What I have to say here may be perceived with surprise, but I hope you’ll hear me out.
There are some thoughts from another direction, other than the usual atheistic anti-God perspective concerning this phrase “one nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge and reactions to it bring up interesting points, and maybe we ought to approach them and one another with more thought than reactivity.
First of all the pledge was written by a socialist, which may surprise a lot of patriotic people. What may have been the agenda behind that? Who knows? It wasn’t until 1954 that the phrase “under God” was added under the Eisenhower administration, during the Cold War and the threat of atheistic communism. Those were days when people of the USA embraced pretty much the same values and views, whether they talked about it or not. There had just been a costly and exhausting world war that ended with the detonations of nuclear weapons. And perhaps that made people consider anew, what’s at stake here and who’s really running the show?
See http://www.ushistory.org/documents/pledge.htm for a good overview on the Pledge.
Secondly I’m not sure I can “pledge” to the predominating socialist agenda and direction toward which the nation is being led. The question arises, what are we pledging to at any given point in history when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance? That oddly is the Achilles heal of Democracy: It’s strongest point – that everyone has a voice – can also bring about its downfall. If the predominating voice becomes that which stands against freedom and self determination, then where to from there?
Or is it a Republic and not a Democracy?
Third, for those of us embracing a Christian perspective, according to Matthew 5:34, we’re not to swear any oath at all, which is what the Pledge is in some minds. Oaths are binding, and the directive is that we are not bind ourselves to anything finite whether government or anything else. One reason is that all things in the universe are always subject to change, especially politics.
The dictionary I’m using calls a pledge a “promise, undertaking, vow, word, word of honor, commitment, assurance, oath, guarantee”. Military personnel salute when they say the pledge. But I suppose it depends on whether in your own heart and mind you regard the “Pledge” as a “salute” or an “oath” or any part of the foregoing definitions. Or might the Pledge be simply an affirmation concerning your heart felt personal convictions about the USA?
This is one of many cans of worms being opened in the 21st century. Personally as far as I’m concerned, it’s easy no matter who you are to either affirm “under God”, or to keep silent about it when the pledges is being recited. The question then is, to what or to Whom do I pledge, when I pledge the Pledge of Allegiance?
Our words in any case should not be spoken lightly, but thoughtfully. They carry great effect to bind or to set free. It’s time for everybody to stop reacting and put on our thinking caps.
I love the Pledge, and will probably continue to say it, although a lot more thought-fully including the words “one nation under God”… or is it “under God, indivisible…”? Or “under God Indivisible”? See the differences? This packs a lot of power for many of us.
I’m of the opinion that our issues cannot be resolved by other than the Divine Mind. Consequently when I say the Pledge, for me it also becomes a prayer, an appeal to One Who has the answers and will bring them about.