'Under God' or outside divine jurisdiction?
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
It's ironic to think that the phrase "under God," presumably the one God, could divide the one nation called the United States.
There are so many contradictions of terms on both sides in the argument over the ruling of the US Court of Appeals, calling the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional because the phrase "under God" is forbidden under the establishment clause in the First Amendment. Although this ruling has been put on hold, the controversy over keeping the phrase as a qualifying term has not.
As many have noted, the phrase "under God" was added to the pledge in 1954 during the Cold War. It served to distinguish the United States' democratic government from avowed atheistic communist governments.
During World War II and immediately afterward, I flirted with communism. My friends, many in artistic fields, were card-holding members of the Communist Party.
We were greatly influenced by well-known writers and other intellectual leaders. Even the Bible was used as a proponent of communal living. "All that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need" (Acts 2:44, 45).
History informs us of what happened to the Soviet Union, a nation whose government was under atheism. The union fell apart. Would this have happened if those socialist principles, which essentially promise equity in meeting human needs, if divine direction had been sought? Can "liberty and justice for all" be attained without some recognition that the one God is the source of genuine equity?
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper on the egalitarian principle "to bless all mankind," has written, "The history of our country, like all history, illustrates the might of Mind, and shows human power to be proportionate to its embodiment of right thinking" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 225). Here the term Mind, being capitalized, is a Scripturally inspired name for God. Elsewhere in this textbook, we read, '"Reflecting God's government, man is self-governed" (pg. 125).
Herein is the key to good government, whether we speak of national governments, local or state, or family governance. Turning to God for direction, striving to find and do God's will, brings a control in our lives so that we do not impinge on the rights of others. Rather, our lives increasingly ensure liberty and justice for all humankind.
The symbolic gesture of our hand over our heart points to that which is more important than words, even though those words may have deep religious significance for many people.
Seeking heartfelt allegiance to governing principles that promote liberty and justice for all demands daily, even hourly, watchfulness. We often hear it said that one man's freedom- or liberty-fighter is another man's terrorist. Only a more inclusive and spiritual sense of liberty can save us from treading on another's liberty as we seek our own continuing freedom. And only divine justice embodies the qualities of mercy that comforts all. Whether spoken or unspoken, we do place all that governs our lives into God's hands, His/Her power, when we lay aside merely human opinions and bring all our thoughts into line with divine jurisdiction.
This suit brought before the federal appeals court, as well as all the issues regarding the separation of church and state, arouses us to think more deeply about the true governance of our lives. Political thinking and action should be subservient to the higher power that governs the universe with supernal equity. This government under God is cohesive and helps keep citizens united in preserving liberty and justice for all.
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
II Corinthians 3:17