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Opinion: Why Patriotic Church Services are Important


By: Anonymous

In the back of the Hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1985 English edition), three songs stand out because they are only ever considered for inclusion in sacrament meetings once or twice a year (and even less in recent years). These songs are America the BeautifulMy Country Tis’ of Thee, and The Star Spangled Banner, the American “patriotic” songs.

(As an acknowledgment, there is also God Save the King, which has more meaning to Great Britain and it’s commonwealths, and also Hymn number 60 Battle Hymn of the Republic)

Why are these American patriotism songs in the back of the official hymnal of a worldwide church? Indeed, many members of non-American regions of the world have scoffed at their inclusion and even requested their removal.

Should we ever have sacrament service around loyalty to a country?


This is why:

Patriotic church services are not to inject love of country into religion but rather to inject our religion into our love of country. It’s not about that Jesus needs ‘Merica, but that America needs Jesus.

Moroni testified that America “is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve … Jesus Christ.” (Ether 2:12)

From Columbus to the Pilgrims, from the Founding Fathers to Abraham Lincoln, those who built this nation had a driving sense that what they were doing was divinely inspired. They also realized that it went both ways; not only what they were doing was what God wanted them to do, but that gave them as a people the sacred duty to live in complete devotion and loyalty to “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God”.

America was made by God to bring about the restoration of His true religion. George Washington acknowledged that the creation of America was not the ideas of men, but that “Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.” The father of our country believed that the covenant went both ways, that for America to expect “propitious smiles of Heaven” (God’s blessings) we would in turn need to not “[disregard] the eternal rules of order and right” (live Christian lives).

President Gordon B. Hinckley affirmed this. "I marvel at the miracle of America, the land which the God of Heaven long ago declared to be a land choice above all other lands … God bless America, for she is His creation.

I appreciate the annual 4th of July Sunday service which reorients my patriotic zeal towards Jesus Christ. It reminds me that as an American I am under covenant to live devoted to the “Author of liberty”, to ensure that America remains a Christian nation, and that “all success be nobleness, And ev’ry gain divine.” Spiritual patriotic celebrations remind me that my conduct as an American should be synonymous with my conduct as a Christian. My hope is that both voters and politicians will make every decision based on what would make our nation more Godly, and not focusing on our carnal desires.

Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land

Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation!

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!”


Ward Radio News is not affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Church) and does not officially represent the Church. The views expressed by contributors do not necessarily represent the position of Ward Radio News.

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We sing the songs in sacrament meeting around the patriotic holidays but I wouldn't call the service itself patriotic. I don't think I've ever seen the sacrament meeting talks based around it. The songs America the Beautiful and My Country Tis of Thee are both hymns which invoke God that I also think talk about the best aspirations for the U.S. I think other countries should sing their patriotic songs that are hymns as well. I'm not a big Star Spangled Banner fan mainly because it is difficult to sing. The Battle Hymn of the Republic is a historic song as well that I enjoy singing at any time. I remember singing a slightly different version in grade school …

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That is fair. With Independence Day being on the 4th, usually the affiliated Sunday is fast Sunday. It would be interesting to quantify if singing a patriotic song at the beginning of the service results in more patriotic related testimonies being born.

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Read the Declaration Of Independence. I never knew it condemn the Native Indians for being savage and murderous killers. Not much has changed since today

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While Declaration of Independence said this about some Natives the Constitution was written and congress adopted practices of the Native Iroquois in the congressional rules that would distinguish Congress from parliament even today.

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Regarding the hymns, some non-English versions of the hymnal do have patriotic hymns that align with the languages spoken in those countries (for example, Finnish and Italian). Other languages (such as Spanish and Dutch) don't have any patriotic hymns in their books at all.

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My brother served in Australia and said they would paste the Australian national anthem into the back of their hymnals.

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