some non-patriotic flag day thoughts

"flag over building" By Julia Walsh, FSPA

I am unpatriotic.  I don’t like flag day or other patriotic celebrations.  I feel like I am repeating myself a little, because I have written about this before (see my comments in this post, especially), but I dislike patriotism. I really, really do. I dislike patriotism so much that it sometimes makes me sick to my stomach. Seriously!

I am not unique for my questions about the tension about between the flag and the cross. A Busted Halo blogger wrote about it today too.

What’s with my dislike of the flag?  I think that it was the peace educator Coleman McCarthy who originally woke me up to how the flag doesn’t fit with the Gospel when I heard him speak about peace while I was on a college service trip to Washington DC.

I remember that Coleman McCarthy boldly acknowledged that no young person should have to choose between the flag and the cross, as they are opposites.  In our culture, though, it seems we glorify both, equally.  We even put the flag right next to the cross by the altar in the front of churches!

The flag has become a symbol of freedom caused by violence.  On the other hand, the cross is a symbol of freedom of caused by nonviolence.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I am a woman of the Gospel.  Sure, I am an American, and I appreciate the freedoms of our democracy.  I am grateful that I have the freedom to publicize these non-patriotic views, for example!  The reality, though, is that my freedom comes from God.  Although I may have more courage to be expressive of my views in this nation, I suspect I would still be vocal about God and the Gospel no matter where I am, and no matter what trouble it might get me in.  But, I am much more loyal to my faith than my country.  I believe that God will love me no matter where I am, no matter what.

I have major concerns about how many Americans turn to the flag and nationalism as a source for comfort and strength in times of turmoil.

I would rather everyone would turn exclusively to the cross, the True source of freedom.  Or, even better, Jesus, Love Incarnate.

p.s. I know this is radical and challenging stuff.  I’ve learned that a trouble about having a message is that people may become uncomfortable and offended, because values are tied to emotions.   Know that I still love you, even if we disagree. Peace!!

10 thoughts on “some non-patriotic flag day thoughts

  1. As a missionary with the Catholic diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán in Honduras some other Americans have noted that they are registered with the US Embassy. I have decided not to – even though the Embassy encourages US citizens t do so. Why? I am not here as a citizen of the US. I am here as a servant in the universal People of God, the Church.
    There’s also another reason. The history of the US government and companies, like United Fruit, in Honduras is atrocious. I hope not to be part of that empire that keeps Honduras poor.
    Thanks for your thoughts.
    PS – I’m a friend of your sister, Ellen, having been campus minister at ISU for many years.

    1. Thanks for you response, John… Ellen’s told me about you, it’s great to “meet.” I’d love to learn more about United Fruit in Honduras. Do you have any good resources?
      Thanks for your work there. God bless you! < Peace!

  2. “On the other hand, the cross is a symbol of freedom of caused by nonviolence.”

    Oh, really? Who sent Jesus to the cross? Who planned his arrest, beating and crucifixion?

    1. Jim,
      Great question!! I am taking a class this week on the Theology of Suffering and have learned that the great theologians of history have had different answers to your questions, so I am not going to pretend that I know the answer… I tend to lean toward agreeing with Schillebeeckx and others, however, who suggest that Jesus was killed as a result of the rejection of humanity and because he was living a radical life.

      As for what I mean by non-violence, I define it according to the principles taught by Dr. MLK, jr and others… in the face of violence and persecution we are to respond with great witness to radical love. That’s what Jesus and the cross modeled for us, and I believe it’s the call of the Gospel. I wonder often if I can really live for what Jesus died, the Kingdom of God. I hope and pray that I am, and that we all are.

      God bless you.
      Peace,
      S. Julia

      1. Think deeper than earthy reasons. Who ultimately was behind Jesus’ arrest, torture and crucifixion? Did earthly authorities have ultimate power over him? Was Jesus’ fate in their hands alone? Do you believe everything the Bible says about his death?

  3. Hmmm…. Great, provocative questions. I don’t know if my answers really relate to the point of my post. What do you think? Do you believe everything the Bible says? How can we know anything for sure when it comes to causes and consequences? What does it mean that Jesus was fully human and fully divine? How does that play into the paschal mystery? Hmmmm….

  4. The Father is the one who sent His Son to be arrested, tried, tortured and murdered violently on the cross. The cross it not “a symbol of freedom of caused by nonviolence.”

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