Under God or Not?
The earthly component of Jesus' Gospel focuses on "right relationships" (righteousness).
As William Barclay noted, "If God is our Father, then our fellow man is our brother. The only possible basis for [any variant of] democracy is the conviction of the fatherhood of God."
History is an ongoing testimony as to the playing out of the general status of the quality of relationships at different times. Mankind, biblically fallen, is innately self-centered. Trouble & distress are, therefore, woven into the fabric of life on Earth. The quality of life in different times and different places depends on the general quality of a population's relationships. Relationship quality depends on the general awareness of the people as to the tie between (1) actions or inactions and (2) resulting future consequences. That awareness depends on (1) the general knowledge of the people, (2) the general vision of the people, (3) the general ability of the people to delay gratification, and (4) the general ability of the people to see that each one's own best self interest is most enhanced when attending to the best interests of the greater community. Then, the greater the level of all of these, the greater the overall wisdom of the people at large. Elevations of general societal well being (incuding such as social justice) NEVER happen by force or legal systems. Rather, elevation of betterment ONLY happens by a general societal will to do so...and then the elevated interpersonal skill at right relationships. Especially with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, people have the means to truly see, when mature, that their OWN best self interest is greater served when folks do what it takes to have the best outcome for the greater general community!
The battle: whether you, the
reader, know it or not (or even care), the Bible has a lot to
say about the fact that the real battle in the greater world is
between (1) the forces of good (God inspired) vs. (2) the forces
of evil (Satan). And, let's not
forget that satanic influence can infiltrate or undermine
good, just, and godly efforts, organizations, or
movements. [even atheists must admit
to the human battle
between good & bad; and psychologists live their careers dealing with the aftermaths of
this struggle] Humans tend to focus on a smaller scale, a smaller "slice", a "tribal"
portion of the world. There is a determined secularist (non-religious)...secular progressive
(post-modern)...movement in America to blot out God. It seems to me that
the fundamental drive of the secularists is that "secularists" want to
be able to do what they want to do without guilt. The secularist-mind
(1) focus is legalistically on
self & issues of money, and (2) their root concerns revolve around rich and poor issues
(though they may be high-profile vocally in favor of abortion and homosexuality) and various
other "rights" (such as the "right" of all to top-dollar
health care). The secular progressive movement (and its spin off
influence in the culture) seems
melded by the glue of a focus inward on self (eliminate self-feelings of guilt) rather than truly
outward on others. The traditionalists are at least culturally/philosophically "religious" (along
Judeo-Christian lines) and have personal root concerns about right
& wrong (and, therefore, all of the ramifications of what leads to personal...not
legal-based...standards & judgments of right & wrong & service & stewardship
to the greater good). Whether actually practicing the
Jewish or Christian religions or not, Christian-practiced
attitudes accrue to a betterment of society, the root attitudes
being all about positive relationships ("right"
relationships) and community cohesion, no matter how complex
the set of social strata or pigeon holes.
Though the reasons explorers and nations sought
America may have been different, a huge majority of the actual immigrants came for religious freedom (plus many other side
issues). As Rev. Franklin Graham, son of Rev. Billy Graham, has noted, "The painful
irony is that it was our Christian roots in America that created an environment supportive of
free thought and behavior that has resulted in tolerance (as it is now [2002-2013]
Being "under God" is a great part of our USA history and cultural tradition.
"Under God" fundamentally underpins the fact that the original idea of America was never
about a utopia. It was (and most certainly should continue to be) about equal opportunity. A "fully just" utopia quietly or forcefully enslaves & does not
free people. And, because of the flaws of the fallen human nature
of mankind, a true utopia, socialism, or
communism...though sort of laudable...is humanly impossible. Anything that removes the responsibility & motivation
of an individual to admit their role in the consequences of his/her behavior undermines such
a person's possibilities to live a fulfilled life at any economic
UNDER GOD: In fact, being "under God" is the key to our covenantal view of (USA) a representative democratic
government: a government form hinged, not
on the idea of a rootless freedom of process, but on the belief that
power is from God to the
people, and the people loan it to "government" (expecting government to be good stewards of
that loaned power). This is the key to assuring true and enduring freedom. Other governments simply
arise, take power (or have an implied contract with the people), and view the people as
subjects (no matter what words might be used to mask the
subjugation). A plain, un-rooted, representative democracy is "just another" form of
government. The preambles to the
constitutions of all 50 states reference God or The Divine (this impartial "urban legends" website certifies this to be so).
Reflecting this sense of divine foundation of the
USA society, the vast majority of modern US citizens still profess a belief in God (in truth,
some percentage of them may actually just believe in a Judeo-Christian philosophy reflective
of The Golden Rule & the desire to, thereby, voluntarily live in
rather than be forced by law toward "just" relationships). But, on 26 June 2002, the 9th US
Circuit Court in California declared that the words "under God" in our nation's pledge of
allegiance are unconstitutional. The U. S. Supreme court
subsequently ruled that the case had been
misfiled. And, that 9th Circuit court reaffirmed its decision in 2004 when the case was
re-filed. The issue has never gone much further in the legal system or Congress. Here
is a web timeline of the issue (HERE). And, here are some notes:
the correct Mayflower Compact of
"In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are
underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord, King James, by the Grace of
God, of England, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith,
Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and
Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a voyage to plant
the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents, solemnly and
mutually in the Presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together
into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the
Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal
Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought
most meet and convenient for the General good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due
submission and obedience.
In Witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed
our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord, King
James of England, France and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno
NOTE: There has been an alleged movement to have school books
use a revisionist copy of the Compact (devoid of God & Christian)...as if this document
never originally said what it said.
United State's Declaration of Independence
4 July 1776:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes
necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with
another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which
the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of
mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
George Washington & USA Hire Chaplains
Great Seal of the USA
The "annuit coeptis" shows an unfinished pyramid. Above it is the eye in a triangle
surrounded by radiant light. This all symbolizes recognition of the need for the favorable hand
of Providence in the bold experiment of the USA.
1790 U. S. Supreme
Since and including its first opening session,
this court always opens any session with the Marshall shouting, "God save the United States
and this honorable court!"
ultimately be governed by God or by tyrants."
"It is when people forget God that tyrants forge
United State's National Anthem,
It was the valiant defense of Fort McHenry by
American forces during the British attack on September 13, 1814 that inspired 35-year old,
poet-lawyer Francis Scott Key (in 1814 or 1815) to write the poem which was to become our
national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner." The poem was written to match the meter of the
English song, "To Anacreon in Heaven." In 1931 the Congress of The United States of America
enacted legislation that made "The Star-Spangled Banner" the official national
can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wiped out their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the
"Those people who will not be governed by God will
be ruled by tyrants."
1830, Alexis de
This great French scientist, historian, and
politician visited America. Upon his return, he commented, "I went into the churches of
America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness...I understood the secret of her
genius and power. America is great because America is good; and if America ever ceases to be
good, America will cease to be great."
Presidential Inauguration Swearing-in
includes the ending, "so help me
United States Supreme Court
displays the 10 commandments of the
United States Library of Congress
When you enter, you will see the words, "In God we
United States Congressional Capitol
Quoting Psalms 16:1, Preserve me O God: for in
thee do I put my trust."
"In God We Trust" inscribed on
In a first such letter dated 13 Nov.1861, the
Reverend M. R. Watkinson of Ridleyville, Pa. urged the secretary of the Treasury to try to
introduce something as to God, Liberty, and Law on the coins of the land, arguing on the
theological premise that in a Judeo-Christian nation, "There is but one God." Congress, then
beginning to be responsive to the religious community, passed the Coinage Act of April 22,
1864, which designated that 'In God We Trust' be put on coins "when and where sufficient
space in the balance of the design" would permit it.
Rev. Watkinson's letter was directed to Secretary
of the Treasury Samuel P. Chase. It read:
"Dear Sir: You are about to submit your annual
report to the Congress respecting the affairs of the national finances.
One fact touching our currency has hitherto been
seriously overlooked. I mean the recognition of the Almighty God in some form on our
You are probably a Christian. What if our Republic
were not shattered beyond reconstruction? Would not the antiquaries of succeeding centuries
rightly reason from our past that we were a heathen nation? What I propose is that instead of
the goddess of liberty we shall next inside the 13 stars a ring inscribed with the words
PERPETUAL UNION; within the allseeing eye, crowned with a halo; beneath this eye the American
flag bearing in its field stars equal to the number of the States united; in the folds of the
bars the words GOD, LIBERTY, LAW..." "...This would relieve us from the ignominy of
heathenism..." "...This would place us openly under the Divine protection."
Seven days after the transmittal of Watkinson's
letter, Secretary Chase, in a letter dated November 20, 1861, wrote to James Pollock,
Director of the Mint at Philadelphia. He instructed Pollock to prepare a motto, declaring "No
nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust
of our people in God should be declared on our national coins..." A design was submitted in
December, 1863 proposing OUR GOD AND OUR COUNTRY, or the alternative of GOD, OUR TRUST. On
December 9, 1863, Chase formally approved a third slogan in a letter to the Mint
"I approve your mottoes (sic), only suggesting
that on that with the Washington obverse the motto should begin with the word OUR, so as to
read OUR GOD AND OUR COUNTRY. And on that with the shield, it should be changed so as to
read: IN GOD WE TRUST."
"In God We Trust" thus appeared on the short-lived
1864 two-cent coin. In 1865, Congress passed another act allowing the mint director to place
the motto on all gold and silver coins. At times, the motto was dropped. It has been
used continuously on the one-cent coin since 1909, and on dimes since 1916. It
disappeared from the 5-cent piece in 1883 and reappeared on the Jefferson nickel in 1938. In
response to a citizenry outcry in 1908, President Teddy Roosevelt ordered the motto restored
to the $20 gold piece. Since July 1, 1908,"In God We Trust" has also been stamped on gold
coins, silver dollars, quarters and half-dollar coins
Watkinson's effort with the coinage was part of a
larger campaign waged by a coalition of eleven Protestant denominations under the umbrella of
the National Reform Association. Disenchanted with the secularism of documents such as the
Constitution, the NRA sought to amend that instrument to "indicate that this is a Christian
nation." Petitions were raised and formally presented to Congress. They proposed a new
preamble to the Constitution which read:
people of the United States, humbly acknowledging Almighty God as the source of all authority
and power in civil government, the Lord Jesus Christ as the Ruler among the nations, His
revealed will as the supreme law of the land, in order to constitute a Christian
The petition failed despite the membership of powerful and wealthy
men in the National Reform Association. They included Supreme Court Justice William Strong, a
handful of governors and prominent businessmen.
The next similar event with the national currency
had to wait nearly a century, when on July 11.1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed
Public Law 140 making it mandatory that all coinage and paper currency display a new national motto "In God We Trust." The following year, Public Law 851
was enacted and signed, which officially replaced the national motto "E Pluribus Unum" with
"In God We Trust".
NOTE: All of this occurred at the
height of cold war tension, when political divisions between the Soviet and western block were
often portrayed as a confrontation between Judeo-Christian civilization and the "godless" menace of
atheistic communism. Indeed, the new national motto was only part of a broader effort to
effectively reflect the national foundational fact of God in civic ritual and symbols. On June 14,
1954, Congress unanimously ordered the inclusion of the words "Under God" into the nation's Pledge
of Allegiance. By this time, other laws mandating public recognition Of God had also been enacted,
including a statute for all federal justices and judges to swear an oath concluding with "So help
me God." This was all largely to clearly indicate the real difference between our "free" society
and the atheistic, suppressive & murderous communistic societies.
All paper currency issued after October 1, 1957
included the IN GOD WE TRUST national motto.
Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving
forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied
and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our
hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.
Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of
redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made
"One nation under God" in USA 1892 Pledge of
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.
from/after a web file, copyright Dr. John
Francis Bellamy (1855 - 1931), a Baptist minister, wrote the original Pledge in August 1892. He was
a Christian Socialist. In his Pledge, he is expressing the ideas of his first cousin, Edward
Bellamy, author of the American socialist utopian novels, Looking Backward (1888) and Equality (1897).
Francis Bellamy in his sermons and lectures and
Edward Bellamy in his novels and articles described in detail how the middle class could
create a planned economy with political, social and economic equality for all. The government
would run a peace time economy similar to our present (2000) military industrial
The Pledge was published in the September 8th 1892
issue of The Youth's
Companion, the leading family magazine (and the Reader's Digest of its day). Its owner and editor, Daniel Ford, had
hired Francis in 1891 as his assistant when Francis was pressured into leaving his Baptist
church in Boston because of his socialist sermons. As a member of his congregation, Ford had
enjoyed Francis's sermons. Ford later founded the liberal and often controversial Ford Hall
Forum, located in downtown Boston.
In 1892 Francis Bellamy was also a chairman of a
committee of state superintendents of education in the National Education Association. As its
chairman, he prepared the program for the public schools' quadricentennial celebration for
Columbus Day in 1892. He structured this public school program around a flag raising ceremony
and a flag salute - his 'Pledge of Allegiance.'
His original Pledge read as follows: 'I pledge
allegiance to my Flag and (to*) the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all.' He considered placing the word, 'equality,' in his Pledge,
but knew that the state superintendents of education on his committee were against equality
for women and African Americans. [ * 'to' added in October, 1892. ]
Dr. Mortimer Adler, American philosopher and last
living founder of the Great Books program at Saint John's College, has analyzed these ideas
in his book, The Six Great
Ideas. He argues that the three great ideas of the American political tradition are
'equality, liberty and justice for all.' 'Justice' mediates between the often conflicting
goals of 'liberty' and 'equality.'
In 1923 and 1924, following WWI (the war to end
all wars), the National Flag Conference, under the 'leadership of the American Legion and the
Daughters of the American Revolution, changed the Pledge's words, 'my Flag,' to 'the Flag of
the United States of America.' Bellamy disliked this change, but his protest was
The US government officially recognized the Pledge
of Allegiance in 1942.
1954: Following WWII and during the early phase of "the cold
war" between God-fearing America (and much of the rest of the world) and Russia, and after a
campaign by the Knights of Columbus, the words, 'under God,' were proposed . Worried that
orations used by "godless communists" sound similar to the Pledge of Allegiance, religious
leaders lobbied lawmakers to insert the words "under God" into the pledge. President Dwight
D. Eisenhower, fearing an atomic war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, joined the chorus
to put God into the pledge.
President Eisenhower said "In this way we are
reaffirming 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." Congress did what he asked. The Pledge
had now become more than just a patriotic oath.
Bellamy's granddaughter said he also would have
resented this second change. He had been pressured into leaving his church in 1891 because of
his socialist sermons. In his retirement in Florida, he stopped attending church because he
disliked the racial bigotry he found there.
What follows is Bellamy's own account of some of
the thoughts that went through his mind in August, 1892, as he picked the words of his
It began as an intensive communing with salient
points of our national history, from the Declaration of Independence onwards; with the
makings of the Constitution...with the meaning of the Civil War; with the aspiration of the
The true reason for allegiance to the Flag is the
'republic for which it stands.' ...And what does that vast thing, the Republic mean? It is
the concise political word for the Nation - the One Nation which the Civil War was fought to
prove. To make that One Nation idea clear, we must specify that it is indivisible, as Webster
and Lincoln used to repeat in their great speeches. And its future?
Just here arose the temptation of the historic
slogan of the French Revolution which meant so much to Jefferson and his friends, 'Liberty,
equality, fraternity.' No, that would be too fanciful, too many thousands of years off in
realization. But we as a nation do stand square on the doctrine of liberty and justice for
United State's National
It was Jefferson who suggested the national slogan
"E Pluribus Unum" [from many, one]; and that slogan (created by
committee in 1776) was adopted in 1782, five years before the Constitutional convention of 1787
(about 2000, Al Gore has tried to promote that it means "from one, many"). In 1956, Congress
passed a resolution declaring "In God We Trust", the national motto. The use of the phrase has
since withstood at least three federal court challenges, including one that led to a 1996 ruling
by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the
case. "It's been tested for its constitutionality in federal court," said Michigan state Rep.
Stephen Ehardt, a Republican. "It is secular. It's not a religious statement and it's something
we should be proud of -- it's our national motto."
The 26 June 2002 Decision Sparking the
Sacramento, California physician atheist activist,
Michael Newdow filed suit some time ago against his daughter's school district and against
the U. S. Congress to overturn the 1954 law that added "under God" to our pledge. He claimed
that his then-8-year-old daughter, whom he claimed he was raising as an atheist, was injured
whenever she had been compelled to watch and listen as her teachers and classmates recited
the Pledge of Allegiance to the USA. It recently emerged that his daughter and her mother
(they never married) are God-believer members in good standing of Calvary Chapel in Cosa
Mesa, California. When confronted with this apparent fraudulent implication, Newdow has
been quoted as saying, "This is more about me than her. I'd like to keep her out of
***give me your comments about this
(posted 27 July
2002; latest update 15 June