The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
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     In 2002, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the inclusion of the phrase “under God” in the pledge to the American flag is unconstitutional. In their ruling, the Court, which has jurisdiction over nine western states, held that the phrase “one nation under God” violated the establishment clause of the first amendment presented in the U.S. Constitution. According to the Court, the United States Congress did not have the right or responsibility to incorporate the phrase “under God” into the pledge back in 1954 because such an action was tantamount to promoting a specific religion by the government.
     In 2010, the same Court overturned the earlier decision determining that inclusion of “under God” does not promote a national religion in violation of the Constitution. Writing for the majority, Judge Carlos T. Bea declared, “The Pledge of Allegiance serves to unite our vast nation through the proud recitation of some of the ideals upon which our Republic was founded and for which we continue to strive: one Nation under God–the Founding Fathers’ belief that the people of this nation are endowed by their Creator.”
     I’m not a political scientist so I may not understand fully the rhyme or reason underlying the Court’s initial decision. While acknowledging that the Court’s action in 2010 may offer encouragement to many, I also recognize that the “proud recitation” of a pledge with the phrase “one nation under God” does not automatically “unite our vast nation” or mesh the citizenry of this country into a Christian country. Although we may be a “religious” or “godly” country in one sense, I’m afraid that we worship the wrong thing(s) and person(s). Someone accurately submitted that we worship our work, work at our play, and play at our worship.
     Perhaps now, more than ever, we need to be a nation “under” God rather than trying to live as peers “beside” God or superiors “above” God. I suppose that the ruling of the 9th Circuit Court or any court is of little consequence unless Christians in America reevaluate, reposition, and refocus our hearts and lives on the Lord above. In fact, the Court may have done Christians in America a favor by offering a wake-up call to live and serve in accordance with the example of Christ who we say that we love and follow.
     Isaiah saw God “seated on His throne, high and exalted” with the seraphim calling “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.” Isaiah also recognized himself for who he really was and he recognized a world in need. When our perspective of God and self is parallel to Isaiah’s perspective of God and self, then we can refer to ourselves truthfully as “one nation under God.”

     As you pray this week, ask God to help you to be the kind of citizen that exemplifies Christ in attitude, action, word, and deed. Pray that you would submit completely to the Lordship of Jesus Christ as you help others to remain “under God.”