On God, Country, Patriotism and Allegiance

I rolled across the following quote via Opus:

In the scriptures, I’m commanded to love a lot of things: my God, my neighbor, my wife, my enemy…I’m never commanded to love my country. In fact, if “loving my country” means that I demonstrate preference to someone based on their ethnicity, their nationality or, for instance, their loyalty to America’s foreign policies, I think I’ve pretty much undermined a very important aspect of Jesus’ mission on this earth — to make his temple a “house of prayer for all nations” and ours, to “make disciples of all nations.” And when I’m willing to value American lives over, say, Iranian lives or when I’m willing to promote America’s economic interests over the interests of the world’s poor simply because I’m American I may actually demonstrate my infidelity to the only Kingdom worthy of my allegiance. — John McCollum, To Love One’s Country

McCollum makes a number of great points in that article, and asks some tough questions (Quote, “Is patriotism a good thing? A bad thing? Both? Neither?”). These are questions I feel like are rarely, if ever, in the public discourse within the context of American Christians, where patriotism is such a hot button topic in the current Presidential campaign. 

How unfortunate. If we’re to “…love the Lord your God with all [our] heart and with all [our] soul and with all [our] mind…” I wish more Americans who profess Christianity would actually start using their minds and wrestling with some of these types of questions out loud.