As our country haphazardly continues its transformation the Pledge of Allegiance is an element that is worth revisiting considering all that it implies. How many of you can still recite the pledge from memory? When was the last time you recited it?
During the year, 2014, we saw an escalation by Satanists to exile nativity scenes from public buildings or at the very least to purposely assault Christians by demanding that offensive displays be allowed adjacent to traditional Christmas displays.
Every time I read about these incidents I wonder what the real intent is by such fringe groups. After decades of celebrating our Judeo-Christian faith we are being forced to either stand down or allow, on the pretense of equality, every group to express their alleged beliefs, no matter how offensive.
While attending grade school during the 1970's I remember standing up at the beginning of the day and reciting the pledge of allegiance. As a roman Catholic at the time it never once offended me or my parents for that matter. I attended public school up until the 3rd grade and then parochial schools until I graduated high school. In both institutions the pledge of allegiance was recited each day.
If there is one thing I remember from that time period, and it's this, my focus was turned away from my self and all my so-called anxieties and turned towards the nation I called home. I felt part of something greater. It seemed perfectly natural to acknowledge God as our source of unmerited favor and greatness. Not once did I ever feel that someone else's opinion was being forced upon me and neither did any of my classmates. At least no one voiced their objection, even in private, to the best of my recollection.
In an article published in the Nov/Dec 2002 issue of the ACLU News, staff attorney Margaret Crosby writes,
"In adding 'under God' to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, Congress intended to put religion in public school...
...50 years later, a law requiring school children to pledge allegiance to a nation 'under God' cannot be reconciled with the Supreme Court's strict constitutional precedents on religion in public school...
Pretending that the phrase [under God] is purely secular is both untrue and devalues religion...
The Pledge is not simply a passive reference to religion; it calls upon children in public school to promise loyalty to the concept of their country as under God."
Now granted, the original version of the pledge of allegiance did not contain the phrase, one nation under God, but to include it afterwards should not put fear into the hearts of law abiding men and women. To imply that our government was trying to institute a religion or to show preference to a particular faith is not an accurate claim.
In her publication Margaret does not indicate that any particular faith was being referred to. So I believe we are left to assume that she is simply objecting to "religion" of any kind being inserted into governing our country.
Well, our country and form of Government is no longer a new experiment. We have been at it for a while now. Maybe, we have been at it too long and have need to be reminded what the founders of this government of ours intended as they were putting together the final draft of what we have inherited.
We can refer to several statements made by a couple of the known founders for some clarity
Benjamin Franklin; "I have lived, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth -- that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?" (June 28, 1787 - Address at the Constitutional Convention)
"When a Religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its Professors are obliged to call for help of the Civil Power [government], it is a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one." (October 9, 1780 - Letter to Richard Price)
John Adams; "We have no government armed in power capable of contending in human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other." (1798 Address to the Militia of Massachusetts)
"Nothing is more dreaded than the National Government meddling with Religion." (June 12, 1812 - Letter to Benjamin Rush)
I don't know that we as a nation will ever be able to come to an acceptable settlement as far as the appropriateness of the phrase "one nation under God" in the pledge of allegiance. This may not ever be solved until the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
And if you think that my previous statement is irrelevant because you don't believe in God then I would respond to you by saying that what you or I believe matters not. For if he DOES exist, and I believe He does, then he will implement his will when he returns.
And if he doesn't exist, then what is to stop mankind from digressing back to a state of fear and lawlessness and allow evil to rule and reign as it has in times past through dictators. In that unfortunate case, I dare say that all of us, believers and unbelievers alike, will be praying that he would return to save us.
The popular objection to the phrase "one nation under god" in the pledge of allegiance is that it violates the separation of church and state. A good number of Americans take this premise at face value without ever giving it any thoughtful consideration.
What evidence do we have to support the belief that we are a Christian Nation?
The research that I have done on the subject of the pledge of allegiance seems to support that the belief that we are a Christian nation can be supported without hesitation. By 1702 all 13 colonies had some form of state supported religion. They had even implemented a number of religious requirements for voting and serving in the legislature. Most of these instances were removed by 1850 and the remainder was removed with the passing of the 14th amendment.
The following are excerpts from historical documents showing state support of religion:
After reading these historical references I find it difficult for anyone to argue that the founding fathers were not men of faith and that their faith in God played no part in the creation and establishment of our country's laws and government institutions.
The existence of a higher standard, as outlined in the bible by these men, doesn't imply that they lived a morally superior life but rather they simply acknowledged that the bible provided us a standard to strive for and a promise from God that we should all desire to get hold of for the betterment of our society.
There's one other thing we need to put in perspective when we consider this issue of viewing America as one nation under God. How could simply making a reference to God in the pledge of allegiance be something to fear? Why are there so many people willing to file suit in a court of law to prevent all reference to God in public schools and at all levels of government?
Are we so ignorant of what life is like under a godless government? Have any of these objectors lived a decade or so in a communist country like Cuba or any former eastern bloc country in Europe? I doubt it. I realize that these same people can point to Islamic fanatics as proof that government should not be influenced by religion or any faith.
Their argument, however, against the pledge of allegiance fails to address one important truth. I challenge any of them to compare the Gospel of Jesus Christ with any other faith. I say " faith" because Christianity is not a "religion", it is a faith in Jesus Christ as God-incarnate, coming to earth to pay the penalty for our sins out of love for us. What's the difference you ask?
Religions are all about rules, in most cases man-made rules, and regulations to help govern our lives. Faith is acting on the Word of God and thereby developing a relationship based on a personal experience. For Christians it means a personal relationship with Jesus that is lived out daily, not just during holidays or on Sundays. It is this relationship and His influence in our lives that we desire.
We are a work in progress. We are not made perfect once we confess our belief in Christ and the work of the cross at Calvary. Christianity is a life long process. As we live out our lives each day we deepen our knowledge of Jesus and our intimacy with Him. The pledge of allegiance being modified to include "one nation under God" is simply proof that even an American president can realize there is something vital missing when we exclude God from the fabric of our nation and when He is included we are only filling the void that only He can fill.
The pledge of allegiance, in my opinion, is only enhanced when we add "one nation under God". No viable argument, I believe, can be made for anything contrary. I would challenge my readers to invoke the pledge of allegiance on a daily basis for 30 days and see if it doesn't change their perspective on their view of God and the role of God in our government and our public lives.
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