Politics and the Church – God, Jesus, the Church, Religion & Society [Part 8]

After God delivered His people from bondage in Egypt and set them on their way to becoming an independent nation, He stopped them in the wilderness and delivered to them the structure and civil laws that would both define and govern the new nation. Moses called the people together and explained these requirements; when the people heard and understood, they pledged their adherence, or allegiance, declaring,”All the words which the Lord has spoken we will do!” (Exodus 24:3)  In fact, on numerous occasions, the people pledged themselves and their fidelity to the nation and its laws as established by the Lord (Exodus 24:7; Exodus 19:3-8; Deuteronomy 27:6-26; 1 Chronicles 16:15-36; Psalm 106:34-48).

Americans also pledge adherence, fidelity, and allegiance to our country as established by God.  Our original Pledge of Allegiance was penned in 1892 by the Rev. Francis Bellamy and was used by educators in Chicago during the 400th anniversary celebration of Columbus landing in the New World.  Then in 1923 and 1924, the phrase “the flag of the United States of America” was added to replace Rev. Bellamy’s original “my flag”, thus causing the Pledge to become:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America

     and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible,

     with liberty and justice for all.

In 1942, the Pledge was officially added to the U.S. Flag Code.

On 7 February 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower was sitting on the front row along with several congressmen and senators at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church.  The pastor that morning was Rev. George Docherty of Scotland.  He started that morning’s sermon by reviewing the central role that God had played in American history.  He affirmed that America had taken the precepts of the Bible and incorporated them into American life and culture, acknowledging God as being essential to our core American identity.  During the message he compared the Soviet Union with the United States.  Even at that time Russia called itself a democratic country.  However, one fundamental concept alone differentiates the view of one State from the other, and this is a spiritual rather than a political concept…As soon as the phrase “Under God” is included in the pledge, it separates it fundamentally from the Communist view of the nation and its interpretation of liberty and freedom.  Following the sermon, President Eisenhower went to Pastor Docherty and told him, “I think you’ve got something!”  The next day, a bill was introduced to add Under God to the Pledge.  Members of Congress pointed to this sermon as the reason and inspiration for the law.  Four months later, Eisenhower signed the bill into law.  As the result of a sermon, each and every day across America, millions declare their pledge of adherence, fidelity, and allegiance to a nation that was founded “under God” and upon His principles.  This is just one of many examples of how the church has had a major influence on our nation.  It would be a shame to let that influence pass into oblivion.  No wonder the secular world wants to remove the Pledge from our schools, sporting events, and government meetings.

Next week we will take a look at morality and worldview.

– Bob Munsey

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