Friday, November 27, 2015

An intriguing Teddy Roosevelt quote

Recently in the midst of the immigration debate, I saw someone post a quote from Teddy Roosevelt (which I verified via Snopes.com) was actually accurate:

In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin.
 But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American. ...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room but for one flag, the American flag. We have room but for one language here, and that is the English language....and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.

Now this was shared in respect to the Syrian refugee discussion, but I wish nothing to do with that. Suffice it to say that some argued that the refugees should be left out unless they are assimilated, and others said instead that we should treat them equally and accept them for they can't assimilate from a distance.

I found the quote interesting for a different reason:  because it very correctly raises a problem for us Christians, one that we need to beware not to forget:  most people approach America in a religious way, with a viewpoint that is supposed to be reserved for Christ.

The Christian is in an odd place with American politics and patriotism, as I have pointed out before (see here and here for important discussions).  America wants you to pledge allegiance to her, to see the founding fathers as apostles, to view the Constitution as holy writ, to view her laws and constitutional amendments as moral code, and to view questioning her as apostasy. In short:

Because you see, Roosevelt's speech on behalf of America demands the same things of you that God says are His alone to demand.

Honestly, let's read it again with a slight change...doesn't this sound very Biblical?:

[Salvation] is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet a Christian, and nothing but a Christian. There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is a Christian, but something else also, isn't a Christian at all. We have room but for one flag, the cross. We have room but for one language here, and that is the Gospel. And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to Jesus Christ.

God and America demand of you the same thing.

So...which one has received your loyalty?


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