Posts Tagged ‘church and state’

Of God and Country

May 25, 2015

Today is Memorial Day in the United States. My great-grandmother always called it Decoration Day–a day to visit the graves of deceased family and place flowers. “Decorate” so to speak.

This confused me as a child because it was generally called Memorial Day–a day set aside to remember and honor veterans of the US military, especially those who died in war or conflict.

I grew up and still live in Middle America. The Midwest. It’s a place where, for at least 150 years, people blend God and country. A visitor, from say England or Zambia or wherever, to one of many church services would walk away confused if the people were worshipping God or worshipping their country.

It’s a complex range of emotions. And I know that that is not unique to Americans.

It’s interesting to watch the Wolf Hall series on PBS. It’s the story of England’s King Henry VIII and Cromwell, his “fixer.” The theme reflects the movement of political power, already begun in small ways, from “Rome”, meaning the Pope, to the country. You’ll hear Cromwell occasionally mention are you for England or for Rome. It bacame national.

I’m a disciple in that regard of Roger Williams who first proposed separation of church and state. That idea became a part of the US Constitution. I think that was because many of the Founders did not like the idea of the state collecting taxes from everyone that are spent in support of just one, state-sanctioned, church. They wanted the state out of the church business. I rather like that idea.
So, people like me have two buckets, if you will. There is worship of the one true God and loyalty to the country where I live. Today is where we exhibit the latter.
Or, we watch the Indianapolis 500 or CocaCola 600 auto races. Or, like me and thousands more who go to soccer tournaments. Or see it as a weekend for family gatherings and cookouts.

Whatever. I’ll not be critical. Except for the politicians who sent us into wars of pride and arrogance rather than the wars that truly protected the country. And remember those who died and those still suffering residue from those wars along with their predecessors veterans of the just wars. 

God bless them all.