(By Dr. Johnny Pope)
In California, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled in a case brought by Sacramento atheist Michael Newdon that the pledge violates school children’s right to be “free from a coercive requirement to affirm God.” Let me begin by saying God is God with or without our affirmation! To say the least, it is going to rest a lot better for everyone involved, if we agree with God that He is! "He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:6). One proud, egotistical, pseudo-intellectual atheist attempting to flaunt his disbelief, even in the company of children, asserted, “There is no God!” A clever, smart little girl of about five, who had diligently memorized certain portions of Scripture, looked at him and replied, “Oh, mister, the Bible says, ‘The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God...’ (Psalm 14:1), but now you’ve gone and blabbed it out of your mouth!” A person who does not affirm God has said far more about his or her ignorance and wickedness than God’s existence. There is, on the other hand, a great need for us, as a nation, to align ourselves with God, to reap benefit and blessing. The Bible is replete with references that show the direct correlation with our affirmation of Him and the blessing that follows. Please meditate on these promises: "The wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God" (Psalm 9:17). "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance" (Psalm 33:12). "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14:34).
I am amazed at the quoting of Thomas Jefferson’s desire to keep a wall of separation between church and state, as though it were part of The Declaration of Independence, Constitution, or Bill of Rights. If you are searching our legal documents, let me assure you that will not even find it in The Magna Carta. Probably the closest you will come is The First Amendment which has more to do with the right to propagate the tenants of our faith, than the desire to prohibit our evangelism. The wall that Thomas Jefferson was erecting, first of all came out through personal correspondence assuring a man of faith that there would be no “state church” that would interfere with his personal belief. There was not going to be a status quo belief that must be embraced by all. This right is now protected in the public school system, by the fact that no child is forced to say the pledge, if they desire not to do so.
When we consider one of the least likely of our forefathers to embrace evangelical beliefs, saying in the Constitutional framing convention, “Gentlemen, if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without the notice of the Heavenly Father, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid and favor? Gentlemen, let us pray….” So as you hear these words from Benjamin Franklin, what do you think? Can you really believe that he and his fellow delegates would approve of a pledge that had placed “Under God” as offensive or anything but unconstitutional? Most of the signers of the Constitution spent four hours in Bible reading and prayer together before they signed. So if we are talking about the original intent of the fathers, there is absolutely no doubt to the honest person what it was in reference to their strong belief that God was guiding their actions and therefore should be reverenced. They would be appalled that their words would be taken out of context and used as a battering ram against the God that they were convinced had brought them to this part of the world to form a more perfect union, under that same loving and sovereign Lord.
Consider the events as of late, such as The War in Iraq and Afghanistan, the recent anniversary of 9/11, the incredibly sad situation of recent cataclysmal events of nature from the hurricanes in Florida, and the more recent displacement of over one million people who lost homes and many lives in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Seeing the harms’ way our soldiers, marines, and sailors are in with the fragile nature of our weather, do we really want to turn against God, as a nation at this hour? Any time is a bad time to turn against God, but now could not be a worse time!
There is something else at stake! In May, 1919 in Germany a writing was found entitled, Communist Rules for Revolution. In this writing, the communist goal is said to destroy a people’s faith in their natural leaders. In other words, ignore the plain and open statements of John Adams, George Washington, and Patrick Henry. Make them out to be proponents of a faithless society! Communism also affirms insistence to annihilate childlike faith in God. Lenin described religious belief as “the opiate of the people.” They look at our faith as delusional and something to be eradicated from society. They instead direct you to look to the state as the sole means of provision and direction. To borrow the terms of fiction that spoke more truth than their writings, “Big brother is watching you!” So, let this piece of information sink deep into your heart today: In communist China, the leaders would agree with the federal judge in California. Castro would applaud the action of Michael Newdon. The question facing us today is whose side shall we, as a people, be on? "Choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:15). "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live" (Deuteronomy 30:19).