By Dr. John Ed Mathison
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries
Should we say “Under God” in our Pledge and should our coins bear the motto “In God We Trust”? Sacramento atheist Michael Newdow entered three law suits saying that God should be removed from the Pledge and the coins. He says the phrase alienates non-religious people in the U. S.
An initial ruling in 2002 by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Newdow. Recently the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed its decision and said that the phrase “under God” can remain in the Pledge of Allegiance because the phrase is religious but does not represent a prayer. A similar ruling was issued about “In God We Trust” being our motto on our currency because it said the use of “God” is ceremonial and patriotic, but not religious.
I am glad the Court reversed itself, but I regret it was done for the reasons stated. God has never been just a patriotic or ceremonial term.
Amos wrote, “For thus says the LORD to the house of Israel: ‘Seek Me and live’.” (Amos 5:4) David wrote, “Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.” (Psalm 127:1) The Bible got it right!
The first pilgrims made it clear that the colonies were being established “to the glory of God.” The framers of our first Constitution recognized the role of God in our independence. Benjamin Franklin said, “The longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?” Thomas Jefferson said, “The liberties of a nation are secure only when there is a firm conviction in the minds of her people that these liberties are the gift of God.”
The Preamble to the Constitution of each of the fifty states contains some reference to God. 40 states specifically call Him God, while the other 10 refer to Supreme Ruler, Creator, Supreme Being, etc. Our forefathers got it right!
The debate to remove God was gaining momentum at the turn of this century. A lot of that quickly changed when 9/11 occurred. Congressmen and government leaders on 9/12/01 quit debating about the use of God in public settings and joined hands on the Capitol steps and started praying and singing “God Bless America.” Baseball stadiums dropped the traditional 7th inning “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” and replaced it with “God Bless America.” It is amazing to me that we even debate this issue. We are here because of the goodness and grace of God. We will survive and prosper only as we accept God’s grace and goodness and live appropriately.
When Francis Scott Key penned our National Anthem, he ended that first verse with a question, “O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?” That is a legitimate question to ask today.
Most people don’t know that there are other verses to the National Anthem. Many think the next verse is “play ball.”
The last verse ends with these words – “Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto: ‘In God We Trust’.” Then he ends that verse, not with a question, but a statement. When we know what our motto is – “In God We Trust” – the future is not a question. That verse ends with the affirmation “And the star-spangled banner in triumph shallwave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”
Francis Scott Key got it right! The Bible got it right! Our fore fathers got it right! Isn’t it time that we get it right?
John Ed’s blog posts appear each Thursday in For His Glory.
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