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Patriotism, Piety, and the Perfect Storm

By Michael Peabody, Esq., Vice President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church State
in Sacramento and Executive Director of the North American
Religious Liberty Association – West

Excerpted from his article in the Nov/Dec issue of Liberty.
A while back, a friend who leans heavily to the right asked
me whether I thought God supported the United States in the War on

Knowing the nature of the question, I sensed that I was walking into a
constructed minefield so I decided to up the ante with a few questions
of my
own. Can a Christian feel patriotic toward his native Iraq or toward
her North Korean homeland? Does God draw lines in the sand based on
geopolitics, or on American interests? Bottom line, would God drive a
Chevy or
a Hyundai?”

“I have long
felt that one of the main reasons that so many communist nations failed
because they early on targeted the faith of the religious. Had they
the outward signs of the faith and gradually, imperceptibly, morphed it
their ends, they could have gained the support of the large number of
believers who would have begun to see the work of the politburo as
with that of God. Only the intellectually vigorous would remain in
and they could easily be disposed of openly and with the blessing of
the majority
who would view them as criminals.”
through persecution, communist dictators created a religious vacuum
ultimately became a fatal flaw. Despites its storied attempts to foist
atheistic patriotism on the people, the Soviet Union was unable to sustain itself and its residents clamored for the exit when the
Iron Curtain fell. Had the USSR wrapped the same authoritarian aims in the gradually modified religion of Mother Russia, it might have lasted. But in the absence of a faith, the secular state was doomed.”
“In contrast, those nations that have embraced the symbols of religion, carefully choosing only  those elements that support their aims, opportunistic thugs become saints, and those who question them are viewed by the majority as both unpatriotic and unholy. Kamikaze pilots turn their planes into guided missiles  t the bequest of a divine Emperor, and terrorists are convinced to detonate themselves in the name of Allah.”
How would you answer the questions that Michael poses in his opening paragraph?

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