06 November 2013

Uncommon Commentary #375: Paul Revere Didn't Revere Paul

(Saint Paul, that is; see below.)
I'm a US citizen, but I don't celebrate Independence Day.  Does this scandalize you?  If you're a Christian, or if you just have common sense or a good knowledge of history, there's no reason why it ought to do so.
I have both a general reason and a specific reason for my non-commemoration.
The general reason: The New Testament and the Church Fathers tell us (as I explained in more detail in UC #319) that we are only sojourners in this world, and that our true home lies in Heaven; accordingly, I consider myself to be not an "American" but a subject of the Kingdom of God who happens to have spent his earthly exile thus far in a country called the United States of America.  (I'm loyal to my native land; I'm just not in love with it.)
The specific reason: To commemorate the US Declaration of Independence is not only to be patriotic but also to implicitly endorse the colonial rebellion, which was:
  1. Un-Christian.  Romans 13:2 tells us that anyone who rebels against authority rebels against what God has established, and makes himself liable to damnation.  How does one reconcile political revolution with a verse like that?  (Also see 1 Peter 2:13-14.)
  2. Hypocritical.  I grew up believing Revolution ideology like my earthly countrymen, but, when I conducted a serious, objective study of US history, I learned that the insurgents were not "patriots" resisting foreign "tyranny"; they were British colonists guilty not only of insurrection against governance by their own people, but even of soliciting the intervention of powers such as France and Spain, which had been engaged in hostilities versus Great Britain a decade-and-a-half earlier.  Should anyone do the same to us, we'd call their actions treason, not patriotism.
  3. Ultimately Pointless.  Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and a host of smaller polities like Barbados all have the same freedoms that we do, yet not one of them made a unilateral declaration of independence and conducted military campaigns versus the home country.  Moreover: What's so wonderful about independence anyway?  The USA is bankrupt in terms of both morals and money; could our land really be governed any worse if it had never cast off royal rule?
  4. Detrimental to Non-"Patriots".  The revolt by (some of) the colonists was the occasion of a war that evidently did not need to be fought (see the preceding paragraph); in countries that remained loyal to Great Britain, slavery was abolished in the 1830's, whereas, in this country, emancipation would not take place for another three decades; the Crown had done what it could to protect the American Indians from the rapacity and genocidal intent of many of its country's settlers—in fact, that was a rarely-mentioned cause of the Revolution—and once the colonies became "states", that restraining influence disappeared; and Loyalists, whose estates would be confiscated, and large numbers of whom would soon be forced to emigrate, obviously derived no benefit either.
I could have augmented the relevance of this posting my making it on the Fourth of July, but, as indicated above, I used to have the same beliefs that are still held by those who don't realize the detriments of excessively esteeming the USA; the purpose of this uncommon commentary is not to antagonize my (earthly) countrymen but to tell them how much happier they (and I) would be if they would just stop taking our nationality so seriously.