I don’t worship America. What a funny way for an American pastor, and US Missionary, especially one that professes to be so incredibly patriotic, to start off a blog right? Well, I just felt like I needed to come right out and say it. There is a sad kind of fervent religious nationalism I continuously sense in the American church, at least here in the South. Sometimes it borders on idolatrous. Sometimes, it is just plain idolatry.
Jesus didn’t die for America, He died for the world; and as much as I love both Jesus, and America, those are two very different focuses for two very different levels of affection. Even though Jesus didn’t die exclusively for America, there have been thousands of men and women who did die exclusively for America. I don’t worship them. I don’t worship their sacrifice, or even the incredible freedoms it has bought me, but I do honor them. I do remember them. I do thank them.
For me, when I think of the red, white, and blue that has come to mean so much to me over the years–the red is a constant reminder of all the blood that was spilled making this nation what it is today. Some of it was spilled unjustly and serves as a sad reminder, as when the Native Americans and African slaves were treated cruelly and often murderously by zealous settlers or tyrant land owners. Some of it was spilled innocently, as when terrorists threatened and attacked our civilian population. And some of it was spilled valiantly, as when brave men, women, and sometimes children, took up arms to galvanize the hope for democracy for another generation.
No, I don’t worship America, but I am thankful for all whose blood paved the way for mine and my family’s freedom. And though this country is not a recipient of my worship, it is a focus for my pride. Join me this week in honoring those whose sacrifice made the possibility of our freedom a reality we enjoy daily.
Here are a few stats on the number of combat related deaths from ten of our wars.
1. World War II – 291,557
2. Civil War – 212,938
3. World War I – 53,402
4. Vietnam War – 47,355
5. Korean War – 33,746
6. Revolutionary War – 8,000
7. War on Terror – 4,977+
8. War of 1812 – 2,260
9. Mexican–American War – 1,733
10. Northwest Indian War – 1,221