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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag

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.

On this day, December 28, 1945, Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance. According to infoplease, the original pledge was published in September 1892 in The Youth's Companion (Boston, MA). The phrase "under God" was added on June 14, 1954.

After posting on religious liberty issues, I ran across the fact that Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance on Dec. 28th -- this very day. It is, especially related to separation of church & state and the phrase "under God", a hot topic. The Court's rejection of standing in the Newdow case, rather than rendering a decision, means it is likely to be back before the U.S. Supreme Court soon.

Should "under God" be in the pledge? Is it a violation of the liberties provided by the 1st Amendment to the Constitution? Former Supreme Court decisions and statements seem to favor its neutrality as a patriotic and historical expression of faith rather than a religious one. For example, Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan wrote, "This general principle might also serve to insulate the various patriotic exercises and activities used in the public schools and elsewhere which, whatever may have been their origins, no longer have a religious purpose or meaning. The reference to divinity in the revised pledge of allegiance, for example, may merely recognize the historical fact that our Nation was believed to have been founded 'under God'. Thus reciting the pledge may be no more of a religious exercise than the reading aloud of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, which contains an allusion to the same historical fact." (Abington v. Schempp, 1963)

The pledge of allegiance is a tough one in a way. I'm not really sure how much pledging of allegiance a child of God ought to be giving to a temporal kingdom of this world. Allegiance is the duty a citizen owes to the state or to the sovereign of the state to which he or she belongs. The citizenship of the little child of God is in heaven. We are pilgrims and strangers in this foreign land, looking for a city whose Builder and Maker is God. Certainly we are taught and ought to obey the laws of our country. Paul instructs us thusly in Romans 13:1ff: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation." Yes, live circumspectly and obey the laws. Live peaceably. Have a good reputation toward "them which are without". But can we truly pledge our allegiance to an earthly power when we are not our own, but are bought with a price? "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men."

I think I'll leave this one for those of Caesar to sort out. Christians don't have to have "under God" in a pledge of allegiance in order to render due respect to their Maker and Redeemer.

3 comments:

Charity said...

"The reference to divinity in the revised pledge of allegiance, for example, may merely recognize the historical fact that our Nation was believed to have been founded 'under God'. Thus reciting the pledge may be no more of a religious exercise than the reading aloud of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, which contains an allusion to the same historical fact."

Yes, our nation was founded under God and under Godly principles. It's a part of our heritage! If your not proud of our heritage well... you don't have to call yourself an American! There are plenty of other countries to go, but I don't see to many people leaving... Besides why try to change something that's worked since.. well since this country started. Maybe if you change it things might just start to fall apart. Which could be part of God's plan I suppose.

Hey dad this is cool!

R. L. Vaughn said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Love you. Dad

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