Prayer Offered in U.S. Congress on February 8, 1954

February 8, 2013

Remarks by Senator Ferguson - 2/20/1954

Remarks by Senator Ferguson – 2/20/1954

Mid 20th century America was so different from today’s America, it is hard to believe that we live in the same country. If you are 50 or older, you know what I mean. If you are younger, you have no idea what I am talking about. And, believe me, despite the medical and technical breakthroughs, despite the passage of no-fault divorce and the “freedom to choose”, despite the new world of equality between the sexes, despite what so many of you believe to be the construction of a “better world” – you are the poorer for not having experienced the blessing of what it was like to live in America in the 1950s.

Make fun of Ozzie and Harriet all you want. Deride the Cleaver family to your heart’s content. Lecture me about the hypocrisy of the 1950s church til you’re blue in the face. I’ll take my growing up years over yours any day of the week. Hands down.

We were safe in our homes. We rode the bus to school without fear. We sat in our classrooms without armed guards. We respected our elders. We loved our country.

And we knew that God watched over us – our parents, our teachers, and our political officials told us so.

As evidence of this, on February 8, 1954 the second session of the 83rd U.S. Congress opened with a prayer. “Bestow upon us the endowments of Thy divine benevolence that this Chamber, that this Capitol remain the fortress of man’s God-given right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, a beacon to dispel the dark forces of death, tyranny, and the very denial of Thy Holy Name.”

Two days later, Senator Homer Ferguson, in partnership with his colleague, Congressman Louis Rabaut, introduced a joint resolution to add “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance. “Spiritual values are every bit as important to the defense and safety of our Nation as are military and economic values. America must be defended by the spiritual values which exist in the hearts and souls of the American people. Our country cannot be defended by ships, planes, and guns alone,” remarked Ferguson.

The pages of the 1954 Congressional Record are filled with similar-themed speeches regarding America, America’s Christian heritage, and the critical role Christian values played in the protection of America from the “dark forces of death and tyranny”.

If you know your history, you know that this class of Congressmen had Soviet Russia first and foremost on their minds. The terror of nuclear weapons in the hands of God-hating communists was palpable at that time in history. But, the respect for Christian values voiced in the 1954 prayer and speeches also paved the way for the civil rights battle that was brewing on the horizon, a battle that was largely won based on Christian values articulated and practiced by a Christian leader.

America did, indeed, go on to win the battle for civil rights for minorities as well as the battle against tyrannical communism. Sadly, and many would say, tragically, the demise of communism under Ronald Reagan’s administration was the last time America stood as the “shining city on a hill.”

God is still watching over America, but I cannot help but wonder what He is thinking about this great nation that once institutionally revered His name, respected His ways, spoke openly about His blessings, and warned regularly about His wrath.

I remain hopeful, but cautiously so, that Christians will once again step up to lead this nation back to greatness – “a beacon to dispel the dark forces of death, tyranny, and the very denial of Thy Holy Name.”

Sharpton Omits “under God” in “Lean Forward” Spot

February 6, 2013

The New York Times, October 22, 1892 reporting on the nationwide celebration of the 400th anniversary of America's discovery

The New York Times, October 22, 1892 reporting on the nationwide celebration of the 400th anniversary of America’s discovery

The original Pledge of Allegiance along with the next step in the "Official Programme".  1892

The original Pledge of Allegiance along with the next step in the “Official Programme”. 1892

NewsBusters has reported on the newly released Lean Forward spot, in which Rev. Al Sharpton invokes the Pledge of Allegiance. Oh yeah, but he “forgot” to include “under God”. You can see the ad and read NewsBusters’ commentary here.
It’s a known fact that Lean Forward is code for Left Forward and Al Sharpton is nothing more than another in a long line of ill-informed, myopic-sighted, sparsely talented mouthpieces for a leftist organization that is methodically endangering “liberty and justice for all” by pushing its agenda to delete all references to God and Christianity in the American culture.

“If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, we will become a nation gone under,” is how Ronald Reagan said it in 1984. Is there any question that America is fast becoming a nation going under?

Those of us who are fighting to save the idea of “one nation under God” can add Sharpton’s spot to the ongoing checklist of other Pledge-and-“under God”-specific attacks: Myrlie Evers-Williams’ inaugural invocation omitting the phrase, Massachusettes atheist group suing to remove the recitation of the Pledge in their public schools because of the phrase, a Colorado high school reciting the Pledge in Arabic, an El Cerrito City councilman’s resolution to eliminate the Pledge from city council meetings … the list goes on and on and on …

Attacks on the Pledge of Allegiance have long been the issue du jour for leftists. It’s that pesky little phrase, “under God”, that just “causes (their) skin to crawl” as one atheist complained.

But, here’s the deal: without God, there is no chance for “liberty and justice” for anyone.

Sorry to be so blunt, but it’s just the truth. It’s even documented … “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…”

As the author of two books on the history of the Pledge of Allegiance, I refuse to allow the leftists to re-write the history of the Pledge. Yes, the author of the Pledge of Allegiance, Francis Bellamy, was absolutely a dedicated “Christian socialist” who, along with his novelist cousin, Edward Bellamy, promoted socialism in the political, academic, and religious arenas. But, Edward died not many years after becoming a best-selling author of his influential book, Looking Backward. So, there is no way of knowing if he would have continued his quest for a socialistic America. But, Francis Bellamy did NOT … repeat, did NOT … remain a socialist as he grew and matured. Quite the contrary, he seems to have enjoyed the fruits of his capitalist labor during his career until he died in 1931.

Addressing the “God” issue in the original Pledge of Allegiance … Francis Bellamy was as much a part of planning the event surrounding its first recitation in 1892 as anyone. He had been hired at the Youth’s Companion for that exact purpose – to help plan the nationwide celebration of the 400th Anniversary of the Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. (The Youth’s Companion first published the Pledge of Allegiance and promoted the “Schoolhouse Flag Movement” that set the stage for its recitation.)

The Official Programme sent to the half million Companion subscribers included the original Pledge of Allegiance: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands: one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.” The very next step in the program states: “Acknowledgment of God. Prayer or Scripture.” Let the record show that God has always been a part of the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, albeit not written into it until 1954.

And, doesn’t that just make sense, knowing that the vast majority of nineteenth-century Americans adhered to the Christian religion? As a matter of fact, the October 21, 1892 edition of the New York Times records that, in Boston, Psalm 145 was read aloud in its entirety by the principal of every public school to the student body. That was how Boston chose to enact its “Acknowledgment of God”. Bellamy, who lived and worked in Boston, attended the celebration in Boston.

MSN has poured millions into the Lean Forward campaign hoping to boost ratings (and ultimately topple FOX News) by getting people to “think bigger, listen closer, fight smarter, and act faster.” May I suggest that you add “learn history” to your list?

Enough Celebration of Diversity … Let’s Try More Unity!

January 31, 2013

I’m all for diversity.  But, enough already!  Let’s try a little UNITY in place of DIVERSITY for a while.

I’m referring to the Fort Collins high school that recited the Pledge of Allegiance over the loudspeaker this week … in Arabic.  Seems as if the students in the Cultural Arms Club, which seeks to “destroy the barriers and embrace the cultures”, initiated the action.  Out of courtesy, they asked permission from the principal, Tom Lopez, before they did it.  He approved and now he is suffering the wrath of outraged parents.

Listen, if this were a rare occurence, I would not be opposed.  A bunch of high school kids wanting to do something different is really no big deal.  But, you’d have to be living under a rock these days not to realize that a large percentage of Americans are fed up with seeing one revered American tradition after another thrown aside to make room for the almighty sacrament of diversity.

That we are a diverse nation of many cultures is crystal clear – we are reminded of it every day, thank you very much.  That there are barriers to overcome is something we are well aware of – we hear about it ad nauseum.   Does reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic help destroy barriers?  No!  Quite the opposite.  It makes me (and probably millions of other Americans) feel like someone wants to shove their agenda down my throat.  Which makes me NOT want to embrace a culture that would impose itself on others. (By the way, it is said that the Arabic language encourages radical Islam.  To learn more about that, click here.)

Ironically, the Pledge of Allegiance was written to unify Americans during a time when America was very divided.  It was 1892 and labor strikes, immigration, and the rise of socialism were all contributing factors to an America that was becoming more and more separated.  The Pledge was written to be the highlight of the events surrounding the 400th anniversary of America’s discovery.  Indeed, Americans did unite around the flag and the Pledge.

So, here is what I suggest.  Say the Pledge of Allegiance in English.  It was written in English.  It has been recited by millions and millions of Americans … in English.  We have a saying here in America: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  Let’s apply that principle to the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.  In English.

 

 

The Truth About “Under God”

February 8, 2012

On February 8, 1954 America faced off against freedom’s staunchest enemy – communism.  The world takeover planned by the communists during the Cold War struck fear into the hearts of millions of Americans.  If communism was known for anything, it was known for its harsh brutality and unforgiving oppression.  As frightening as that was, even more frightening was the prospect of an entire nation falling victim to a government that forced it to live without even a scintilla of a belief in God.

Interestingly, 1950s America’s weapon of choice to combat the evil of communism was not nuclear arms, although those warheads certainly played a role in the defeat of communism.  No, the weapon American leaders wanted to disperse was strengthening the Christian foundation that had formed America’s government centuries earlier. This was accomplished in numerous ways, one of which was to add “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.

As silly as it sounds, especially in today’s Christian-hating environment, national leaders in the 1950s seemed to understand the significant role Christianity played in maintaining America’s strength.  They even went so far as to consider a Christ-centered culture to be a defense of sorts against communism. As Representative Melvin Price, Democrat from Illinois understood, the “strength of religion” was as good a weapon as any in “combating the godless ideology of Communism…” 

President Eisenhower, who signed the bill into law, said that adding “under God” to the Pledge was a way to “constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource …”.  

Such talk of “spiritual weapons” in our more enlightened 21st century America would put an individual squarely in the crosshairs of the politically correct police.  But, our grandparents thought it made all the sense in the world.

On February 8, 1954, fifty-eight years ago today, the U.S. Congress introduced the bill to add “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.  The date was not chosen at random, but rather was chosen purposefully because it was the fifth anniversary of the imprisonment of  Cardinal Mindszenty, a Hungarian prelate who used the pulpit to expose the communist goal to eradicate the Christian religion.  Hence, another indication of the high regard past leaders placed on the critical role that Christianity played in America’s well being. 

The date, along with its historical significance, has been lost over the years.  Hardly an American exists today who knows anything about the history of the Pledge of Allegiance, much less the history of how – and why – “under God” came to be added to the Pledge.

If “godless America” were doing better than the generations who lived during the 1950s, one would have to consider that religion is essentially useless in maintaining a nation’s health.  But, that is not the case.  America today is beseiged with a list of problems that defies the mind, everything from school dropouts to child prostitution, drug use to unwed pregnancies in the 40% range.  In short, the American culture that was once known for its nobility and exceptionalism has become a culture of violence and hopelessness.

Despite the gloomy forecast for America’s future, I remain optimistic.  As long as there are patriots continuing to fight for freedom, America has a chance to continue to be “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” 

Pledge of Allegiance Saved in Mass Schools

November 18, 2011

After months of debate, Brookline school children will continue to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in their classrooms and those who wish not to recite it will continue to sit silently and respectfully.  The activist group that started the controversy was soundly defeated (95-76 with 9 abstaining members) in their attempt to thwart the rights of free speech and shut down expressions of patriotism.

The controversy began when Town Meeting member, Martin Rosenthal, who is also the head of an activist group named the Brookline Political Action for Peace (PAX) pushed for a ban on the recitation of the Pledge in schools, saying it had no educational value and that it made his “skin crawl” to think of the pressure placed on children when they saw their classmates reciting it.

Interestingly, in 2010, the principal of another school in Brookline had called for permission slips to be sent home to parents before students would be allowed to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.  And in Arlington, MA a high school student made national news in 2010 when school officials denied his petition to allow easy access for students to voluntarily recite the Pledge.  The Arlington school district later reversed their decision.

The Pledge of Allegiance is among America’s most treasured traditions.  In a 2008 Rasmussen poll, one thousand likely voters were asked if they thought the Pledge of Allegiance should be recited in schools on a daily basis.  A resounding seventy-seven percent said yes. 

Obviously, the parents of youngsters in Brookline, MA seem to agree.  The idea behind Rosenthal’s proposal was to force each principal of  Brookline schools to decide where to recite the Pledge – in the classroom or in an assembly, the contention being that students who wish to remain seated during its recitation might be bullied.  In September, Rosenthal is quoted as saying the Pledge  puts “kids in an uncomfortable situation” and that it has no place in schools. 

Rosenthal claims to be “standing up for what’s great about this country”, but I tend to question such statements when the effort is to stop expressions of patriotism rather than strengthen them.  The arguments that the Pledge is a vow to a flag and is therefore meaningless or that there are better ways to play out one’s patriotism than by rote recitation are just plain stupid.  Children need to be taught early on what is great and good about America and the best way to do so is by having them memorize and recite the magnificent words in the Pledge of Allegiance. 

 Over the years, students should be taught lessons that focus on factual American history that is balanced, showing both our nation’s greatness and our weaknesses.  There ought to also be an emphasis on how our nation has corrected past wrongs.  But, too often students are taught an unbalanced version of American history portraying us as a bully sort of nation rife with weaknesses and prejudices.  With a fair and balanced approach to American history, over the years, students will completely understand their right to refrain from reciting the Pledge.  But my bet is that they will probably choose not to go that route.

Boston, Massachusetts was the place where the Pledge of Allegiance was created.  There is even a Pledge of Allegiance building in Boston, named such because it is where the Pledge was written and published in 1892.  It is sad that Massachusetts is now the site of so many attacks on the Pledge.  But thank God for the sensible citizens who still reside there.  I sure hope they continue to fight the good fight to defend the right of students to recite the noble words in the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

Businesses Honor Veterans and America

November 10, 2011

Stories abound these days of people, schools and communities that wish to do away with the Pledge of Allegiance and flying Old Glory.  I regularly document such occurences, hoping to raise awareness about the dangers of doing away with patriotic fervor.

But, in honor of Veteran’s Day, I’d like to turn the corner and highlight a few locations in America that are red, white and blue to the core. 

Just this week, I read about the Bayshore Patriots, a group in Tampa Bay, FL who regularly gather at Patriot’s Corner every Friday during evening rush hour to fly the American flag.  For the last ten years, as a way to express their patriotism after 9/11, the Bayshore Patriots have shown up at the same location from 4:30 – 6:00, rain or shine, to wave Old Glory.  Last year, they added a monument of sorts – a steel beam from the World Trade Center – a symbol of a nation still standing after being attacked.   The group plan to continue their patriotic flag waving until every troop returns home from war.

Dave’s All American Pizza in Danville, IN is another example of a business with a patriotic flare. An enormous American flag greets guests and a 20 foot tall replica of the Statue of Liberty stands watch in the main dining room. The parking lot has special spaces reserved for veterans and nearly every branch of the military is represented by manequins wearing the uniform. Veteran’s Day eats are pretty good, too. This Veteran’s Day, Dave is serving up free prime rib for the lucky vets who come to see this all American eatery.

Finally, there is Chick and Ruth’s Deli in Annapolis, MD.  Proprietor Ted Levitt, a true red, white and blue patriot, began the tradition of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance every day in his deli in 1989. That’s right. Every day of the week, no matter how busy, the entire restaurant stops, stands up, faces the flag over the register, places their hands over their hearts and recites the Pledge of Allegiance. That’s me with Ted when he graciously allowed me to lead the Pledge of Allegiance after I published my children’s book, America’s Story: A Pictorial History of the Pledge of Allegiance.  My new book for adult readers, Saving One Nation Under God, was released this week and is available on Amazon.

If you ever visit these locations, please be sure to stop in.

 

Dem Candidate Refuses to Say Pledge

November 4, 2011

Democrat Nikos Zitis, candidate for a New Jersey township committeman position, simply refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, saying that “it doesn’t mean you’re more patriotic to recite the Pledge.”  Zitis became an American citizen in the mid 90s, having been born in Cypress.  He has lived in the United States since 1983. 

In an article about the controversy, Zitis is also quoted as having decided “there is no God”, another reason he is adamant about not reciting it.  It is no surprise that people who do not believe in God are the most likely to not like the Pledge of Allegiance.   

Which brings me to my main point: Is America one nation under God … or not?  Is it just a matter of those who do not believe in God being louder about their beliefs than those of us who do?  (I make no bones about the fact that I am a Christian and I completely defend the Pledge of Allegiance remaining the way it is today, with “under God”.) 

It is interesting to me that the entire nation is having a conversation about God in America at the same time it is having conversations about the rise of socialism in America.  It almost seems as if both topics have increased proportionally.  Why would that be the case?  Could it be that the Judeo Christian heritage this country embraces understands the connection between God and freedom/religion and liberty/Christ and self determination?  I propose the answer to that question is “yes”.

If Mr. Zitis does not wish to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, it is his right to do so.  As Americans, we allow freedom of expression.  Just remember this … the freedom to bash/disrespect/dishonor/tear down America is brought to you courtesy of the rest of us who DO BELIEVE IN ONE NATION UNDER GOD!

God bless America!

God and the Fifties

November 3, 2011

On November 1st, the House of Representatives voted to reaffirm the national motto, “In God we trust”.  The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of the move, making it a rare bipartisan vote. 

 “In God we trust” became America’s national motto in 1956, just two years after “under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance.  It had been added to the currency and coins of the United States in 1955.  So, for three years running, you could say that God was discussed favorably in the halls of the U.S. Congress. 

 The reason for this was because America was facing communism and its threat to  gain worldwide power.  In the 1950s, this was deadly serious business. 

 Communism was to the 50s generation what radical Islam is to this generation of Americans. 

 The Elvis generation seemed to understand that communism threatened not only America, but western civilization as well.  That included the Judeo Christian principles on which America was founded. 

 If you were to read the pages of the Congressional Record during those years, especially in 1955, (I know no one is crazy enough to do such a thing. But, yes, I have read them and still do from time to time. The Congressional Record can be found in any federal courthouse; they are still being digitized, so you have to read an actual book.) you would discover that Christianity was not only recognized by Congress, it was applauded, defended and honored.

 Here is just a sample of some quotes:

“Our Nation is founded on a fundamental belief in God, and the first and most important reason for the existence of our Government is to protect the God-given rights of our citizens.” ~ Senator Homer Ferguson (R-MI), February 10, 1954

 “Communism has a theory and a practice; it wishes to be not only a state but a church…”  ~ Representative Clyde Doyle (D-CA), as read into the Congressional record, February 12, 1955

 “For under God this nation lives.” ~ Representative Louis Rabaut (D-MI), August 20, 1954

 “What better training for our youngsters could there be than to have them, each time they pledge allegiance to Old Glory, reassert their belief, … in the all-present, all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful Creator.” ~ Senator Alexander Wiley (R-WI), May 4, 1954

 Today, while attacks rage against the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and while bipartisan votes to reaffirm the national motto barely get a minute’s mention in the news, we would do well to study this era of our history and teach it to our youngsters.  Whether it’s a radicalized version of religion or a political system that takes away individual freedom, America’s heritage, most especially its embrace of Christian religion, is certainly worthy of passing along to the future generation, both for its educational value as well as its ability to renew the American principles that have strengthened us in times past.

Please go to my Facebook page to continue learning about the history of the Pledge of Allegiance.  Thanks!

Seattle Parents Attempt to Rewrite Pledge of Allegiance

October 28, 2011

In an apparent attempt to “globalize” an American public school and eliminate the Pledge of Allegiance, some parents have rewritten the Pledge.  The battle at the John Stanford International School  has been all over the news this week because one of its parents, an Air Force veteran mom, was horrified at the thought of her young daughter being exposed to the school’s daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. It did not jive with her desire to raise her child with a “one world” perspective rather than an American perspective.  

Here is what the parents offer as an alternative: “I pledge allegiance to the Earth and all it’s [sic] natural systems. Interdependence is what I seek, on one planet, with one people, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

The move to unravel America’s national fabric is dangerous.  And it’s always led by those who are either dedicated to or sympathize with socialism.  The Pledge of Allegiance unifies Americans around American values.  Socialists wish to do away with American values, particularly the Christian religion, and replace it with socialism.  That is why there is so much anger over the phrase, “under God”, being in the Pledge.  And that is why there is a move to rid the nation of it altogether.  If it were not successful in unifying Americans, no one would care.

A nation must have common beliefs, values, history and traditions in order to survive. The Pledge was always meant to be a means to teach children about America and its values.  And it has served us well in that regard.  Since the late 1800s, American children have been pledging their allegiance to the flag, the symbol of freedom and over time, this nation has made progress in bringing liberty and justice to more and more citizens.

Fortunately, there is a good number of parents who support the new principal’s decision to follow state law and recite the Pledge of Allegiance like the rest of the nation does.  I hope they organize and stand firmly behind the principal’s decision, which was the right decision.

Pledge Fight Continues in Seattle

October 26, 2011

Controversies are brewing about the Pledge of Allegiance all over the nation.  Currently, there are three communities where Americans “offended” by the Pledge are fighting to remove it from schools.  The case that seems to elicit the most puzzlement is happening in Seattle, where an Air Force vet is simply beside herself with angst over the thought of her daughter being exposed to the Pledge. 

John Stanford International School (JSIS) is the type of school you likely have never heard of.  I certainly had not until this story.  It is an “immersion” school, a school where, for half the day, the students learn their lessons in either Japanese or Spanish.  Great way to teach young children a second language.  On its face, I’m all for that.  Its mission seems focused on proficiency in a second language at an early age, although it also speaks of “cultural diversity”, a moniker that is getting tiresome.  That, I am not so much in favor of if for no other reason than the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of diversity, leaving commonality to die on the vine.

I am also against eliminating the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, which, by the way, is mandatory according to state law.  Every state in the nation has a similar law, although the practical application may be somewhat patchy.  Also part of Washington’s law is the option for children who do not wish to recite it to sit quietly and respectfully while their classmates participate.  No child can be punished for not reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Sounds reasonable to me.  But, not to US Air Force veteran Stacy Sides, who says she specifically chose to move to Seattle to send her daughter to JSIS.  The focus on multiculturalism was enough of an attraction to her to change her residence so that her daughter could have a global perspective on things.

Here is some advise for Sides: Use the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance as, what your generation likes to call, a “teaching moment”.  Teach your daughter that in America, there are all sorts of people.  And those people are FREE to believe all sorts of things.  And the reason they are FREE to believe whatever they choose to believe is because we are ONE NATION UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.

Teach her that other nations – and they are many in number – do NOT allow their citizens to believe whatever they want to believe. In other words, they are NOT FREE.  Lastly, teach her that, in order for all Americans to remain FREE, we must have a common foundation on which to stand.  A foundation that has proven to protect the right of humankind to live freely.  A foundation that, because of FREEDOM, is not perfect, but is remarkably self-correcting.  A foundation that respects the rights of all individuals.

Sit down and discuss those principles with her and then give her the choice (another practice your generation is taking to the extreme, but in this case, may prove worthwhile) of whether or not to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.  I rather expect, with even just a little fairness in your explanation of America, she’ll be just fine reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.


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