Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, IL, and a Senior Editor of Touchstone Magazine.
This article, posted on OrthodoxyToday.org in June of 2005 is a short, but powerful statement of why Christians, particularly Orthodox Christians, must not weasel out of their obligations to the country, society and culture they live in.
Inasmuch as Christ our Lord obliges all Christians to
“render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” (Matt. 22:21),
I suppose that few of us seriously doubt our common moral duty to take part in the civic life of our nation, including its politics. Even those who fail to notice St. Paul’s contention that this obligation is imposed
“for conscience’ sake”(Romans 13:5)
probably live as good citizens, rendering
“taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor” (Roman 13:7).
Inspired by the Epistle to Diognetus to think that
“Christians are in the world what the soul is in the body,”
most of us vote, pay taxes, serve on school boards, and organize and contribute to endeavors philanthropic. Some even run for and serve in elected public office. More significantly, the flag of this nation has draped the caskets of Christians slain in her patriotic service.
It is my own persuasion that active patriotism is not optional, and merely sentimental patriotism is no substitute.
I believe that we Christians must not separate our Christian faith from our moral responsibilities to this country.