South Beach, Miami FL

Ah Florida. I love its sunshine, its beaches and its sinfully great weather; and the fact that my sensibilities are continually being assailed forcing me to re-examine my values and live more consistently with them.

The Pledge of Allegiance was said in a Florida church I visited recently.  I did not join in.

I attend church to engage and deepen my spiritual connection to God; the spirit of unconditional love and source of creation.

My allegiance to the spirit of love is the core principle of my life. In the place dedicated to God, this is the ONLY allegiance I pledge. Obedience to love is my only template for accessing God’s love, and in God’s house for me, nothing else should be used , symbolically or ritually.

I love my country. I honor its flag.

God loves all creation, even the parts I may view as bad. But he loves all nations, all peoples, all flags the same. And it is as important to honor this when the gathering is homogenous and of one mind, as when it is diverse and thinks differently.

I know the good people of the congregation meant only to promote good citizenship.

But nationalism and God are a dangerous mix. The two are not the same. Cultures are always under pressure to define them that way, and the pages of history are replete with the disastrous results.

It is common in many houses of worship to display the flag on the altar.  This is more benign than saying the Pledge of Allegiance but it symbolically places the country in the same venerated space of worship as God.

My faith is not my country. It is not my country right or wrong.

Allegiance to love is the highest principle of faith. Good citizenship is one of its fruits.