A co-worker who knows I’m a Christian asked what I thought about the news story of the pastor planning to fly the Christian flag over the American flag this Independence Day.
I’d not heard about that story so I had not formed an opinion about it except to ask, him, “There's a Christian flag? What does it look like?”
Later I looked up the story to find this matter is hardly a new one. While I doubt few Christians would argue that God’s authority supersedes that of every nation, my initial thought is that flag positioning is essentially symbolic although it takes on special significance in certain situations.
I recall reciting the Pledge of Allegiance while facing the flag with my hand on my heart at the beginning of each school day as a child. As to the last time I recited the pledge, I don’t recall.
I never did locate the particular story my colleague was referencing but did run across some older stories about lawsuits filed to remove the words “under God” from the pledge of allegiance. The pledge we Americans have recited since 1954 is:
Interesting to learn that the original pledge was written in August 1892 by a socialist minister, Francis Bellamy (1855-1931). Then it read:
"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Bellamy intended that the pledge would be used by citizens in any country.
In 1923, the word “my” was replaced by "the Flag of the United States of America" and in 1954, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words "under God" to counter the atheistic communist threat of that time in the form of Russia.
While the current pledge has stood for 63 years, it has indeed been nuanced since originally penned by Bellamy 125 years ago. Good to note that while reciting the pledge is a rich American tradition, reciting it is not a requirement or law. Due to the liberty promoted by this pledge, the citizens covered by it may freely skip any and all words they find offensive.
Interesting how our very freedoms allow us to individually stand against anyone and everyone that we choose. However, as we decide to employ courts to force choices that increasingly segment and divide, don't we place "indivisible" in serious jeopardy? And all I have to say right now about trends to expel all references of God in our laws and infrastructures is "implosion."
In my mind the flag and the pledge go together and I do and will always hold our country, its government and all its patriotic traditions as “under God” even if the legal and governing authorities rule otherwise.
My first allegiance is, after all, to Christ’s kingdom that Jesus himself noted is not of this world. (See John 18:36)