American patriotism hits a high point at about this time every year. Independence Day celebrations remind us of our nation’s rich history of liberty.
But we’re also confronted with some very dark chapters that can tarnish the national pride we feel.
That paradox brings to mind an important question: “Should we love our country?”
Author Eric Metaxas says a lot of people today interpret love for America as nationalistic chest beating. Our pride is really nothing more than tribalism, they say. In other words, we only see our country as great because we live here and have sunk into a “my team is better than your team” mentality.
But I believe America is truly exceptional.
The United States of America is the first country in the history of the world that was established and meant to exist specifically for the benefit of others.
The Statue of Liberty holds her torch high as a light to the world and looks outward to symbolically say, “The freedom we enjoy, we want to share with everyone.” The good things given to us by God are given to us so that we may give them away to others.
Has our nation been perfect? Of course not. But much of what has tarnished our history has come about because people have not been taught, or they’ve forgotten, the original noble idea of America.
It’s up to us, the American citizens, to “keep” the promise of our republic alive. The system of liberty our founders created and handed down to us is not self-sustaining.
That admonition comes directly from the lips of Benjamin Franklin himself. Just a few years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, many believed the federal government needed more influence, but only slightly. If it were too strong, we’d quickly lose all of the liberties we fought for in the first place.
So Franklin and the other Founders gathered in Independence Hall in Philadelphia in 1787 and worked out a solution: the Constitution of the United States of America.
Afterward, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin, “Dr. Franklin, what have you given us? A monarchy or a republic?”
Franklin, 81-years-old and never short on wit, said to her, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.”
If American citizens aren’t engaged and protecting the principles of our Constitution, we’ll lose the fragile structure upon which all of our freedoms rest.
Fortunately, it has kept for over 200 years, but only, says Eric, because of what he refers to as the Golden Triangle of Freedom. The three points are faith, virtue, and liberty. Liberty, which is basically self-governance, requires virtue. Virtue requires faith, and faith requires liberty.
How can people govern themselves unless they have virtue? And why would people seek to be virtuous unless they have faith in something or Someone bigger than themselves? And, finally, how can faith flourish unless the government allows people the liberty to live out their beliefs?
Most in the Christian community believe those values are being systematically degraded and want to know how we can apply biblical standards to today’s issues and offer light, so our nation can “keep” its freedoms.
We’ll talk about that at length with Eric Metaxas today on our radio program, “Keeping the Promise of American Liberty,” and discuss why America is the first country in history that’s not about ethnicity or borders, but an idea to share with the world.