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The Pledge of Allegiance
and a Government Less God

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.

Recent History

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.

Thoughts from the founding fathers

We can refer to several statements made by a couple of the known founders for some clarity

benjamin franklin

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

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. 

Does the Pledge of Allegiance imply a Christian Faith is being promoted?

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:

  • "That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other." - Virginia Declaration of Rights 1776
  • Section II. We the General Assembly of Virginia do enact that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities."Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom Jan. 16, 1786
  • "THAT No person or persons which profess faith in God by Jesus Christ Shall at any time be any ways molested punished disquieted or called in Question for any Difference in opinion or Matter of Religious Concernment" - New York Charter of Liberties and Privileges 1683
  • "Article II. It is the right as well as the duty of all men in society, publicly and at stated seasons, to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe. And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience, or for his religious profession or sentiments. provided he doth not disturb the public peace or obstruct others in their religious worshipMassachusetts Constitution 1780
  • Article XXXV. That no other test or qualification ought to be required, on admission to any office of trust or profit, than such oath of support and fidelity to this State, and such oath of office, as shall be directed by this Convention or the Legislature of this State, and a declaration of a belief in the Christian religion." - Maryland State Constitution 1776
  • ...AND that all Persons who also profess to believe in Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the World, shall be capable (notwithstanding their other Persuasions and Practices in Point of Conscience and Religion) to serve this Government in any Capacity, both legislatively and executively..." - Charter of Delaware 1701
  • "Article I. Section 3. The exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination, shall forever be free to all persons in this State, provided that the right hereby declared and established shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or to justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the State.Article I. Section 4. No preference shall be given by law to any Christian sect or mode of worship.  - Connecticut Constitution 1818

Final thoughts on the pledge of allegiance

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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My Recommended reading material

Rating 4.5 Stars -This book is beautifully illustrated with photographs that are sure to spark discussion. The text (the Pledge of Allegiance) is broken into meaningful phrases that make the reader reflect on the words that we sometimes rush through or take for granted. I highly recommend purchasing the big book version for lower grade classroom use. A gem!

 

Relevant Topics

Dysfunctional American Government - what is the solution to fix our treasured system of governing?

One Nation Under God

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