October 2006 Linn County Leader Column – “Have We Forgotten?”

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

That simple and profound statement has stood the test of time since June of 1954; then-President Eisenhower introduced an amendment that year to include the words “under God” to “reaffirm the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in peace and war.” Eisenhower knew that the Pledge of Allegiance was more than the people acknowledging their commitment to the flag; it was an affirmation of our faith in God and the steadfastness of our trust in Him to help guide us as a nation in the future.

Many adults (myself included) can remember reciting that hallowed pledge in school during our formative years. It was spoken during wars; domestic conflicts in the U.S.; in the public arena; at sporting events; in public schools…just about everywhere. It became a symbol of this great nation that we live in; it was as American as “apple pie” and as recognizable as the Star-Spangled Banner.

Yet, cracks are beginning to appear in this once ironclad piece of declaration. The Pledge is being challenged in our court system as unconstitutional; it is no longer a part of elementary education in some areas because of issues regarding “separation of Church and State”; there is even the question of its validity to being displayed in churches throughout the United States of America.

To be honest, I am perturbed by all of this news. I wonder why anyone who lives in America would feel this way; after all, we are the great “melting pot of the world” where anyone can come for a better life—those who fear persecution, civil rights violations, suffering, etc. The U.S. gives the downtrodden and desperate a chance for better lives, and our flag is a symbol of that; plus it is a symbol for a multitude of states gathered together to form a unified nation of hope–a “beacon” to others; a “lighthouse” for those lost in the sea of a volatile world.

I would offer these questions to those people who feel that the flag and pledge to it should be stifled:
“Have you forgotten…

  • How our flag has flown proudly for over 200 plus years through various wars and world conflicts, and how it was the symbol of freedom for millions throughout the world?”
  • How it was raised at the World Trade center site after the terrible tragedy of September 11, 2001, and gave us hope as a nation that we would rise up from the destruction with a renewed hope?”
  • How it is recognized as the logo for “the land of opportunity” everywhere?”
  • How blessed we are to be able to call ourselves citizens of a free nation with God as the centerpiece of our government?”

The Founding Fathers of our Republic recognized that in order for our government to thrive and remain focused, that we needed to acknowledge our faith in a Creator and Sustainer of life, and have Him remain as the focal point of our nation. So, we drafted a national motto: “In God We Trust”; we placed paid chaplains in our government to give the opening prayer at both the Congress and state legislatures before every session; we have the inscription on the Liberty Bell citing a bible passage out of Leviticus 25:10 (“Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan.”); a portrait of Moses with the Ten Commandments hangs above the Speaker’s Chair in the U.S. Congress; The Library of Congress has statues of the apostle Paul and Moses and large inscriptions of Micah 6:8 (“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”) and Psalm 19:1 (“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.”) prominently displayed…those are just a few examples of how the government was integrated with a deeply ingrained respect for God and His Word.

Yet, slowly, bit-by-bit, like dripping water wearing out the hardest of stones, God is being taken out of our government. The Holy Trinity is being replaced with the “New Trinity”—that being “Me, Myself, and I.” We are becoming a nation of selfish, arrogant people who put God on the back burner so as not to offend anyone. The Pledge of Allegiance is but one of the things that lawsuit-bearers and the ACLU are branding as “non-separation of church and state” and they are eager to rip the “offending” words from public viewing, and from public declaration.

Some of our church pastors have even jumped on this bandwagon and taken the U.S. flag out of God’s sanctuaries; they say it is for the best because it is not a true symbol of Christianity and it represents us trying to incorporate government intrusion into religion.

My answer is: this nation was founded by God through Godly men; we are, as our monetary system proudly says, “One Nation UNDER God.” Also, without God, we wouldn’t have the freedoms that we so proudly show off to the rest of the world; in fact, our very own legal system puts God at its centerpiece. The Lord is in every facet of our country, even down to the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag.

The U.S. flag is representative of a proud nation that is over 200 years old, free and thriving, with God originally placed at the center of it. In today’s world, the line is becoming blurred, with people desperately trying to strip our commitment to God out of the Pledge, out of the government, out of everything in our lives. And if that happens, we will be in deep trouble indeed.

Have we forgotten what “In God We Trust” means?

Take a stance; write to your leaders in the government and let them know how you feel. Fly the flag proudly; say the pledge boldly; and think about what it means to be a citizen of one of the greatest nations on earth.

Let’s as a nation bless God with our actions and our commitment to Him.

Richard cherishes his freedom living in the United States; he is thankful that it is “One Nation Under God.” You can share your viewpoints with him at sliceofhome@sbcglobal.net or via his online blog at https://sliceofhome.wordpress.com. His column appears monthly in the Linn County Leader.

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