Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Allegiance seems misunderstood

Sorry that it's been over a year since my last blog post. I plan to get back into it starting now.

Last week I made a post on my band's Facebook site to spread the word about a startup orphanage I had visited during my last stay in Ethiopia. Surprisingly, that post caused some controversy because there are a number of people who feel I should instead be putting my efforts into helping my own country. I can only assume these comments come from people who pledge their allegiance solely to America. I've said and done a lot of stupid things in my life before I fully understood an issue, so I'd like to give those who made these ignorant comments on my Facebook post the benefit of the doubt while doing my best to shed some light upon this topic.

While some believe there may be some reasonable grounds to justify pledging allegiance to one's country, I also think that those willing to pledge allegiance to the USA can only seriously do so if they're also allowed to pledge allegiance to their families and friends. There is not a magical line in the earth somewhere that says our allegiance must solely remain on the grounds to which we were born. Additionally, I know very few people who do not have at least one distant family member of friend from another country. I'm not trying to get into a new topic, but doesn't that logically necessitate questioning which demands the greatest allegiance between family, friends, and country.

I personally pledge allegiance to no one. Though, this does not mean that I don't have a tremendous amount of respect and gratitude for my country. For most people with any type of religious belief, the lines of family and empire are blurred. Specifically for me as a Christian, I believe God desires for all of the world to be in his family, and those in his family belong to God's kingdom before any man made empire. For those who disagree with the very concept of God, it still becomes difficult to close out one human being from basic aid or human affection because the reality is that we are 99.99% the same people on a genetic level even for those not in our biological families.

I want to help all Americans suffering oppression. I want to help all Ethiopian children lonely and starving in devastating poverty because their parents died from common preventable diseases. More than either of these things, I want to help ANYONE ANYWHERE that I can while knowing that the time and resources I've been given will responsibly be put to use. Naturally, we're most capable of helping those whom we've come into contact with. As of this moment in time, what stands out to me is that I've come across a tremendous amount of need in the area where my son comes from in Ethiopia. I'm sure there is equally as great of a need in other places, but at this point in time I am responsible for what I know is certain. I have yet to across these places in the USA with a similar urgent need and I'm not sure if ever will unless one of you out there takes my hand and guides me into the hidden or forgotten parts of our country. In my last post I was simply trying to make the point that there is at least one location I can recommend to anyone that I know with full confidence their money will be responsibly put to excellent use. There are plenty of charity scams out there, so if you've personally visited a similar place and know for certain where the money is going, then you should be spreading the word about that place instead of going out of your way to tell fans of As I Lay Dying that they should be helping their own country without given them even the vaguest direction.