RFI President Eric Patterson: Recovering the Meaning of ‘One Nation Under God’

June 14, 2023

RFI President Eric Patterson wrote an article published this week in WORLD Magazine titled, “One nation under God” on how Flag Day, observed each year on June 14, is an appropriate occasion “for Christian citizens to reflect on the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance, and in particular, the statement ‘one nation under God.'” Patterson writes:

Christians should rightly ask whether they should pledge allegiance to anything other than Jesus Christ as Lord overall. But the words of the pledge make clear that although the commitments are deep, they are not an idolatrous covenant to any man, political party, or ideology. “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands.” Note that the pledge is really not to a flag, but to a limited government under the rule of law. The flag represents the republic. Note that we are not pledging “to the Fatherland” or “the Reich” or “the Motherland,” as in some countries, where there is a cult of the state. Also note that the pledge is not to a person, like the famous oath to the Japanese Emperor or Chancellor Hitler during World War II. Instead, it is allegiance “to the republic.”

So this next phrase is particularly important: “One nation under God.” It provides moral limits on the nature of the allegiance to the republic. From a practical standpoint, there has always been the concern that antifaith forces would work to remove the words “under God” and that those two words would just the slip away into history, leaving us with, “one nation … indivisible.” Those are the same forces that would have us believe “under God” should be relegated to the past and removed from the present. They were also responsible for banning prayer in schools and trying to remove our national motto, “In God We Trust,” from our currency.

Read the full article: “One nation under God.”