Dear Editor,

After reading the well-written, thoughtful, and lengthy Letter to the Editor from Mr. High in last week’s Democrat, I felt the need to respond.

Some of my ancestors also came to this country to escape religious persecution. They chose to fight in the American Revolution in order to protect the freedom and opportunity they found in this country. The American Revolution was not all about “taxation without representation.” It was also about rights:  life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or what Thomas Jefferson called “unalienable rights,” endowed by the Creator, he said.

I certainly respect the right of others to express their opinions. (The U.S. Constitution guarantees that right). I respect the right of free exercise of religion of one’s choice. (The U.S. Constitution also guarantees that right). Furthermore, I am thankful for the common defense of this country and the men and women who have provided and continue to provide that defense. (Common defense: another provision of the U.S. Constitution).

What I don’t understand is why there has to be a conflict between allegiance to one’s country and belief in the Kingdom of God? I wonder if perhaps there is a problem distinguishing between the teachings of man and biblical teachings. I am saddened to think that anyone who enjoys the rights under the U.S. Constitution would not be willing to declare their loyalty to this country. I do not believe allegiance to the United States means unconditional approval of its policies and politicians, but rather a loyalty to the principles on which it was created and a recognition of the privilege of citizenship.

When I fly the U.S. Flag, say the Pledge of Allegiance, and sing the National Anthem, I don’t feel that I’m worshiping anything. I’m just expressing gratitude for living in a country where there is such freedom and opportunity. The Flag is a symbol of the freedom of the United States, the same country that guarantees the rights of people of all races, religions and cultures.

Mr. High, I respect your right to believe as you choose. As for me and my house, we will fly the U.S. Flag, say the Pledge of Allegiance, sing the National Anthem, be grateful for the men and women who have fought and are fighting to defend our freedom, and thank God every day that we were born in the United States of America.

Joanne Aylward

Arbela, MO