One Nation Under God

In 1892 Baptist Minister and Christian Socialist Francis Bellamy wrote the pledge of allegiance.  It was first released in a children’s magazine and was designed to be said by children.  The pledge has been changed four times since it writing and the last change, signed into law by President Eisenhower in 1954 added the phrase “under God” to the pledge.  I have been giving this some thought since my post yesterday Does God Care Who Gets Elected?
The question I have is whose God are we one nation under?  The Christian God, the Jewish God, the Muslim God (all three are the same by the way), or are we united under the Buddhist god or any number of the gods that happen to be in fashion today.  Money and power is a god for many people so maybe it is that one.  We are the most religiously diverse nation on the planet so the question remains whose god are we united under?
I am a priest and an Orthodox Christian, and the Orthodox have what is called an Orthodox World View.  Each religion or denomination has a world view based on what their denomination teaches.  Some religions teach the same thing about God and others do not.  Abraham Lincoln wrestled with this during the Civil War when he said in his second inaugural address, “Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes his aid against the other…. The prayers of both could not be answered–that of neither has been answered fully”  Oddly enough Lincoln would say these words just six weeks before his life would be taken.

Our understanding of God is very different now than it was 200 years ago.  My Orthodox View of God is very different then say the Lutheran or Anglican view of God let alone the Buddhist or Zoroastrian God. So can we say we are under God?  This is one of the reasons I get nervous when people start saying we need to start returning to our countries Christian roots!  We are not the same country we were 200 years ago, we have evolved and become very diverse.

I would have to say yes we can.  You might ask why I come to this conclusion and I would simply say that our diversity is our greatest strength.  The fact that we are the most religiously diverse nation is exactly what makes us able to say we are under God, mainly because we can say that!  Imagine, we have a law that says we are under God!  What other nation on earth can say that?  We do not judge, or at least we should not, judge another for their beliefs or lack of belief.  We have freedom to express our vision and understanding of God as we see fit, that is what makes us One Nation Under God!

In 1782 by an act of Congress the phrase “E Pluribus Unam” was added to the Great Seal of the United States.  “Out of many, one” has been the motto of the United States ever since.  The philosophy comes from a poem attributed to Virgil and describes the blending of colors into another color.  Another way of thinking about it is to say out of our diversity comes our unity. (E Pluribus Unam is the motto of the Great Seal, by act of the 84th Congress “In God We Trust” was adopted as the official motto of the United States of America.)

As long as we have been a nation we have called upon a deity for prayer and protection.  It is printed on our money, over the objections of President Theodore Roosevelt because he thought it was sacrilegious to put God’s name on money, and it is in the Pledge of Allegiance.  The writings of the founders echo with themes of God and God was invoked at the founding of this great nation. 

I would say we are indeed Under God, the god of your choosing, and that is what makes this country great!


  1. Enjoy thinking this but keep your god out of our secular government. This nation is under no gods because it is separate from the church in every aspect. Take a look at Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine and George Washington at the treaty of Tripoli for your delusions of the deist founding fathers being a deeply religious bunch.

    You are free to call us one nation under god and be proud of a religiosity, but I balk at your suggestion that to be OK with a state endorsement of *any* god, even a vague undefined nebulous one, is congruent with the first amendment. Take a look here:

    Enjoy your religious freedom, but the US is a collection of secular states that are designed to have a large dividing wall between governance and religions.

  2. Not to judge you but if you had God in your life you would not be so negative and angry all the time. I will pray for you brother thanks for the comment.

  3. to me one nation under God does not just mean my idea of my God but also anyone elses idea of their God.
    My God may not be your God but that does not mean,any less to you then it does to me.

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