Thoughtful people cannot fail to be impressed with the exhibition of so-called patriotism upon every occurrence of actual or even prospective war. If the invasion of one's country is threatened, its rights and dignity dishonored, or even a trivial international issue is precipitated, there is an immediate manifestation of a practically universal impulse, which is sometimes blind and unthinking, sometimes thoughtful, self-forgetful, and heroic.

The individual may know relatively nothing of the facts, or of the questions at issue, and the weightiest considerations may demand his undisturbed devotion to his customary duties; nevertheless, not only is all regard for family and financial interests set aside by unnumbered men, but they face the certainty of a hard life, exhausting exhausting labor, poor and insufficient food, sickness and suffering, together with the possibility if not likelihood of wounds or sudden death, without hesitation and without reserve! All their lives they have been guarding against the things they now seem to welcome, and the power of this impulse to dominate mortals is one of the most significant facts of human history.

Patriotism is universally understood to mean love of country, and one would logically and consistently expect, therefore, that a patriot would exhibit the spirit of resistance to every enemy of the public weal, every influence that is known to be inimical to the general welfare and progress of the people. Indeed, a little thought makes it clear that the true patriot is one who is ready to sacrifice and suffer that the liberty and welfare of his family, his friends, and his countrymen may be conserved. In a word, he is a Christian idealist. He recognizes the brotherhood of man; no state or national boundaries can limit the unselfishness of his interest. In the event of war, he feels no less compassionate toward the men in the enemy's trenches than toward the comrades at his side. Morever he is no less alert to the presence or threatened approach of an impersonal enemy, the rule of injustice or greed, of appetite or passion, of caste or superstition, than he is to the approach of an invading army.

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Lecture in The Mother Church
May 23, 1914

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