Today is Flag Day—an excellent time to reflect on the meaning of the phrase "one Nation under God" in Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
Over the last ten years, atheists have waged war on the phrase "under God" in the Pledge. The ACLU's position is that public schools should be barred from having students recite the phrase "under God" as part of the Pledge.
However, here is what you can teach to your children and the children in your church this summer:
Jefferson and our other Founding Fathers understood that the government does not give us our freedom. They believed that our freedom comes from God, and the government was established to protect that God-given freedom. That was their justification for the American Revolution as stated in the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson wrote:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men..."
No king or emperor, no president or congress, no court or crowd gives us our rights. They come from God himself and are unalienable. And the Founders built America's "foundation on such principles."
Lincoln understood that the nation's unity and freedom depended upon being one nation under God. He began his Gettysburg Address recognizing that America was conceived and dedicated to the idea of rights coming from God.
"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure."
One hundred years after the Gettysburg Address, in 1963, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington, D.C. In it, he indicated the basis for his civil rights actions rooted in biblical thinking:
"When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir....I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'"
The idea of our freedom coming from God at the time of creation is central to the American experience. Rooted in Christian history, it is reflected in important developments in every century of American history. In the 1700s, Jefferson based American liberties on the concept. In the 1800s, Lincoln drew on it in his Gettysburg Address. In the 1900s, Rev. King appealed to it as the underpinnings for justice in the Civil Rights movement.
On Sunday, July 3rd, you can help children and young people in your church understand the meaning of each phrase of the Pledge, Gateways to Better Education has produced a colorful poster. It is perfect for bedrooms or Sunday school and classroom bulletin boards. To read more about it, CLICK HERE.