Dear Patriot

I opened my email spam folder this morning and found one of those messages from an ultra-conservative group that began with the words "Dear Patriot". Not sure what to make of that salutation.. do you think that they were referencing my three years of military service - a sure sign of patriotism.. or maybe they know that I have faithfully paid my taxes all of my life - hmmm.. maybe some would not consider that a qualification? So I have to wonder what kinds of things make a 21st century American a patriot? Here is what one person thinks:
A patriot is a good citizen and one who cares for his or her country. One who says the pledge with pride and loves their country. A patriot is one who defends its country and regards their selves and defenders to the U.S. A patriot is the one you see around your neighborhood picking up trash and doing community service!
Not a lot of help there.. wonder what they are thinking when they say "defends its country"? Could they mean that only soldiers are patriots? Here is a recent response from a soldier:
“To me, I personally feel that being a patriot is loving your country and being willing to make sacrifices to ensure it remains or becomes prosperous.”
Loving your country enough to make sacrifices? Perhaps that is what the first response meant when they spoke of picking up trash in your neighborhood? Maybe being a patriot is all about making sacrifices for your country.. certainly military service would be included.. yet I am wondering what other things would be included as a sacrifice made for your country?

What do you think? What makes a person a patriot? What sacrifices would you include?


  1. by some folks' definition, being a nationalist would be prerequisite to being a patriot. but, somehow, i don't think so...

  2. I struggle with this on a number of different levels. There was no doubt in my early teens and twenties I was an active patriot, I enlisted at 17 in the Marine Corps and volunteered to be a door gunner on a huey helicopter gunship to do my part.

    I still stand for the Star Spangled Banner and the Marine Corps Hymn! In public or private, I once the only person in a fully filled theater to stand when the Star Spangled Banner played in some movie I was watching.

    But as I grow in Christ, my dual-citzenship becomes confusing. I am not a citizen of this world, my citizenship and patrism is in heaven.

    I don't want to love this world nor the things in this world including this country, at least not disportionately or unscripturally. I am a pilgrim and a stranger in search for a heavenly land.

    Don't get me wrong, I vote, I pay my taxes, having lived in other countries I do pefer living here. But this land and political system is a distraction to heavenly things.

    Recently we have had a wave of posts on numerous blogs about our land of freedom and the sacrifice of those who died protecting our freeedom. I began thinking about this around Memorial day when all the "patriotic" speeches, blogs, op eds etc centered on fighting for freedom. Quite frankly, I don't know when and if we have ever fought for our freedom and defended it unless it was the rebellion of 1776.

    I think Annie hit the nail on the head. I think without being cognizant of it, people equate patriotism with nationalism. Today many people say to be a patriot you must say America, my country right or wrong!

    I agree with J C Ryle when he told his preacher boys to thank God for the place and time in which they had been sovereignly born. I would not have wanted to be born in AD 52-70 and to live under Caligua or Nero. I wouldn't have wanted to be born in Russia or China under communism.

    But I wonder what a patriot is? Now that I have seen that we really have not had to fight to protect our freedom, but that we have fought to topple governments we didn't approve of, oil, and other governmental issues, I wouldn't make the "sacrifice" by joining the military today. I don't know of a sacrifice I would make for this country other than denying myself, picking up the cross of Christ, and following Him and preaching the gospel to every creature in this nation while it is still legal to do so.

    I would die for Christ, but I wouldn't die for America. I will give all my finances and possessions to Christ but I will not give them to America, I would give sons and daughters to the cause of Christ and the mission field but I wouldn't give them to this country persay. So KB, I don't know what sacrifices I would make.

    As usual you have a great post that causes me to think and reason. Thanks!

  3. Great thoughts Annie and Gregg. There does seem to be a tension in being a citizen of two countries.. albeit one a democracy and the other a kingdom. Perhaps all we have to do is love the ones we are around.. regardless of citizenship.

  4. @Gregg - I think that most folks agree with you about making a military sacrifice. Even the most hawkish folks that I have talked to resist a national military draft - nobody wants their sons and daughters to be drafted.


I love to get comments and usually respond. So come back to see my reply. You can click here to see my comment policy.