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OldGreyEagle

God OR Country ?

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This is an offshoot from the Pledge of Allegiance Thread and I am not sure where I want it to go, but I wanted to make a comment and pose a quesiton that didnt quite fit in with the discussion there. The quesiton is, what is your opinion about duty to God and Country and which is higher?

 

One of the saddest events I can recalling reading about war, and I dont even remember if it was WWI or WWII, but on the Christmas Truce, the English could hear the Germans singing "Oh Tannebaum" while they sang "Oh Christmas Tree". This may not have actually happened, it may just be a fable, but it could have happeend. The quesiton is, what is more important, duty to God or Country?

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1) According to the Pledge of Allegiance, God (one nation under God).

 

2) For most devout faithful, God.

 

3) For those who are not quite sure, the country is tangible, God is intangible so it may be a toss up or the scales may be slightly tipped toward country.

 

4) For those who believe man created God (and thus God is what man wants) and the country may or may not be "popular", the vote goes to God.

 

5) For those who believe "God blessed America" the two are inseparable, so how about a tie.

 

6) For atheists, country (there is no God).

 

7) For those who see their country as an ideal (separate from the "government", "military", "police", "citizens", etc.) and God as the one who caused the tornado, took their sick child, etc.; the country hands-down.

 

For myself, I lean more toward #4. The country (or should I say government) sometimes does things I do not like, Iran-Contra, Bay of Pigs, Jim Crow laws, etc. and my God is an ideal as I think, God wins hands down.

 

Seriously, your argument reminds me of the how many angels can dance on the head of a pin argument.

 

Now, why does the double bar script Bill keep appearing at random spots on this web page? (Patrol Leader Bill?)

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Acco says:

 

Now, why does the double bar script Bill keep appearing at random spots on this web page? (Patrol Leader Bill?)

 

You don't know about Green Bar Bill? That logo is supposed to be in the bar that runs down the right side of every "page" on this site, on the bottom under the heading "Site Dedication." There you can find a link that will lead you to a biography of the late William Hillcourt, "Green Bar Bill."

 

But I know what you are talking about, because the other day, the Green Bar Bill logo suddenly appeared in the middle of someone's post. It has not happened again, though.

 

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I think we tend to rationalize around any conflicts between Duty to God and Duty to Country, so that there's no reason to choose which one is "higher." Your sad story from WWI or II, whether fact or fable, may be an example of that. Both groups of men were acknowledging the same God (ok, they were singing to a tree, but they were in the Christmas spirit), the God that commanded "Thou shalt not kill." And yet, as soon as the truce was over, they were ready to kill each other. Were they placing duty to country over duty to God? In all likelihood, they saw no conflict between the two; each side in a war tends to believe God is on their side, and therefore by defending their country they are performing their duty to God at the same time.

 

It would be interesting, OGE or anyone else, if you could come up with an actual example of where duty to country conflicts with duty to God, that cannot be so easily rationalized by saying "God is on our side." Only if such a conflict exists would it be necessary to say which duty is "higher" under those circumstances.

 

Actually I can think of a possible example, for some people. It involves an action that has been declared legal, but that many believe is contrary to the laws of God. (It has nothing to do with gays.) I'm not even going to mention the subject because it creates trouble wherever it goes.

 

So I might just rephrase my question in this way; is there any subject that not only creates a conflict, but that you believe actually justifies breaking the laws of your country, because you think God commands you to?

 

OGE, I hope I have not sent your topic off into the wild blue yonder.

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For me the conflict would come if I had to do something for my country that was directly against God's law. Example, I am married. If I was told to have sex with a women other than my wife for my country, that would be in direct conflict with my faith.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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I can think of a few examples for NJCubScouter, but not that exist yet in our country. In communist countries, and some other ones, the practice of religion (or certain religions) is outlawed. For generations people in those countries have been imprisoned, beaten and killed for practicing their religion. If such became a reality in the US, I expect to be crowding a jail cell or cemetery somewhere.

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The Christmas Truce is a true story but the song was Silent Night. The Germans sang one verse in German and the English troops sang the second one in English. After the verse was over both countries troops came out of the trenchs and shared with each other what they had received. This happened on Christmas eve at midnight in the First year in WWI. The NExt day after Christmas was over the fighting resumed and after high command on both sides found out about it both units were punished.

 

As for choosing God over Country I think the best example would be the Confessing Church in Nazi Germany. They were told to quit preaching from the Old Testament because it was Jewish and to speak on topics aproved by the local governemnt. One Man Dietrich Bohnhoffer who wrote "The Cost of Discipleship" went back to German from the U.S. where he had been living to lead this church and to passively resist the Nazi oppression of the Christian Church. He was killed by the Nazi's shortly before the war.

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Duty to God should come before country. Country (government) is made up by humans who aren't always right, in fact many seem to have any morals at all. Everyone has to live with their God and decisions about God forever. Putting duty to country first can sometimes be a very dangerous thing. Duty to country should never compromise one's duty to God.

 

 

 

 

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Acco,

 

you said you were #4 on your list For those who believe man created God

 

I'm confused because you had earlier posted that you were a Christian - how do you reconcile this?

 

my answer is most definately God first, Family second and Country thrid.

 

Quixote(This message has been edited by Quixote)

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Quixote, I see "double bar Bill" appeared in your post! It must be a good sign.

 

My post was somewhat tongue in cheek. I stated that I "lean" more toward option #4. I consider myself a Christian (belief in Christ) but like many I have my times of doubt. My "man created God in his image" type statement was meant to convey that some view God as an ideal, some view country as an ideal. Ideals usually trump reality so depending on ones view of God and country as ideals or practical would determine which comes "first." For example, sctmom views country as something tangible (the present Government) and not as an ideal so her(?) duty to God naturally comes first.

 

As for Ed, if my country demanded that I had to have sex with another woman other than my wife, well, sometimes one just has to make sacrifices for one's country. (Before I get to many flames, I'm joking everyone.)

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If memory serves me correctly, in the time when the words "under God" were added to the Pledge, this country was not far removed from victory in war, and our President was Eisenhower. The addition of the words was originated by the Knights of Columbus, I believe, but the follow-up was by the leadership, Executive and Legislative, of a nation very thankful for having succeeded in their efforts during the war. Remember that during that time, the predominant religions of the country were Christian or Jewish, and the words were added, I think, in as generic fashion as was understood in that day, and as a way of recognizing that a diety, undefined officially but known to all of that day, had played a great part in guiding the nation to the successful conclusion of the war.

 

That being the case, it has always been my understanding (by way of my upbringing and childhood), that God (the one of your choice) had played his part, that he had guided a grateful nation to victory, and that by doing our "duty to country", we were, in fact, doing our "duty to him (God of choice)". Acting and behaving in a fashion that followed his guidance, whether doing duty to country or going to church, no matter the religion, he was satisfied with us. Thus, the two have, for me, been inseparable and equal. My faith in my God (even though for years not practiced by regular church attendance) is the same as my faith in my country. The two exist side by side and always will. And even though the fervently religious might argue that He holds the "power" over us, and therefore reigns supreme over us, I would argue that He's all too happy to see us doing our duty to country as our duty to him.

 

Today, as the variety of religion has advanced many fold over that of the late 40's and early 50's here, I would still argue that the words "under God" can be read as "under your God"...whatever God or Gods that might be. Ultimately, if there is, indeed, a God above, I believe that He or She is one, no matter that multitude of names we humans give to Him/Her. The end for all of us will be at the same gates, whether Pearly or not, and that diety will be waiting. Our many eyes on this planet see in many colors and ways. And my vision of my God is certainly not the same as that of the other gazillion people that inhabit the planet with me. That He/She knows. And that He/She accepts and expects. Thus, for me it is a wonder that the words "under God" have stirred such contraversy. For in each of our visions of God, the words "under God" could certainly be read as "under My God, and under Your God, too".

 

If only we made the effort to see it that way...

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jmcquillan, I think that the impetus for the change in the Pledge in 1954 was not thanksgiving for our victories in 1945, but as a response to the Cold War. The proponents wanted the U.S. to distinguish itself from the "Godless Commies." At least that is what I have gleaned from the articles I have seen about the recent court decision and the history of the change to the Pledge. I was not around at the time so I cannot personally attest one way or the other.

 

As for your second paragraph, I basically agree, that's why I was asking for examples of where duty to country and duty to God might be in conflict. The way I define each "duty" for myself, there is very little conflict between the two, but I know others probably define one or both of them differently.

 

As for your third paragraph, you express "wonder" that there is any controversy over the words "under God" because those words are so generic, but you seem to be forgetting about the atheists, and I am not just talking about those who don't have any belief one way or the other (which starts to blend into agnosticism), but about those who affirmatively believe in the non-existence of any God, gods, deity or higher power of any kind. "Under God" does not work for them, and the issue in the current case is whether these words therefore violate the constitution when they are included in a daily government-sponsored recitation in a public school classroom.

 

(But I think we have strayed from OGE's topic; there is another folder, actually at least 2, for the Pledge stuff.)

 

 

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I'm with Quixote on this one.

 

God first, family second, country third.

 

Thanks for the interesting thread OGE. I had never thought about this before. More often I am asked where I place family and work.

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Reminds me of the old line about Vince Lombardi. The three most important things in his life were God, Country and the Green Bay Packers -- but not necessarily in that order!

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