Monday, June 14 is Flag Day - the day set aside to honor the national flag. It is also the day when the 1954 Congress added the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance to set this nation apart from “godless communists.” On Flag Day, 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court protected this oath from an atheist who challenged the constitutionality of the phrase, and effectively quashed the victory he had almost gained in the name of godlessness.
The atheist, named Michael Newdow, initially brought his case to the San Francisco-based ninth circuit court of appeals 2 years ago. The justices of this notoriously liberal court ruled in favor of Newdow, who argued his case on behalf of his daughter – a ten-year-old under the sole custody of her Christian mother.
The ruling sparked immediate criticism from millions of Americans, including president Bush, who called on the Supreme Court to rule against Newdow on either constitutional or technical grounds. When this case was officially revisited on Monday, the high court decided on the latter: they addressed the question of Newdow’s custody of the child rather than the more important question on the constitutional merits of the pledge.
Still, three of eight justices announced that they would have ruled in favor of the pledge, even if the wider issue of its constitutionality were considered.
They are right.
Whether intended or not, a challenge against the pledge strikes at the very heart and soul of our nearly three century old American history. The Godly heritage of our land is evident in all fifty state constitutions, on every denomination of US currency and the Declaration of Independence. Each meeting of the House and Senate begins with a prayer to God and moreover, every U.S. Supreme Court case commences with the words, “God save this honorable court.” Following the logic of Newdow, all such references to deity must be removed from American public life for the nation to remain “constitutional.”
As stated by William Penn, one of America’s first great champions for liberty and peace, “Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants."
Leaving God out of our nation’s inheritance would take more than a decision of a handful of liberal judges; it would necessitate a radically atheistic revolution in America that effectively emasculates the history and our cherished values on which this nation and its people stand.