Beware of Patriotic Pride

A patriot is wise when he mixes his patriotism with regard for all mankind and with self-searching introspection. But when he overlooks the mistakes of the country for which he holds his devotion, he is an unwise and a dangerous patriot. America is a great nation and  hopefully always will be. Amid all the fervor of 9/11, I can think of no more patriotic duty than to contemplate our national mistakes and how we can correct them.

Book of Mormon prophecy foretells that God would
raise up a mighty nation among the aGentiles, yea, even upon the face of this land [the American continent]; and by them shall our seed [Native Americans] be bscattered.
That nation became, to some extent, a blessing to the world. From this nation, God would
 do a amarvelous work among the bGentiles, which shall be of great cworth unto our seed; wherefore, it is likened unto their being nourished by the dGentiles and being carried in their arms and upon their shoulders.
But that same nation would also be plagued with war and intrigue.
for they shall bwar among themselves, and the sword of their cown hands shall fall upon their own heads, and they shall be drunken with their own blood. And every anation which shall war against thee, O house of Israel, shall be turned one against another, and they shall bfall into the pit which they digged to ensnare the people of the Lord.
That nation is the United States of America.

On the eve of America's bi-centennial in 1976, LDS Church president Spencer W Kimball pointed out the greatness of America, but he also bemoaned America's flaws.
We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel—ships, planes, missiles, fortifications—and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened, we become antienemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching:

“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:44–45.)
Shortly after 9/11, the US military entered Afghanistan. We are still there. A few months later, we attacked Iraq. We still occupy that country. Since then we have committed acts of war in and against several additional countries. Spencer W. Kimball reminded us
We forget that if we are righteous the Lord will either not suffer our enemies to come upon us—and this is the special promise to the inhabitants of the land of the Americas (see 2 Ne. 1:7)—or he will fight our battles for us.
Rather than thinking of ourselves as the world's only superpower and the greatest nation on earth, America needs introspection. Ten years later, after the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, we seem not to have introspected or learned much. I remember hearing President George W Bush's speech that day ten years ago, and it made me proud to be an American, because it seemed, for a time, that we were becoming spiritually stronger. But it didn't last. On that fateful day, the French newspaper le Monde declared, "Today, we're all Americans". Not anymore. Where did those fleeting days go?

We're still trying to fight all of our own battles rather than humbling ourselves before God. Our patriotic pride seems to have taught us nothing.


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