Sunday, July 06, 2008

Charity, yes. Patriotism? I don't think so.

This line jumped out at me while reading Gail Kerr's column in this morning's Tennessean titled "Selfless Acts Inspire New Concepts of Patriotism". She lists several folks who have obviously gone above and beyond but this one....

"There's the Catholic priest who comes to the aid of immigrants, no matter their legal status. "
I'll have to agree this is a new concept of patriotism to me. I'll grant you it's an act of charity to be sure. And I'll grant you this priest is obviously following the call of a higher authority to care for the needy and love. But if patriotism is still defined as "love for or devotion to one's country" I don't see how it is an act of patriotism to enable the breaking of one's country's laws.

1 comment:

N.S. Allen said...

I don't know; I think that such an act could be highly patriotic. (And I say this as someone who is of wavering and generally frustrated views about the illegal immigration issue.)

Patriotism, after all, isn't a list of certain, prescribed acts. It's an attitude and an emotion, not a ritual.

So, if the priest in question earnestly feels that his charity reflects well on his nation and is what his duty to his country requires of him, just as much as his religion, how is that not patriotic?

It may be mistaken, disagreeable, bad policy, legally questionable, and even wrong, but the sentiment at the heart of it could still very well be love of country.

And, in that case, the charity in question would also be patriotism, however much one may wish it were expressed in a different way.