Divided Under God
flap over flag allegiance is not only about the words
one nation under God.
rare that we as a nation are united in our mutual
opinions on anything. The closest in recent memory was
the near-universal condemnation of the September 11
Often lost in the rush to be seen wrapped in the red, white and blue is that the original pledge did not contain the words under God. The words were inserted by Congress in 1954, and no one has claimed that freedom, national strength or personal religious views were harmed by the lack of those words in all the years preceding 1954.
The original pledge was drafted by an educator named Francis Bellamy in 1892, and spread to other educators who used it in public schools. His version pledged allegiance to my flag and (to) the republic for which it stands. At a national conference in the 1920s, the words were somehow changed to say the flag of the United States of America. The U.S. Government stepped in 20 years after that and officially recognized the pledge. The next year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public school children could not be forced to recite it.
The average reasonable person can assume that the God referred to in 1954s updated version is a God of each persons personal belief. That individual belief, or the lack of it, is the most important personal freedom each person has. People in certain other countries are routinely jailed or killed if they dont embrace the God or Maker recognized by the official state religion. The varying sects, denominations, and belief systems are only important to those who clamor that theirs is the only or correct religion.
is a nation of individuality. Our strength and greatness
derive from our ability to recognize that we are united
in our desire to be free. In a free country, we should be
indivisible by our mutual freedom of expression. No
matter where we stand on any issue, most of us are
willing to accept that the next person has a right to a
The very fact that we have the debate is evidence of democracys vigorous health. It doesnt matter how loudly you shout from the steps of the Capitol Building, which church you attend, or how often you must remain silent when others around you are praying to something in which you dont believe. In the end, you alone face your God.
If you believe in God, no one can take that away from you, no matter what decree is handed down by a court or legislature, no matter what name your God goes by. Likewise, if you dont believe, then its doubtful that youll have a change of heart merely because a judge think its a good idea.
Not the one. Not the few. Not the many. For all.
Back to Articles page
Scott Nicholson copyright 2001-02ŠAll rights reserved