Patriotic Songs in Gospel Concerts

A couple of weeks ago, we discussed the purpose of a Gospel concert. There were many good answers, from a variety of viewpoints. I promised to share my own answer in a post which depended on that question.

I believe the purpose of a Gospel concert is to present Gospel truth through song, to draw the listeners closer to the Lord—the unsaved to salvation and the saved to a deeper, closer walk with the Lord.

Do patriotic songs help accomplish the purpose of a Gospel concert?

Don’t misunderstand me: Asking this question doesn’t make me against patriotism. Patriotic songs have their place. I’ve gone to a decent number of Veterans’ Day parades and Memorial Day ceremonies, and the national anthem belongs there. I get a chill down my spine when Taps is played, and it’s not from the cold weather. Nobody is out to ban patriotic songs; the question is whether their place is at a Gospel concert.

That, of course, depends on the purpose of a Gospel concert. If it’s to provide clean entertainment, or, as one commenter wittily put it, sell records, perhaps it fits. At least it will bring the audience to its feet; most any audience will rise in respect to the flag, even if that’s the only time they stand all night.

But if the purpose is to point people to the cross, is including what one industry type described to me as “the big flag-waving moment” a detour and distraction?