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A recent editorial by Richard Land, the executive editor of The Christian Post, really got me thinking.
As someone who cobbles together words for a living, I know they each have different meanings. It’s why I find language so fascinating.
How many times have I said that I am “proud to be an American?” More than I can count, I’m sure. One of my all-time favorite songs is Proud to be an American by Lee Greenwood.
Of course I am proud of all the positive things America has brought to the world, things like freedom, independence and the ability to pursue happiness, however someone may define it.
On the other hand, I am not at all proud that America is the world’s largest purveyor of filth and smut. Nor am I proud of the fact so many Americans are bogged down in first-world problems, like “you must honor my chosen pronoun,” while a significant percentage of the world doesn’t have access to enough food or clean drinking water.
I wholeheartedly agree with Richard, who wrote:
Close your eyes and think for a moment about what the world would look like without the United States of America? Without America, evil people in the world would have run rampant in the past and they would run rampant now and in the future.
Without America, Germany would have won World War I. The Kaiser was not Hitler, but a 20th century dominated by Imperial Germany would have been no “walk in the park.” Then, of course, without America, the Germans and the Japanese would have won World War II, which would have ushered in what Churchill called “a new dark age.”
Without America, the last half of the 20th century would have been dominated by the “evil empire” of the Soviet Union, which would have had terrible repercussions for human freedom and dignity the world over.
All of that is absolutely true. But, America has blemishes as well. We are also well known for the historical scourge of slavery and the modern holocaust of abortion.
That’s why I like Richard’s approach that we should be “grateful” instead of “proud” to be Americans.
The Bible is full of references to the word “proud,” and none of them are particularly desirable. Pride does more to destroy a person than just about anything else.
Richard is right in noting that “proud” denotes something I have done. I also had nothing to do with my being born an American. He also wrote:
For me, and for millions of Christians, being an American is a divinely bestowed blessing. Being born an American is like being born on third base in the great scheme of things and being proud of it is like being born on third base and thinking you hit a triple.
No, we among all humanity, are the most fortunate of people, to have been, in the providence of God, born “American.”
In the providence of God, having been born American makes me the recipient of a priceless inheritance and a cherished national heritage of commitment to individual human dignity and the freedom to live according to the dictates of our own consciences without governmental interference.
Those are excellent points.
Being an American is something I can be grateful about. My birthright also set me up to be in a position to do something to better humanity and the world in general, which I have, sadly, failed to do. But, I still have the opportunity to do so and the freedom to pursue that goal.
For that I am unspeakably grateful.
Richard Land’s editorial can be found at The Christian Post.