How many great American heroes can you name? The list is probably endless. We have required classes in school to learn about American heroes. It’s a subject called History.
We even have heroes that are given special days of commemoration,
- Martin Luther King, which in the South is combined with Robert E. Lee’s birthday;
- George Washington and Abraham Lincoln – though their commemorations have been combined into an All Presidents’ Day, the official federal name is Washington’s Birthday;
- Memorial Day — originally for the Union war dead in the War between the States, but now for all war dead;
- Confederate Memorial Day, also known as Confederate Decoration Day in Tennessee and Confederate Heroes Day in Texas, officially recognized in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas;
- Fourth of July – commemorates the Revolutionary War and the signers of the Declaration of Independence;
- Labor Day – celebrating the American workers as a heroes;
- Columbus Day – celebrating an Italian working for the Spanish government who discovered an island that has never been a part of the United States;
- Veterans Day – honors the war survivors and any other former servicemen as heroes; and
- Thanksgiving – which we honor the Pilgrim Fathers and the Indians.
Is it not telling that we call these commemorations “holidays” – which of course is just a contraction of “holy days”? And on these days we remember those we have set apart as special and venerate them.
In contrast, in predominately Protestant America we still give Jesus two days, his birthday and his re-birthday, though Jesus has to share one with Santa – who gets as much air time and isn’t a commemoration of the real St. Nicholas, which is on December 6. The other He shares with a bunny.
And think about when the flag passes by in a parade. The people carrying it wear special uniforms. Most men in the crowd remove their hats and place them over their hearts and those who keep them on salute, and some shed tears of pride. Quite an emotional moment when we glory in Old Glory and all that it represents.
When people put on special uniforms and carry the cross, many of the same crowd – depending on how they have been theologically programmed – scoff and call that old, dead religion. No one complains about old, dead patriotism.
There is nothing wrong with honoring civic heroes. There is nothing wrong with honoring veterans. There is nothing particularly biblical to support this, but I don’t think God minds as long as we have it in biblical perspective.
One day you will no longer be an American citizen. Nations rise and nations fall, but from the moment you fall asleep in the Lord, you are no longer an American and will never be one again.
The heavenly citizenship you took when you took on Christ you have forever. It is your permanent citizenship. It is your true allegiance. When you say the Creed, that is your true pledge of allegiance. If you know the pledge to the flag better than you know the Creed, then you know your fading temporary citizenship better than you know your heavenly citizenship.
If you know the heroes of your country better than you know the heroes of your faith, what does that say about where you priorities lie and where your learning has gone astray? What does the fact that we now almost exclusively celebrate civic holidays – holy days – rather than Christian holy days say about us?