Monday, December 01, 2008

One Nation Under God

The Rev. George M. Docherty, who is credited with getting the words "under God" added to the Pledge of Allegiance, has passed away.

"Under God" was added to the Pledge in 1954 during the height of the Cold War. Literally added at a time when many felt the end of the world could be at hand because of nuclear bombs - the words helped differentiate our country from that of the "Godless" Communist Russians who could not pledge allegiance to both God and their country at the same time.

It is said that there are no atheists in foxholes and it is also true that at times of combat our country turns to God. The words "Under God" being added when they were is a prime example. Another example is the words "In God We Trust" being added to our currency during the Civil War. Church attendance soaring after 9/11 is another exhibit of the country turning to God in times of stress.

Many believe that much of this stems from the fact that God is not mentioned at all in our Constitution. That has always bothered some. They are afraid it makes the United States itself a Godless country. Or that it shows a lack of gratitude for the freedom and bounty the country enjoys.

Perhaps the best resource for the relationship of Christianity and the United States is the book Head and Heart: A History of Christianity in America by Garry Wills. I highly recommend the book.

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