Wednesday, July 3, 2019

One Nation, Under God … Indivisible?

American flag on carrier USS York in Mount Pleasant, S.C.
If you’ve been reading my posts for very long, you know Independence Day means a lot to me. Because I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy – born on the Fourth of July – as the refrain from the old George M. Cohan song goes. Every time we celebrate another anniversary of the founding of the United States, I unfurl our flag, put on one of my patriotic T-shirts, and enjoy a fireworks show, whether in person or on TV.

I’ve lost count of the photos I’ve taken of American flags – even in Italy. I’m convinced red, white and blue never have – and never will – look as good as they do on Old Glory. Hearing the “Star-Spangled Banner” always fills me with pride for our nation, despite its flaws. Lee Greenwood’s classic tune, “Proud to Be an American” peps me up, and John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” makes me want to find a parade and march.

Replica of colonial flag waving at Charleston, S.C. home.
If only it were this way for everyone who benefits from living in the USA, the most free country in the world. I suppose we’re spoiled. Too much of a good thing can do that to you. Some burn the flag to make a statement. (Don’t ask me what I think they’re saying.) Others take a knee, or sit, when they hear the National Anthem of our country that so many shed blood to defend. Yes, they’re free to do this – but don’t they see the hypocrisy in such actions?

These days the Pledge of Allegiance has become controversial. When I was in grade school we recited the Pledge every day, concluding with the words, “…one nation, under God, indivisible….” Sadly, the “indivisible” description seems antiquated as our nation has become divided, according to some unlike ever before. We’ve become a country of extremes, with little room for common ground. “Tolerance” has come to mean being intolerant of any views that differ from our own.

Perhaps that little phrase, “under God, indivisible,” identifies why we find ourselves no longer “indivisible.” Because some factions of society insist we shouldn’t be “under God.” But I think the wording from the pledge is correct: A United States of America can only be truly indivisible if the source of our unity comes from being under GodOtherwise, it’s everyone for themselves, as the ancient Israelites were described in the Old Testament (Judges 21:25) – doing “what’s right in their own eyes” – when they determined no longer to submit to a sovereign God.

American flag flying in Capri, Italy.
We can’t directly equate the USA to ancient Israel, but I believe the underlying principles still apply. The Israelites prospered and thrived under leaders who were devoted to God. But when leaders wavered in their faith, or were replaced by ungodly leaders, the nation suffered.

Psalm 33:12 tells us, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chose for His inheritance.” We see this declaration affirmed in Psalm 144:15, “Blessed are the people of whom this is true, blessed are the people whose God is the Lord.”

Historical revisionists would have us believe the so-called “separation of church and state” meant that matters of faith should be excluded from the public square. However,The Founders’ Bible argues to the contrary. In hundreds of documents compiled by historian David Barton, we find writings from many of our nation’s founding fathers who believed the United States could not survive apart from a foundation based on reverence for God.

We live in a time and culture very different from when our nation was founded in 1776. However, we worship the same unchanging, unchangeable God. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). If we are again to become truly “United,” we must somehow return to our roots. I pray that will be so – and soon.

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