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“One Nation under God”
by Catherine Millard

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States
America and to the Republic for which it stands,
one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

From whence does “Under God” originate, and what does it mean? Webster’s Dictionary sheds light on the meanings for the word “under,” as follows:

The Meaning

Under:  preposition.  

l.      in a position down from; below; lower than;
2.    covered; surmounted; enveloped or concealed by;
3.     in a position of inferiority or subordination to; subject to the rule, government, direction, guidance, instruction,  
      or influence of; as, he is under my care; I served under his father.
4.     with the sanction, authorization, permission or protection of; 
5.     being the subject of; subject to.

     From the above, it is clear that “One Nation under God” means: a nation in subjection to, under the direction, guidance, instruction, influence, sanction, protection and authority of God’s Word — the Holy Scriptures being God’s voice to man.

     A most serious dilemma prevails in America at the present time —one which threatens her very survival — nay, existence — as a sovereign nation.  That is, the ACLU’s case with the U.S. Supreme Court, demanding that “Under God” be expunged from the nation’s Pledge of Allegiance.

     This ACLU attack traces its source to the organization’s hidden agenda, its policies targeting every vestige of America’s Christian heritage, inherent in her history, culture, civilization, symbolism, art, artifacts, inscriptions, traditions; her way of life “under God” being the nation’s  anchor and strength. The goal of the ACLU is to strip America of her sovereignty and freedoms — a gift from God — as the Declaration of Independence so boldly proclaims.

     The American Civil Liberties Union (alias the ACLU’s) hidden agenda (Policy No. 84) calls for the removal of “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance (to the U.S. Flag) and the Republic for which it stands.

     The above represents a direct affront to Abraham Lincoln, whose phrase “this nation under God” in his famed Gettysburg Address, orchestrated Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Act of Congress in 1954, establishing permanently “One Nation under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

The Origin of “under God”

     The origins of “under God” stem from the Mayflower Compact, a charter drawn up and signed on November 11, 1620 by the Pilgrims, electing their own officers, and binding themselves to work together “for the advancement of the Christian faith, for the glory of God, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God and one another” covenanting and combining themselves together into a civil body politic, for their better ordering and preservation, and furtherance of the ends aforesaid…

     Having been blown off-course by a mighty thunderstorm, they were no longer under the First Jamestown Charter; nor were they under the monarchy — but simply “under God,” that is, under His authority.  From this simple mutual agreement, took form the first American Common-wealth, the beginning of “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

     The Declaration of Independence, authored by Thomas Jefferson and signed by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, reiterates this eternal truth:  that God created each American citizen equal (i.e. before birth) and gave each person as a gift, certain unalienable rights (i.e. they cannot be removed), because, wrote Jefferson, these rights were bestowed upon each citizen by Almighty God before birth, i.e. life, liberty and the freedom to pursue happiness:

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… And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

    Many years later, Abraham Lincoln, who based his two presidencies upon the Declaration of Independence, reiterated this eternal Truth pertaining to the American Republic in his famed Gettysburg Address, a two-minute, profound speech, dedicating the new cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863.   Lincoln commences with Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, and concludes with the assertion that “this nation under God” shall have a new birth of freedom (i.e. the nation would be under the authority of His Word, after the curse of slavery — an offense against God — had been removed from American soil):

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal… we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation under God, shall have a new birth of  freedom, and that this government of the people, by the people, for the  people shall not perish from the earth.

      Lincoln was the first president to use these meaningful and compelling words “this nation under God” in reference to America, denoting dependence upon Almighty God, her Benefactor and Sustainer.

     After his death in 1865, each year, on the Sunday preceding February 12, a “Lincoln Day Observance Service” is held at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, his parish church, situated just two blocks from the White House.  In 1954, Dwight Eisenhower was in attendance with his wife at this service.  So moved was the president by George Docherty’s sermon entitled “Under God,” taken from Lincoln’s words, that he initiated action in Congress to have it permanently made a part of the Pledge of Allegiance (to the Flag):

“Under God”

Sermon preached by
Dr. George M. Docherty,
New York Avenue Presbyterian Church,
Sunday, February 7, 1954: 

     …And where did all this come from? It has been with us so long, we have to recall the people who laid stress on the fundamentals brought it here. They called themselves Puritans because they wished to live the pure and noble life purged of all idolatry and enslavement of the mind, even by the church. They did not realize that in fleeing from tyranny and setting up a new life in a new world they were to be the fathers of a mighty nation.

     These fundamental concepts of life had been given to the world from Sinai, where the moral law was graven upon tables of stone, symbolizing the universal application to all men; and they came from the New Testament, where they heard in the words of Jesus of Nazareth the living Word of God for the world.

     This is the American way of life. Lincoln saw this clearly. History for him was the Divine Comedy, though he would not use that phrase. The providence of God was being fulfilled.

     Wherefore, he claims that it is under God that this nation shall know a new birth of freedom. And by implication, it is under God that “government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.” For Lincoln, since God was in His Heaven, all must ultimately be right for his country.

     Russia claims to have liberty. You will never understand the Communist mind until you realize this aberration of their judgment. Marx in his dialectic, makes it clear that the communist state is only an imperfect stage toward true socialism. When that day comes, the state will wither away and thus socialism will reign forever. Utopia will have dawned. Until that day there must be personal limitations. As the capitalist state limits freedom in the day of war, so must the workers of the world accept this form of restricted freedom. Besides, claims Marx, trouble arises when you give men their unrestricted freedom. Human freedom always proliferates into license and gives rise to greed and war. They might claim that their servitude is perfect freedom.

     Again the Communists claim there is justice in Russia. They have their law court. They have their elections with universal suffrage. When pressed to the point, they will admit there is really only one candidate because the people are so unanimous about that way of life.

     They call their way of life “democratic.” One of the problems statesmen find in dealing with Russia is one of semantics, of definition. Russia says she is democratic and we are Fascist; we claim to be democratic and call Russia communist.

     What, therefore is missing in the Pledge of Allegiance that Americans have been saying off and on since 1892, and officially since 1942? The one fundamental concept that completely and ultimately separates Communist Russia from the democratic institutions of this country. This was seen clearly by Lincoln. Under God this people shall know a new birth of freedom, and “under God” are the definitive words.

     Now, Lincoln was not being original in that phrase. He was simply reminding the people of the basis upon which the Nation won its freedom in its Declaration of Independence. He went back to Jefferson as he did in a famous speech delivered at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on February 22, 1861, two years before the Gettysburg Address. “All the political sentiments I entertain have been drawn from the sentiments which originated and were given to the world from this hall. I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence.” 

     Listen again to the fundamentals of this Declaration:

     “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…”

     In Jefferson’s phrase, if we deny the existence of the God who gave us life, how can we live by the liberty He gave us at the same time? This is a God-fearing nation. On our coins, bearing the imprint of Lincoln and Jefferson are the words “In God we trust.” Congress is opened with prayer. It is upon the Holy Bible the President takes his oath of office. Naturalized citizens, when they take their oath of allegiance, conclude, solemnly, with the words “so help me God.”

     This is the issue we face today: A freedom that respects the rights of the minorities, but is defined by a fundamental belief in God. A way of life that sees man, not as the ultimate outcome of a mysterious concantenation of evolutionary process, but a sentiment being created by God and seeking to know His will, and “Whose soul is restless till he rest in God…1

     As the State Motto for South Dakota, written by Dr. Joseph Ward, first missionary to the Dakota’s, so aptly reiterates, “Under God the People Rule.” Without God, the people perish. 

            1 Excerpted from The Christian Heritage of the 50 United States of America, 2000 by Catherine Millard.



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