If anyone comes to me and does not hate his country, fellow-citizens, place of birth—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.
This is a powerful passage. This pericope isn't about patriotism and politics, but about discipleship. It is one of those passages that the American church has done away with completely, or at least largely marginalized. It's usually explained away by saying it's an order of magnitude. The strongest wording on it comes from David Platt in his book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. He says it means our devotion to Christ should be so strong, our earthly relationships should look like hate in comparison. Most people just say it means you can't love man more than God, and should it come down to it, you should give up your relationships - for example - if your family were to expel you because of your beliefs.
Family is placed even above patriotism. The duty to your family is before the nation. (There are some ultra-nationalistic people who claim duty to country comes first, but in general, the family comes first.) This is why I even went back to talking about family before I went into patriotism.
If the family is the highest priority for Christians, even above our duty to the nation, how much more does this passage apply when you put it in context of politics? Or employment? Or any lesser thing?
Yet I assume phrasing this passage in this way may be even more scandalous for many.
Christ immediately follows this saying,
Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
I added emphasis here. It's usually said, "count the cost." Christ is challenging us to really consider what earthly attachments we possess, and how they affect our place in the Kingdom of Heaven. He wants us to let go of our attachments to this world.
We're very much attached to our national politics. Our government. Our money ... Isn't that why we have protests against taxation? We want to hold onto our money. Some are calling for revolution, because they're willing to fight and kill to hold onto the treasures they've built up in this world.
If anyone comes to me and does not hate America, such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not submit to government oppression while you carry out my work cannot be my disciple.