The Truth About “Under God”

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.” 


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