13 Nov The Pledge of Allegiance
One of my favorite things to do for the state university where I teach is to supervise student teachers in our local public schools. This morning I was in a third grade with twenty students at the beginning of the school day. A voice came over the intercom from the principal’s office asking the children to rise for the Pledge of Allegiance. Instantly the children rose to attention. We faced the flag, put our hands over our hearts and together we said those wonderful words. It was a good feeling.
I felt a bit sad for the children whose church forbids them from doing so. It is their loss. I do appreciate why their church takes that stand. They feel they are breaking the first commandment to take the pledge. However, the commandment reads, “Thou shall have no other gods before me.” Please note the words, “before me.” God is not saying we should not revere and honor other things. We just should not revere them above Him. God is to be first in our lives. We can have second and third and fourth and fifth things in our lives. While I pledged my allegiance to my country I was not disavowing that my God came first. The pledge, thanks to President Dwight Eisenhower in 1954, contains the words “under God”. That means my pledge is under or lesser than my allegiance to God.
I wish the parents of the children who didn’t stand could understand that simple concept. It would make their lives so much richer. Then they could have that same wonderful feeling of belonging to a community larger than just the community where they worship. It’s great to belong. It is one of our fundamental human needs. We were not made to be alone.