Keep Under God#039; in the Pledge

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 5, 2003

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

Each of us has at some time recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

We do this because we believe in our nation and what it stands for, and each time we state this pledge we reaffirm our commitment to support our country and to make America an even better place in which to live.

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Several years ago I taught a Bible class and we engaged in a discussion about what it means to be a good citizen.

I have kept my notes from that discussion and recently reviewed them in preparation for this week’s column.

Among the fine answers which I received from my class were the following: (1) to be a good friend, brother, sister, father, mother; (2) to be a dependable, faithful, and skilled worker in home, in school, field, factory or office; (3) to be an intelligent, honest, useful and loyal citizen, with faith in God and love of fellowman; and (4) to recognize the brotherhood of man and to live by the golden rule.

You could probably pen several additional ways to be a good citizen, but these are some which have been aspirations that have brought happiness and achievement to the America we all love.

You will note that included among the answers I have listed is &uot;a faith or belief in God&uot;.

To me this is an essential part of good citizenship.

This very faith I speak of is found at its best in the lives and writings of great American leaders who established the roots of our country.

George Washington set the tone for our system of government when he repeatedly expressed his dependence on God in his inaugural addresses and his major speeches as the first president of our country.

Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Abraham Lincoln and many other leaders of our past have affirmed their belief in God as the source of our creation and the sustainer of our system of government.

It is, therefore, extremely alarming to me that the ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Friday refused to reconsider its ruling that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional because of the words &uot;under God.&uot;

I think the time has come to ask the bold question, &uot;Has our nation lost it’s way?&uot;

The Bible clearly states that we are created by God, our system of government is ordained by God, and it is to God that we will give an account of our deeds on this earth.

If those who oppose having &uot;under God&uot; in our Pledge of Allegiance are successful in getting it declared unconstitutional, then the phrase on our coins, &uot;In God We Trust&uot;, very will likely be their next target.

I think it is also conceivable that an effort would be made to remove the opening prayer from the U.S. Congress and the Alabama Legislature, a tradition which has been a part of the process since we became a nation and since Alabama became a state.

I was pleased to see where the United States Attorney General, John Ashcroft, condemned the decision of the federal Circuit Court and stated that the U.S. Justice Department will do everything possible to preserve the rights of all citizens to pledge allegiance to the American flag.

I was disappointed that Mr. Ashcroft, in his public statement, did not make a firm commitment to appealing the ruling of the Court and I think this is something that must be done.

The direction our country is taking with respect to allegiance to God is very scary to me.

Our belief in God is the moral fiber upon which all decisions must be made, without which we are very likely to cease to exist as a civilization.

I know this is a bold statement, but I think history is replete with examples of what happens to a people when they stray from God.

I do hope the words &uot;under God&uot; can be retained in our Pledge of Allegiance.

I think it is essential to the future of our country.

Until next time remember &uot;I’ll go with you or I’ll go for you&uot; to help you solve any problem related to state government.

Senator Wendell Mitchell can be reached at 334-242-7883, or by writing to P O Box 225, Luverne, Alabama 36049.