by John Roby
Taken alone, these two words describe the natural state of man. It is both where every man resides and a hint of the limitless potential for joy inherent in the Creator’s promise. We all exist under God, even those who choose to deny Him and His existence. Under God.
In the context of the larger pledge, ‘under God’ (although added in 1954 as some tirelessly point out) is a continuance of the unbroken historical thread which runs back to the founding father’s original declaration separating the colonies from an oppressive Britain. As we recite the Pledge of Allegiance, we repeat the challenge that a small group of farmers and merchants flung into the teeth of what was then the world’s super power: What you do is unjust because it violates an Authority greater than your king and we will tolerate it no more.
As we repeat the phrase, ‘under God,’ we repeat the promise that those men secured with their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor. We acknowledge the Author of the rights of men and that we will strive make those rights flesh in the laws we craft, in the way we conduct our national business and in how we choose to relate to the world. Such is the obligation of the governments of men: To enforce the inalienable rights in the justice of their actions.
Under God means that this nation, unique in the history of human governance, stands united under the recognition of the universal rights of men and the Being who endowed us with those rights. It is a reminder of the self-evident truth that under God, all men are equal and so they must be in the eyes of our laws. That although our citizens identify with various creeds, they are one under a uniting principle which melds us into a sovereign nation. We all believe in the inalienable rights, even if some of us choose to disregard the Author. They are our birthright.
This nation under God is imperfect, because men are imperfect. But under God reminds us that we must always look to Him in crafting our laws and in delivering our justice. That any matter which falls short of His promise in our eyes will surely fall short in His. We cannot achieve His perfection in any endeavor but under God reminds us of the responsibility to try. To keep what He has given us in the front of all things regarding the affairs of state.
Finally, under God reminds us He’s watching. That a people grown too complacent, too decadent, too petulant, a government grown too arrogant, too unjust too amoral; no longer stands united under God because they’ve strayed too far from the Author of their rights. That when we lose sight of His promise and the rights He has endowed us with, our authority to govern holds no more credence than did King George’s. Ours is a republic if we can keep it. But we can only keep it if we keep the moral contract inherent in the words, ‘Under God.’
John Roby is a former broadcast journalist turned IT project manager and amateur political pundit. John served the United States Army and Army National Guard from 1986-1998 both as an enlisted man and later as a commissioned officer. He has written news stories for both the print and broadcast media, but has found writing for personal enjoyment and expression is novel to him. Rrecently he has found himself compelled to write on a number of issues that matter most to him personally, finding the experience, not to mention the response, beneficial and cathartic.