In 1954, after a campaign led by the Knights of Columbus, Congress unanimously voted to add the words "under God" to "The Pledge of Allegiance," effectively making it both a patriotic oath and a public prayer.
President Eisenhower joyously signed the bill into law and proudly proclaimed: "From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural schoolhouse, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty." They would be proclaiming what Americans had believed from the beginning.
But the secular extremists have captured a majority on the United States Supreme Court and put ends to voluntary nondenominational prayer in public schools and Ten Commandments displays in Kentucky courthouses. And the United States Supreme Court pointedly did not rule on the merits that "under God" could remain in "The Pledge of Allegiance" in the Newdow case.
- The word "God" appears in the first sentence of America's Declaration of Independence:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
A synonym for God — "Creator" — and God-given rights appear in the second sentence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
(For a right to be unalienable, it has to come from God.) The last paragraph not only refers to God as "the Supreme Judge of the world," but humbly appeals to Him and ardently asserts "firm reliance on divine Providence":
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Isaac Kramnick and R. Laurence Moore have called the United States Constitution a "godless Constitution." They and other secular extremists crow that the word God appears in the Declaration of Independence, but not in the Constitution. Technically, that's true. But it is a distinction without a difference. And the Constitution certainly is not "godless." The Preamble to the Constitution states:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Notice the word "blessings"? From Whom do you think the Framers were hoping to secure "blessings of liberty" for themselves and their posterity? From no one? From Satan? No. From God, the Creator, the Supreme Judge of the world, of course. America was founded in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Not by atheists or agnostists. Or Satanists. (Or Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists or Sikhs either, for that matter.)
Article I, Section 7 of the United States Constitution states in part:
Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a law, be presented to the President of the United States; if he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a law. But in all such cases the votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the journal of each House respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law.
Notice the parenthetical, “Sundays excepted"? Why Sundays? Because the men who drafted the Constitution were Christians and Sunday is the Lord's Day according to most Christians.
Jews and some Christians observe the period from Friday evening to Saturday evening as a day of rest and worship. But the Constitution was specific: It excepted Sundays, not the president's “Sabbath of choice,” nor did it provide for an exception only if the President is a Sabbath observer.
Above the list of signatories (George Washington is the first), the Constitution bears this note:
Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the states present the seventeenth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven and of the independence of the United States of America the twelfth.
Who was the Lord? Jesus Christ, of course.
The British lords who had ruled America had been chased away.
The truth that the secular extremists try mightily to obfuscate is that America's Declaration of Independence invoked God in a general way and America's Constitution went further, honoring Jesus, even while barring any religious test for public office. Clearly the Framers did not expect respect for the private right of conscience to be expanded to eliminate America's right as a nation to acknowledge God. They fully intended to support religion generally without establishing a national church.
Michael J. Gaynor, is a New York attorney admitted to practice in the New York State courts, the United States District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He has written articles for The National Law Journal, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, and the Long Island Catholic as well as numerous online publications and recently appeared on The World Over With Raymond Arroyo (EWTN).