Recently, I had the pleasure of reading TWWK’s post “For God or Country? Violet Evergarden and Divided Allegiance.” It was a very good post meditating on Violet Evergarden’s relationship to her country and also about the relationship between piety and patriotism. However, “For God or Country?” is a question which one should never have to ask. In that regard, it’s like the question “Liberty or Equality?” In these times of egalitarian extremism, we might be tempted to say “Liberty!” But, the fact of the matter is one cannot throw out either liberty or equality without the end result being tyranny. A society needs the proper balance of these two things to thrive: let’s say 70% liberty and 30% equality–if one can so quantify the two ideas!
In regard to God and country, the problem is not one of balance but of order, as TWWK avers: “…I understood the idea that my allegiance to God trumps all other allegiances, meaning I could still be loyal to my country, still treasure it, but not above all, not above God.” This is a very satisfactory answer and recalls the fact that some people reverse the order. America is such a great country that one does find Americans who seem to worship–worship in the archaic sense of to praise and to serve–their country more than God. This kind of patriotism exists as a vice rather than a virtue: love of God ought to come before love of country.