Yesterday I saw an article about Trump calling Democrats not clapping for him during the State of the Union address as treasonous. I also saw an article about Trump wanting a military parade down Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, DC.
Just citing these two articles probably evokes highly emotional reactions. I’m willing to guess that you either think that Trump was kidding about the treason comment and that he is just showing support for the military and this is a way to honor them, or you think that this is moving us in a direction this country hasn’t seen in a long time – towards tyranny – with Trump seeing himself as a type of emperor.
There doesn’t seem to be much room for other reactions.
Regardless of what is true and what direction we are heading as a nation, I think it highlights something important – This is an unprecedented Administration in recent history. One that has succeeded at dividing an already divided nation even further than anyone thought was possible. In many respects though it is not something completely new – we just haven’t seen it in our lifetime. Harken back to the 1800’s and you might see some similarities. Names like John Adams, Andrew Jackson, and several forgotten Republican administrations in the late 1800’s had similar characteristics that we won’t address here.
The “treasonous” statement in particular is interesting to me. The constitution defines treason very narrowly, but that’s not what I want to point out. Rather, I’d like to take a look something else – Is a nation equivalent to its leader? Is a nation personified in its leader? Does loyalty to a leader constitute loyalty to a nation? And what does that even mean? What is loyalty?
There have been several articles that state that Trump has asked people if they are loyal to him, or who they voted for. Forget about if that is legal or even a smart thing to do for a moment.
What if that question were asked of you? What if it were asked of you by any president, put Trump aside for a moment. Pick a president you really liked. What if they asked you to swear your loyalty to them. Would you? Would you swear allegiance to a leader? Would you see that as being equal as swearing allegiance to your nation?
If you are Christian, how do you square your Christianity to swearing allegiance or your loyalty to a human being? If you would be willing to do that, I wonder how you see Scripture’s view of allegiance.
It’s not fair for me to ask these questions without answering them myself.
My loyalty is to Jesus. My allegiance is to God. Nothing can share that allegiance. It is my hope that America never gets to a point where loyalty oaths are demanded of its citizens. Should we ever come to that, we’ll be in a grave situation. And I will not comply.