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                              Patriotism and Christianity  

                                                                                                          Earth Manifesto Insights

                                                                                                              Dr. Tiffany B. Twain  

                                                                                                             October 2005

Mark Twain observed in his Notebook:

"A man can be a Christian OR a patriot, but he can't legally be a Christian AND a patriot --- except in the usual way:  one of the two with the mouth, the other with the heart.  The spirit of Christianity proclaims the brotherhood of the race and the meaning of that strong word has not been left to guesswork, but made tremendously definite -- the Christian must forgive his brother man all crimes he can imagine and commit, and all insults he can conceive and utter -- forgive these injuries how many times? -- seventy times seven -- another way of saying there shall be no limit to this forgiveness.  That is the spirit and the law of Christianity.”

“Well, patriotism has its laws.  And it also is a perfectly definite one -- there are not vaguenesses about it.  It commands that the brother over the border shall be sharply watched and brought to book every time he does us a hurt or offends us with an insult.  Word it as softly as you please, the spirit of patriotism is the spirit of the dog and wolf.  The moment there is a misunderstanding about a boundary line or a hamper of fish or some other squalid matter, see patriotism rise, and hear him split the universe with is war-whoop.  The spirit of patriotism being in its nature jealous and selfish, it is just in man's line -- it comes natural to him -- he can live up to all its requirements to the letter;  but the spirit of Christianity is not in its entirety possible to him.”

“The prayers concealed in what I have been saying is, not that patriotism should cease and not that the talk about universal brotherhood should cease, but that the incongruous firm be dissolved and each limb of it be required to transact business by itself, for the future."

These words are a cogent argument for supporting a strong separation between the Church and the State!

Ambrose Bierce, in The Devil's Dictionary provides this definition: "A hypocrite is one who, preferring virtues that he does not respect, secures the advantage of seeming to be what he despises."

"Be careless in you dress if you must, but keep a tidy soul."

                                                             --- Mark Twain, Following the Equator          

No matter how predisposed people are to conservatism or how fervently committed they are to trusting leaders that claim to represent God and righteousness, the moral truth becomes ever-more starkly clear.  Neoconservatism is corrupt and immoral;  it is an extreme right-wing doctrine much more akin to political fascism than to Constitutional democracy.  We are forced to conclude that true patriotism is found in questioning amoral authority, and in opposing the abuses of power that characterize neoconservative ideologies!

                                                    --- Dr. Tiffany Twain