I pledge allegiance to the Flag
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic,
for which it stands;
U N D E R G O D
with liberty and justice
I pledge allegiance to the flag...
Remember when you learned those words? It was back when everything was simple. The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, the circulation manager of the Boston based "The Youth's Companion" magazine. The end of the Nineteenth Century was a much simpler time. The world was a much simpler place. It is not so simple anymore.
When we recite those seemingly patriotic words, what are we really pledging our allegiance to? To the flag? To the United States? To the Republic for which it stands?
If we are to pledge our allegiance, let it be to an ideal. That ideal should be the American way of life as prescribed by the Constitution. The Constitution was designed to provide the essential ingredient in the recipe for the American Dream.
Pray with me that this Country will always remain
One Nation, united under God's Protection and Love!
AMERICA IS A 'GOD-IDEA'
"Let every nation know....whether it wishes us well or ill....
that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship,
support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and
the success of LIBERTY"
~John F. Kennedy ~
January 20, 1961
Why the Pledge
"Under God" is the firm link to U.S. security.
BY DANIEL HENNINGER
Friday, June 18, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT
How appropriate that the U.S. Supreme Court's non-decision allowing the words "under God" to live awhile longer in the Pledge of Allegiance should come just days after Ronald Reagan's funeral. The days of Reagan remembrance struck many strong notes but none more so than when the Armed Forces Chorus sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."
Julia Ward Howe's great song was sung as well at the funerals of Winston Churchill and Robert Kennedy. It is the music of choice when one's goal is to match the grandeur of the nation to a public life. But it goes without saying that should any school district in America establish, if one may use that word, the singing of Ms. Howe's hymn each Friday afternoon at a week-ending convocation, the Supreme Court would banish it.
Julia Howe's "Battle Hymn," written at a Union Army camp on the Potomac, is way, way over the Court's quota of capitalized "h" words--He is trampling, His sword, His day, the Hero born of woman, and His truth.
But still--even the most devout atheist can't tamp down the tearful wellings of national pride that erupt in most of us when a strong chorus sings "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord . . . His truth is marching on."
The long historical truth is that God, whether He exists or not, is good for summoning national pride, communal bonds and the martial spirit--the qualities most necessary to ensuring the survival of the United States at its current level of pre-eminence. (If the U.S.'s current level of pre-eminence is what galls you most, stop reading.)
When in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance schoolchildren stand and say together that their one, indivisible, just and liberty-loving nation exists under God, they are admitting an organizing force in life other than their cute, little selves.
Arguably, the role of God or religion in the nation's life wouldn't matter very much if the relations among all nations resembled the Garden of Eden. Since that famous, unfortunate Fall, however, men and women have been called upon to die defending their country. That is asking a lot. The willingness to fight for one's nation has been a function of the patriotic impulse, and we summon that impulse, in part, with appeals to a higher purpose.
Through the ages this at times has led to quite awful undertakings in the name of
national pride, God or religion. But that's not us and likely never will be.
The Founders designed our system to prevent factions from abusing
state power; it is what they sought to prevent. America isn't merely a lucky
collection of admirable traditions. It was thought out.
Wholly secularizing America's public life, as the Pledge banners wish, is dangerous. The clear danger of pulling all God's threads from the national fabric was recognized here from day one. Two days ago on this page,
Samuel Huntington quoted George Washington: "Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles."
Visiting America years later, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote an astonishingly acute psychological rationale for what he called "the great usefulness of religions." Belief in God, he reasoned, is a socially unifying force that prevents democratized men from falling back solely on themselves--
a politically enervating status, he argued, which "prepares a people for bondage."
In 1992, the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in Sherman v. Community Consolidated School District--an "under God" Pledge of Allegiance case from Illinois--upheld the Pledge and made the national security argument in the plainest possible terms:
"Patriotism is an effort by the state to promote its own survival, and along the way to teach those virtues that justify its survival. Public schools help to transmit those virtues and values."
They do indeed. If today public schools can transmit environmental pantheism, as they do on behalf of whales and the air, they can transmit save-the-nation with a two-word reference to God. As a matter of fact, one of the briefs filed in the 2004 Newdow case against the Pledge came from Associated Pantheist Groups. As well as Atheists for Human Rights, Seattle Atheists et al. and of course the ACLU.
It is unwise to make light of their views; at least five Supreme Court justices are closer to the political thought of the Atheist Law Center than any expressed here. The Court ruled 5-4 in 1992, in Lee v. Weisman, that a rabbi's graduation prayer ("O God, we are grateful for the learning we have celebrated") was an "attempt to employ the machinery of the State to enforce a religious orthodoxy." This has come to be known as the "psychological coercion" test, and because of it the U.S. government, to satisfy the Court, must now argue that the Pledge has nothing to do with religion.
"Describing the republic as a nation 'under God,'" the Justice Department argued in the Pledge case, "is not the functional equivalent of prayer." Heaven forefend.
This innocuous little Pledge and its two words, "under God," has become for school children the last link joining national purpose to God--a union that is this country's best, proven hope for ensuring national strength. When that link is finally broken, the U.S. will start to become, like certain other nations --smart, sophisticated, agnostic and save for nuclear bombs, inexorably weak. That is one test case I'd as soon not try.
Mr. Henninger is deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page.
His column appears Fridays in the Journal and on OpinionJournal.com.
(LJC) As the world seems to be teetering on the brink of massive chaos if not total destruction, both through human ignorance as well as by natural disaster, people in high public office as well as those with personal bias regarding the existence and or importance of a High Directing Power in the Life of men and Nations, also teeter on the brink.....
Mr. Henninger's words point out the benefit to a Nation of a peoples' basic Belief in a common Spiritual Source. I would take it a step further and state the need of people everywhere to understand the 'Power of that Source/God' as It acts in the lives of people and Nations. Many do believe in the 'Power of God' but fail to see how personal and upfront this 'Power' is as the only sustaining, Creative Essence at work everywhere in the Universe. People fail to see how the human being vibrates positively to this Essence, feeling it as Love, whether or as It flows from the Heavens or from and between individuals.
For me it stands to reason that people as individuals or as Nations cannot
sustain their lives without the Active Presence of that POWER of LOVE
vibrating and coursing through their lives.
We have only to look around to see where life on this Planet
needs more of that Cosmic Power of Love.
I often wonder why we fail to see that a strong connection to an Almighty
Power, that dispenses nothing but Love, is all that is required to put out the
fires of hate, either in our hearts or in the hearts of Nations.
How can nations unleash war upon those they respect and love....
How can individuals fail to 'be there' for those they love?
The answer is: They can't. For Love is always the Presence of God
and where 'God' is, people live in peace and harmony
with their neighbors and with their environment.
"The Pledge of Allegiance"
here are the words of
Senator John McCain
As you may know, I spent five and one half years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. In the early years of our imprisonment, the NVA kept us in solitary confinement or two or three to a cell. In 1971 the NVA moved us from these conditions of isolation into large rooms with as many as 30 to 40 men to a room.
This was, as you can imagine, a wonderful change and was a direct result of the efforts of millions of Americans on behalf of a few hundred POWs 10,000 miles from home.
One of the men who moved into my room was a young man named Mike Christian. Mike came from a small town near Selma, Alabama. He didn't wear a pair of shoes until he was 13 years old. At 17, he enlisted in the US Navy. He later earned a commission by going to Officer Training School. Then he became a Naval Flight Officer and was shot down and captured in 1967.
Mike had a keen and deep appreciation of the opportunities this country and our military provide for people who want to work and want to succeed. As part of the change in treatment, the Vietnamese allowed some prisoners to receive packages from home. In some of these packages were handkerchiefs, scarves and other items of clothing. Mike got himself a bamboo needle. Over a period of a couple of months, he created an American flag and sewed on the inside of his shirt.
Every afternoon, before we had a bowl of soup, we would hang Mike's shirt on the wall of the cell and say the Pledge of Allegiance. I know the Pledge of Allegiance may not seem the most important part of our day now, but I can assure you that in that stark cell it was indeed the most important and meaningful event.
One day the Vietnamese searched our cell, as they did periodically, and discovered Mike's shirt with the flag sewn inside, and removed it. That evening they returned, opened the door of the cell, and for the benefit of all of us, beat Mike Christian severely for the next couple of hours.
Then, they opened the door of the cell and threw him in. We cleaned him up as well as we could. The cell in which we lived had a concrete slab in the middle on which we slept. Four naked light bulbs hung in each corner of the room.
As I said, we tried to clean up Mike as well as we could. After the excitement died down, I looked in the corner of the room, and sitting there beneath that dim light bulb with a piece of red cloth, another shirt and his bamboo needle, was my friend, Mike Christian. He was sitting there with his eyes almost shut from the beating he had received, making another American flag. He was not making the flag because it made Mike Christian feel better. He was making that flag
because he knew how important it was to us to be able to Pledge our allegiance
to our flag and country.
So the next time you say the Pledge of Allegiance, you must never forget the sacrifice and courage that thousands of Americans have made to build our nation and promote freedom around the world. You must remember our duty, our honor, and our country
"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."
So, again, today, I ask you to join me in Invoking the Presence of the
Power of Love which is the Power of Freedom, and the Power of Peace on Earth
in whatever 'prayer mode' is the most powerful for you.
I ask the Great Being we know as 'Jesus' the Christ
to take up our prayer and expand its Power as only the Great Ones can.
as together we Call to God.
Almighty Heavenly Supreme Being
Our own Mighty 'I AM' Presence
Beloved Mighty Beings and Powers of Light,
all Who Love and serve mankind
In full Conscious Recognition we call into action
the Cosmic Christ Power of the Love of God
with such a Mighty Force and Onrush of the Irresistible Power of Divine Love,
that all destructive, ungodly human consciousness,
is annihilated instantly everywhere forever!
We invoke This Mighty Cosmic Power
in full Knowledge that our Call to God compels the Answer.
We accept the
Mighty Release of Oceans of Cosmic Christ Energy,
The Pure Energy of Cosmic Freedom and Peace....
Let it now enfold the Earth and all Life thereon....
We accept God's Pure Christ Energy here,
knowing It is Energy that can never be requalified with our negative
thoughts, feelings, actions or unkind words.
We thank thee.
It is done! Accept our Gratitude and Praise.
Lois J Crawford
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