One Nation, Under God
This Friday, at 2 PM EST, from Augusta to Anchorage, 52
million American children in 107,000 schools will simultaneously pledge
allegiance to the flag. “Today I
ask students, teachers, parents, and other proud Americans to join me in showing
our patriotism by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at a single time and with a
unified voice,” Secretary of Education Rod Paige wrote in a letter to
principals. “We can send a loud
and powerful message that will be heard around the world: America is ‘one nation, under God, indivisible, with
liberty and justice for all.’” Across
the country, schools are signing up and students are synchronizing their
watches. Except for a hapless few
in Madison, Wisconsin.
The School Board there has banned the pledge.
Seems “one nation under God” is offensive.
No word on whether divine invocation or national unity distresses them
more. Says board member Bill Keys, “What I wanted to do was
eliminate that which would be repugnant to those who believe very strongly and
would have their personal and political beliefs violated by group coercion.”
His compromise is an instrumental rendition of the national anthem.
Consider the Board’s complaint.
One nation. In an age when hyphenated Americanism fractures
us into a census-taker’s nightmare of subsets, if coming together qualifies as
“group coercion” we should welcome the pressure. Exactly what “political beliefs” does Mr. Keys believe
nationhood violates? Will the
playground anarchists protest? Or
perhaps the second graders for separatism?
If so, pack them up for a quick field trip to the Balkans with a layover
in Basque country.
Under God. Since
September 11, we invoke His blessing from overpasses and t-shirts after decades
of deeming His name unacceptable at commencements and His crèche inappropriate
on His own birthday. The patriots
who set our foundation felt otherwise. George
Washington said, “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence
of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly
implore His protection and favor.” John
Adams wrote, “The general principles on which the Fathers achieved
independence, were…the general principles of Christianity.”
Likewise, Thomas Paine: “Where, say some, is
the king of America? I'll tell you, friend, He reigns above.”
Still the school board thinks its fiefdom trespassed by a
single sentence from the mouths of babes. As
they meet this Monday to re-evaluate the ban, Madison would do well to consider
whence we’ve come and where we’re headed. Divorce America from her Christian past and reap a
civilization unworthy of terrorists’ attention.
Divide her into squabbling factions, and we’ve done their work for
them. Crisis exposes our colors, and the country’s impulse in the wake of the
attacks proved twin instincts: divine
dependence and national interdependence. Denying
either will do disservice to Wisconsin’s smallest citizens and delegitimize
the board that claims to act in their interest.
Click here for printable version.
Click here for Daily Column Archives.
J. Buchanan - Chairman | Angela "Bay" Buchanan - President
Copyright © 2001, The American Cause. All Right Reserved.