I just caught a segment on some first time voters on CNN, one line during the interview caught my attention and gave me the chills. The two first time voters were talking about war (in general) and here is what one of the first time voters ended with, “Well, we don’t like war, but sometimes it’s necessary. And I hope that the people who are calling Jesus is the ‘Prince of Peace’ would also believe that he has our banner and is leading us into battle.”
In the one statement you have the reason why nationalism and Christianity should not be mixed. Jesus does not, and never has, taken up “our banner” (with the “our” being the USA). When Christians follow Jesus, we come under his banner. I understand that this first time voter didn’t mean to blur the line between her understanding of the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world – but, see, that’s the point. When Christianity becomes a nationalistic religion people become unaware of when blur the line between the Kingdom we’re called to be advancing and the kingdom in which we currenly reside.
Can Christians take pride in their country, and serve in the armed forces? These are questions that Christians have been asking and answering in different ways for centuries. I’m not going to pretend to answer them definatively in one blog post! I do wish, however, that the Christians who are saying that Jesus is taking up “our banner” here in the US would understand that there are believers in other countries (some of which may not be particularly friendly towards the US) who might be holding the same confused belief.