Spirituality for Today – June 2015 – Volume 19, Issue 11

America – God's Team
Pledge of Allegiance

Rev. Raymond Petrucci

A photo of a US flag

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.

Sixty-one years ago the Knights of Columbus launched a successful effort to honor the place of the Divine in the hearts and minds of those who forged this county and the documents that codify the reasons for that quest. The words "under God" were added to the Pledge of Allegiance.

There can be no doubt that those words, perhaps the Pledge of Allegiance itself, will be under fire from a secularist push to remove all references to faith and God from the public square. On this month in which we honor the flag and the Pledge of Allegiance, I believe that a brief reminder of the central role played by the Judeo/Christian faith and its moral teachings in the formation and the very spirit of American life is appropriate. I offer some thoughts from a few of our leaders and commentators on America, our flag, our faith, and our understanding of nationhood throughout our history:

Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first, the most basic expression of Americanism.

Dwight. D. Eisenhower
The preservation of liberty depends on the intellectual and moral character of the people. As long as knowledge and virtue are diffused generally among the body of a nation, it is impossible they should be enslaved.
John Adams
Our rights come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

John F. Kennedy
Although no exact comparative statistics exist, it seems probable that in no other country is the flag so pervasively present and so central to national identity. The National Anthem is a salute to the flag. American's pledge allegiance "to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands…" This is, first to the symbol of the country and then to the country.

Samuel P. Huntington
Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible. His inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. Reinhold Niebuhr

The Pledge of Allegiance was composed by Francis Bellamy without reference to any particular country in hopes that it might be used universally. In 1923, the words, "the Flag of the United States of America" were added. Finally, in reaction to the atheistic nature of Communism, reference to God's essential presence within our understanding of being a nation was boldly affirmed. If we are to remain true to our Founding Fathers and to the underpinning of our national character, the idea and the ideal of America as "God's Team" must be confirmed and defended by each succeeding generation of Americans.