If you were to ask someone to define American culture, it is likely that at least one of them would call it a melting pot. It’s a popular image: a huge, multiracial, multi-ethnic blend of cultures baked into one whole country. Other thoughts that may come to mind include apple pie, or even baseball. This kind of timeless imagery has been ingrained into our cultural subconscious since the days of vintage advertising.

These, of course, are only surface-level observations that even a first-time visitor would pick up. What is currently brewing in America, culturally speaking, is something deeper and far more sinister. A new movement is leading many to rethink, argue about, and even come to blows over what it means to be an American patriot.

Competing Calls To Action

Citizens have been splintered into groups, each pulling at the end of a rope in a tug-of-war. Patriotism as division versus patriotism as unity. Free speech versus filtered speech. The kneelers versus the standers. Everyone is attempting to come up with an answer to the never-ending string of conflicts we now face.

Some choose to present their arguments through emotional pleas and manipulation. They would have you believe that having respect for national symbols of unity, such as our flag, is a form of idolatry or blind nationalism. The former can be used against many on the right, but especially against Christians who also consider themselves standers.

The problem with this argument is that it confuses reverence for worship. Respect for the flag is translated, either willfully or ignorantly, as blind obedience, which is anathema.

Like Symbols, Words Matter

Carefully chosen words can be some of the greatest weapons in the war of ideas that we now face. No true Christian wants to be accused of being idolatrous, nor does any true patriot want to be been seen as a blind follower. So how do we preserve our ideals in the face of such a challenge?

First, we must remember that words, like symbols, have meaning. Knowing the difference between two words can make a huge difference in how you understand someone else’s speech. It may even lead to the realization that you are being manipulated into guilt or submission.

In order to challenge untruths, you must directly challenge the language that is being used against you. In the present age, words have been abused for the benefit of the insecure, dishonest and tyrannical. Thankfully, a mastery of language is also the greatest sword a pro-unity American could ever wield.