June 14, 1954, 55 years ago today, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a resolution adding the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance. Eisenhower was moved to sign the bill after hearing a sermon preached earlier in the year which referenced Abraham Lincoln’s use of the term in the Gettysburg Address. It was truly momentous, especially by today’s standards, that a sitting Congress and President would dare mention God let alone include a reference to God in a federal document. Today, that phrase remains in the pledge but just barely. It has become a point of contention with secular-thinking people who wish to remove any evidence of God from the public square.
There can be little doubt that our nation was founded by people with a faith in Jehovah God. As Dave Miller at Apologetics Press has pointed out so well, the Constitutions of the 13 original states all contained plain references to God and to Christianity. In many cases those documents required an allegiance to God and to Jesus Christ before a person could take a constitutional office in their states.
Although not naming Jehovah God specifically in the Declaration of Independence, the founders do speak of our Creator. That is another term far out of favor in the halls of government today. Truly our founders and leaders through the middle of the 20th century have believed in God and have been willing to invoke his blessings on our republic.
The phrase, “…under God” has been attacked from the earliest days of its inclusion in the pledge. The Jehovah’s Witness group will not utter the pledge and have opposed it. In 2002 the inclusion of the phrase was challenged by a man who argued that it violated his daughter’s rights to require her to say the words in school. Although that suit was thrown out on technical grounds a second lawsuit in 2005 was at least partially successful.
In reality, it is not the phrase that bothers people so much as it is the very idea of God. Some people are so angered by the mere mention of his name that they will do all they can to strip God from any public venue. They have successfully removed God from public schools and now focus on the broader public square.
I am reminded of Paul’s comments in Romans 1, namely that “they knew God [but] they did not honor him as God” (vs. 21) and “they did not see fit to acknowledge God” (vs. 28). Our culture is fast following the downward spiral graphically detailed by Paul in Romans. Our lawmakers no longer honor God but serve themselves and place their own careers above God (yes, I know there are a scant few exceptions). In our culture, God has been replaced by pride, greed and dishonesty. Men do not want to face the stark reality of an angry God who demands righteousness and who will judge rightly. They do not want to be reminded of their own shortcomings.
Christians do not require the Pledge to contain the words “under God.” However we must always be thankful to God for the rich blessings he has given us. To live safely and securely in a land as beautiful as this is indeed worthy of thanksgiving. Whether the Pledge can continue with “under God” in its verses I do not know. I am certain that we have proposed here because of God’s blessings and I am just as sure that as we drift from his will and way we will suffer the same fate as the nations and empires before us. Let us pray for a great revival in this country which restores God to center stage!
What do you think/ Should “under God” be in the pledge? Comment below!
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