Saturday, July 4, 2009

Day 185.

I am Mennonite and I think I'm patriotic. Because of my Mennonite faith, I am occasionally looked upon as unpatriotic. I guess I see why others would see my silence during The Pledge of Allegiance as unpatriotic. I choose not to say the pledge not because I don't appreciate all the benefits of living in the United States of America. And, of course, I mean no disrespect to the men and women serving our country in the armed forces. They are a part of my ongoing prayers. I just cannot get on board with violent means of solving conflict.

So, I can't say I have allegiance to my country. I have allegiance to God, the whole world created by God, and all of God's people.

Merriam-Webster defines patriotism as "love for or devotion to one's country." Love, not allegiance. So, I can be patriotic without allegiance. I don't think United States citizens are more blessed by God than anyone else. I like to think of more of a global that does not have exclusive borders.

I do love my country. I was born here, raised here, schooled here, fell in love here, and enjoy day after day of the freedoms this country allows. How can I not be grateful for and love the people in this country and the country itself? I love the soil that grows the vegetables I picked up at the farmer's market this week. I love the freedom of religion that allows me to choose a church that my family feels comfortable in, and that allows me to worship freely whenever and wherever. I love baseball games, hot dogs (guilty pleasure), and homemade pie (not apple though, actually).

But, this love doesn't have to be exclusive. Just because I love my country doesn't mean I think I'm better than any other child of God on this earth, just because I live here. Just because I love my country doesn't mean I think we have the right to defend it, no matter what.

I am grateful for Independence Day.

I am grateful for a day to remember the good things about this country, even when I don't agree with a lot of things happening in our government. USA, I am grateful for you, even as I struggle with what it means to be an Independence Day-celebrating Mennonite. God Bless the whole world.


  1. Fascinating. A perfect example of why actions speak louder than words. Great post, Hilary.

  2. Simply wonderful, Hilary!