Celestial Lands The Religious Crossroads of Politics, Power, and Theology

Investigating Liberals for being Anti-American?

On the Sunday nearest 4th of July this year, I felt called to preach a sermon entitled “Being a Liberal Patriot”, on what I mean when I call myself a Liberal. I do not usually talk about my sermons on the Celestial Lands Blog, because the blog is my pre-writing for my sermons, not the outlet for my sermons.

But as I listened to the above interview on Hardball this evening, I could not help but think of the sermon, and of the experiences that went into writing it. I could not help but think of the times that I have had my “patriotism” questioned because I was at a demonstration for the equality of marriage, or had my right to be an American questioned because I am a liberal.

After a careful review of the rules and regulations around how I can participate in the political process, I wrote the following commentary on the Facebook page of Rep. Michelle Bachmann, of the 6th District of Minnesota.

Congresswoman Bachmann,

I am an Eagle Scout, the child of a Vietnam Veteran, the Grandchild of a WWII Veteran, and the Great-Grandchild of a Congressional Medal of Honor winning Veteran of WWI.

At eighteen, I joined the U.S. Army myself, and served my country with honor and distinction in Latin America as a part of the War on Drugs, and as a Peacekeeper in Bosnia y Herzegovina.

I have lost friends in the current military conflicts.

I am a Liberal. I am more liberal than Barrack Obama. I am called by my faith to be a liberal. I am inspired by Jesus of Nazareth to my liberalism. This nation was founded by Liberals. My grandfather fought in WWII against a nation that said things that your comments tonight on Hardball reminded me of.

I took an oath to “support and defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

In light of that oath, my wife and I made a donation to your opponent’s campaign.


Those of us who are liberals have made many errors over the past several decades, but one of the errors that concerns me the most is how we have seemingly ceded “the flag” to those who consider themselves conservative. This has allowed them to tag us with the label “un-American” and “anti-American”.

But more than this, it has allowed those same individuals to reduce Patriotism to following a particular party line, to shallow displays such as wearing a flag pin or creating television news sets covered in flags, or to celebrating a blind provincialism and nationalism that is far more reminiscent of fascism than it is of democracy.

I have worried about ceding the ground of patriotism, but I am now more concerned that we are moving into much more dangerous territory. When we begin to see national level politicians called “un-American” and “Traitor” just because they are (not all that Liberal) Democrats, when we begin to have politicians calling for investigations (by the press or otherwise) of other politicians for being “anti-American”; when candidates for high office claim that there are parts of this nation that love America and parts that hate America (implying that those parts can be seen on the Red/Blue maps of the election season); we begin to see the true danger we Liberals court when we do not stand up for what real patriotism means.

It does not make one a patriot just to wear a flag pin… the symbol only has meaning when you understand the complex and amazing history, the good and the bad, that is at the core of the American Experiment.

It does not make one a patriot to call your political opponents anti-American… a patriot would engage in the debate of the issues that is at the core of a functioning Democracy without such demagoguery.

It does not make one a patriot to waive a flag and point towards enemies… in our pluralistic nation it takes a patriot to seek to understand those you disagree with, and invite them to understand you.

It does not make one a patriot to say one supports the troops… that takes committing oneself to service beyond your own desires and needs, and that can happen in the Peace Core, in the streets of Chicago, and in the line of a soup kitchen just as well as in the Armed Forces of our nation.

We Liberals need to stand up and remind this nation that true Patriotism is not found in a slogan, and it is certainly not found in calling for investigations of who is “Anti-American”… True patriotism is found in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution…

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Yours in Faith,


10 Thoughts on “Investigating Liberals for being Anti-American?

  1. Patrick McLaughlin on Saturday October 18, 2008 at 0:32 +0000 said:


    My father helped design Minutemen (the ones in silos, not the dipshi*ts on the border). My grandfather flew first for the Canadians–before the US joined the war–and then for the US, over Germany. I can trace back to those who fought in the Revolutionary War for the cause of liberty.

    I listened to Michelle Bachmann’s remarks and was appalled. Those are the kinds of remarks that were made in Germany about people like Pastor Niemöller, or in Mussolini’s Italy, or Franco’s Spain. Those are the kinds of profoundly shameful and false claims made by Sen. McCarthy.

    It’s a fraudulent patriotism that defines opposition of any kind as being a traitor, an enemy of the nation.

    Michelle Bachmann is an embarrassment to the House of Representatives and to the country, and I applaud your action in defense of the Constitution of the United States, David. I’ve taken the same one.

  2. Amen!

    I saw that interview last night too and it made me sick to my stomach. I think I may follow suit and make a donation to her opponent’s campaign as well.


  3. Apparently, we’re not the only ones…


  4. I spent many years left of liberal and can tell you when you get that far left on the spectrum plenty feel America is the world’s biggest problem if not just plain hate it.

    One test for me is one’s stand on ROTC on campus. If you’re opposed to that, then I think you need to reflect on why.

  5. Powerful words David, thank you for posting. I am proud to be an American where there are voices such as yours.

    Comment to Bill: I do not follow you regarding one’s stand on ROTC on campus and this post. Answers to polarity questions always need to swing towards balance when they swing too far to one side or the other there are major problems in the system. Whether one is heavily pro or con to ROTC on campuses is a polarity question. It is not in and of itself a pro or anti-American stance.

  6. A voice of reason…

  7. I was telling Sandy (my wife) tonight… I now feel emotionally invested in this race in Minnesota…

    From Real Clear Politics, Dated October 17th…

    Minnesota 06

    The DCCC is out with another poll showing Republican Michele Bachmann well under 50%. The Grove Insight poll, conducted 10/10-12, surveyed 400 likely voters for a margin of error of +/- 4.9%. Bachmann and former state Transportation Commissioner Elwyn Tinklenberg were tested.

    General Election Matchup

  8. “Since Congresswoman Michele Bachmann appeared on MSNBC’s Hardball earlier tonight, there’s been a deluge of support unlike anything we have seen… Our phones haven’t stopped ringing. Many have called in to say they’re sorry they can only send money and wish they could be here to help…

    …24 hours ago, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann announced that all those who disagree with her are “Anti-American.” Since then, the outpouring of support for my campaign has been extraordinary. Since Congresswoman Bachmann’s outrageous remarks, my campaign has raised $438,346.57, and we’re working to reach $500,000 by 5 p.m. today.”


    Last I saw they were close to half a million.

  9. There have been multiple comments to this article here at Celestial Lands that I have not approved, and I thought I should explain why. There are several reasons behind this decision.

    Celestial Lands is a blog and journal of Liberal Faith, with the occasional (liberal) political musing. While I am willing to engage with those who are respectful, I will not post diatribes of conservative thought on this liberal blog. I believe freedom of speech in this country allows people to form their own blogs or publications, it does not guarantee you are allowed to post on Celestial Lands.

    Our purpose here is to explore Liberal thought, prophetic witness, and theology.

    In response to the above article, I received some very hate filled post-submissions. Some of them called me a traitor, some called me a socialist, others swore that I was lying in my assertion that the founders of this nation were liberals. At least two claimed that anyone who was a liberal could not be a Christian. One in particular tried to post a rather graphic description of partial-birth abortion (something I oppose, but that is besides the point).

    What has struck me about the post-submissions that I rejected (and will continue to reject) is how fully they highlighted the point in my article about the hatred and fear that rests at the heart of much of the conservative movement in America.

  10. After another rather hateful posting, I will add one thing to my previous response…

    Hate-filled speech and ideation is not limited simply to conservatives, but it is found among liberals as well. There are those on either end of the political spectrum who have become so polarized that they can not see those who disagree with them as having “inherent worth and dignity”.

    Be it conservatives who call others “anti-american” or liberals who call conservatives “murderers”… hatred and divisiveness by unthinking ideologues transcends any particular set of ideas… It is a way of thinking, of behaving, rather an a particular ideology…

    It is the political equivalent of fundamentalism, which is the opposite of true liberalism.

    Yours in Faith,


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