In my previous posts in preparation for my patriotic concert on Saturday, May 16, @ 7:30 pm in the First Presbyterian Church of Battle Creek, I have been dealing with issues relating to patriotism and what it means. Specifically, three main misunderstandings:
- Patriotism means that you agree with everything your government does.
- Patriotism means that you think your country is better than all others.
- Patriotism means that you love every war in which your country engages.
I will deal with the last of those today. Namely, the idea that being patriotic makes you a war hawk.
It is axiomatic that war is always terrible. Anyone who thinks it is not is a fool. War always creates death and destruction. In the past century, millions upon millions of people died in major and minor wars. I find it ironic that some folks back then thought technological advances were going to bring about a utopia. In reality, we simply found more effective ways of killing each other. There is no technology that can stop the evil in the human heart.
War is also sometimes needed. I’m very thankful people like my grandfather were willing to stand against Nazism. They believed some things were worth fighting for.
There are monsters in this world, bullies who cannot be sated. Bullies love power and control. They crave it. They will always seek more.
The only way to stop bullies is to have someone stand up to them. Unfortunately, there are always appeasers. There are always Chamberlains in contrast to Churchills. These Chamberlains are so terrified of war that they are not willing to stand until it is too late.
It is for this reason that I believe we should honor our veterans and those in the military. It is why my Boychoir and Girls Chorus will be taking up a collection for wounded veterans at my concert on Saturday. We do this not because war is always right and wonderful, but because war is always ugly and sometimes necessary, and military members are willing to fight for us. They are willing to bravely charge into harm’s way so that we can live freely.
All this is not to say that America has never fought unjust wars. We have sometimes stuck our noses into things that we should not. We must always analyze our motives before entering a conflict and decide whether or not what we are doing is right.
War is always terrible. . .and sometimes necessary. Seeking out war as a first option is foolish. It might be an important second or third option, however. We must pray for wisdom to know when war is required by the circumstances. And we have to stand for freedom, otherwise it will be taken from us.
(Image Source: http://www.flagpictures.org/united-states-of-america.htm)