it was written, but I would guess it's at least 20 years old. Still, even with the threat of nuclear annihilation somewhat muted, I think it is very relevant today. Recently we have seen how the actions of a relatively tiny group of people can have a domino effect, creating massive economic havoc around the world. Scientists warn us that the habits of a few nations may have a catastrophic effect on the entire planet. And we've all watched as a virus born in a remote village in Africa has spread to every corner of our world and claimed the lives of millions of men, women, and children. Despite our differences, we are all connected, and if the ship goes down, America goes down with it.

I love my country, but I'm tired of people who use patriotism as an excuse for callous indifference and smug superiority. Jesus makes it clear that he abhors apathy.

"'I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'"

As a Christian I believe we are called to use our hands, our feet, our voices, our resources, and yes, our vote, to do the will of God, and God is not interested in the promoting the ease and comfort of Americans at the expense of the rest of his children.


Steph Stanger said...

darn tuttin Kim!! I do appreciate that about our church. I feel like the majority of Americans are just naive too the cost of our comfortable lives on those living in less fortunate countries....or even in this country...

Janett Sue said...

Reminds me of something I heard Warren Buffet say, it was something like if I am sitting at one end of a boat and I don't even know the guy sitting at the other end of the boat and his end of the boat springs a leak, it is in my best interest to help him.