I am under an impression that most National Anthems have a religious connotation on them. I am a South African, the first part of the National Anthem, loosley translated, says god bless Afrika  help to stop wars and suffering. It is written in two major Indeginous language groups. Now I am concerned about the fact that I will be saying those words, when I know their meaninglessness. What does that say to me, as a Freethinker should I be patriotic, where do I draw the line in my patriotism?  Do I belong  to one geographically stationed group of humans or to all of them as they are scattered all over the globe? Should Free thinking soldiers go out there in the name of their country and fight wars that smell some religious defending?

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Paris can seem unfriendly, but I found the people in the rural areas and the south of France to be very warm and friendly. And as the OP stated, most of these haters have never even been there or even met a French person. And these right wing ding bats would say things like we should just nuke France and they are cowards. It was more often heard down here during the gulf wars

I agree that it's different the further you get from gaie Paris.

I think this is a throwback from British heritage.  The British and French fought wars for a thousand years (1066 Battle of Hastings) and although they were allies in the last 100 years, the occupation of France by Germany during WWII forced the French to fight on the opposing side.  There is a tradition in both the UK and France to stereotype each other, but it is mainly humorous as we visit each others countries all the time.  The Simpsons, in 1995 produced an episode in which the French were labelled "cheese-eating surrender monkeys".  America has a shorter history, so whilst picking up on the anti-French British mostly humorous sentiments, they apply reasons to that which are of a more recent origin.  (remember the campaign to re-name 'french fries' to 'freedom fries'?).

However, some of the humour is quite witty - take the French flag for example:-

That's funny Strega, unfortunately the slugs I'm talking about wouldn't be able to comprehend that graph or even get that that is the French flag.

That is French humor, or humor by someone about France? You're kind implying that the French have a sense of humor, which I'm sure they do. I'm sure there are lots of jokes about English speaking people murdering their language, for example

The French mock the 'cooking' in the UK.  In Europe, people don't find humour in language mockery as we all speak different languages, and have accepted that any 'joke' would be just as easily reciprocated.

Yeah, I understand why the French are disliked, but the second greatest command given by the Grand Savior Himself is to "love your neighbor as yourself" which makes pointing out the hypocrisy of Christianity like shooting fish in a barrel.

Flags, borders and national anthems are arbitrary delineations of ideological differences. On one side of the river, they cheer your use of free speech, on the other side they kill you for it. Americans don't really know what it's like to have a lot of neighbors.

Our ancestors fought for what they felt they believed in (some were forced) and many felt that the differences were worth dying for. The memorialization of that in song helps people remember what they were fighting for.

Rythm taps directly into your limbic brain, bypassing your cognitive functions. So some of you were right, it is a way to keep the masses in tow. Hitler used songs extensively to bolster patriotism, so obviously, things can go wrong in that regard.

As to religious connotations, yup, thats part of the package to get past peoples brain gatekeepers. 

Unforatunately I was hospitalised few hours after I posted this discussion.Was involved in a terrible car accident, have few bandages there and there. I have read through most responses I am only discovering people talking about their America and not actually contributing directly to the discussion.Maybe I should ask these questions again:A)What does that say to me, as a Freethinker should I be patriotic, where do I draw the line in my patriotism?  B)Do I belong  to one geographically stationed group of humans or to all of them as they are scattered all over the globe? C)Should Free thinking soldiers go out there in the name of their country and fight wars that smell some religious defending?

It's complicated. All I know is my American experience, and some history. Part of the answer has to be compatible with other countries, too. Defending one's country from attack is usually reasonable, while attacking other countries for the sake of helping them succeed in some form of idealism is debatable, and often has unpredicted, undesirable consequences.

African countries in particular have been subject to exploitation by the rest of the world. Even spending billions of dollars yearly for oil extraction and energy production has some negative consequences in those countries that have the oil.

Modernization itself can cause conflict and perpetuate or worsen inequality. Civilization is largely made up of different cultures with differing circumstances. I personally think that nationalism and sacrificing one's self "for God" have made war and terrorism more destructive. I wish we could all focus more on fixing our own problems at home before interfering in other countries. If we're really as good and feeling as successful as we want to as a country, we should be able to interest others in the world in participating while increasing their own peace and prosperity.

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