Sarah, from Creative Slips comments on the recent decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to prohibit the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is an unconstitutional ‘endorsement of religion’ because of the addition of the phrase ‘under God’ in 1954 by Congress. she says,
The recent appeals court ruling on the Pledge of Allegiance has made wonder – in a sort of fuzzy way (them painkillers can make thinking rather hard sometimes) – about the Christian response when politics and religion get thrown into the mix. Often the most common response when something this big occurs in the political realm that I hear among believers is, “Man, this country’s going to hell in a handbasket! They’re trying to take God out of the picture in this country!”
Who says so?
Just as the Church is not represented by a building with a steeple and pretty stained-glass windows – we, God’s people, make up the Church body – so it is with the Christian presence in America. Believers should not stake their Christianity on how many religious icons can be seen on public buildings (i.e., the posting of the Ten Commandments at City Hall, or even the “In God We Trust” logo on the dollar bill). What should matter is what is in the heart and spirit, and the believer’s personal relationship with God.
I’m inclined somehow to wonder if her reaction is justified in response to the way many Christians react to the stripping of God from the foundations of this country. I don’t think this is a matter of believers putting their faith on how many religious icons are depicted in public settings. I think many Christians are justifiably worried that the removal of the foundations that allowed America to be a great nation will cause its downfall. As a society, we have long ago ceased to teach some of the historically Christian roots our country has simply because we do not want to somehow influence people toward a certain religion. The very principles that guided the founding of this nation were drawn in part from Scripture, and to ignore history is to deprive our children of the facts they need to determine what to do when faced with decisions similar to our founding fathers.
Christians I think are better equipped than some to recognize this danger, because we do not fear or have reason to rebel against the history of this nation. But when we cry out the dangers, we are accused of trying to force our religion on other people, and laws are made and passed by judges who ignore the constitution that limit our ability to practice freely our faith.
I think the decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was wrong, and dangerous, and limiting of my freedoms to express my faith. Regardless of what I believe, the government has no right limit me. I would beg of you all to remember the actual words of our first amendment which says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The key word here is ‘establishment’. In no way does the posting of the Ten Commandments in our Supreme Court comprise the ‘establishment’ of a religion. Neither does prayer in schools, nor the references of God in our national anthem, motto, and pledge.