On the morning of his execution, a captured American spy was allowed by his captors to write his mother and his brother, only to have the enemy destroy the letters he had just written. He then asked for a Bible and was refused his last request.
As he stood beneath an apple tree with a noose around his neck and only moments from certain death, the young American spy was challenged to confess his betrayal of the King of England. Standing firm and defiant before his enemy and no doubt thinking of his family, his country and of God, his last words were, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” On September 22, 1776, Captain Nathan Hale, only 21 years of age, became a martyr soldier of the American Revolution, a true American hero—a hero among heroes.
The events of that fateful day for Nathan Hale reflect so much about his character. He was a man who loved his family, loved his country and knew God would provide the strength and courage he needed in the final moments of his life. He could have saved his own life if he would only betray a nation yet to be sovereign. He died a courageous man who cherished honor, duty and country more than life itself.
Nathan Hale's character was not that of uncommon character in the days of our struggle for independence. Men of courage and with reverence to God led our country into a fight for an idea not yet seen in the world they knew. It was the idea that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator and therefore entitled to certain unalienable rights that prompted such men as Washington, Jefferson, Madison and others to call for a declaration of independence and to seek life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They were men who recognized God as the authority to venture such a claim.
Our first President, George Washington, was one of those men who recognized God as the authority to create such a nation as the United States of America. He understood the importance of acknowledging God as our creator and said, “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God and to obey His will.”
As a nation, we have heeded the words of our first President and as a nation we have acknowledged the providence of Almighty God by placing the words “In God We Trust” on our currency and by including the words “one nation under God” in our officially recognized and optional Pledge of Allegiance.
Yet another President, and often called the Father of our Constitution, James Madison recognized the importance of a nation obeying God as a vital ingredient for the success of our nation. He proclaimed, "We've staked the whole future of American civilization not on the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us, to govern ourselves according to the commandments of God. The future and success of America is not in this Constitution, but in the laws of God upon which this Constitution is founded.”
There is no doubt that the United States of America was founded as one nation under God. For if you look at the men of historical importance that contributed to the birth of our nation, if you read the Constitution, and if you are knowledgeable of the contents of the Bible, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that our nation was founded on the principals of Christianity and the acknowledgment that God exists.
To acknowledge the existence of God by including “one nation under God” in a congressionally approved optional Pledge of Allegiance IS NOT unconstitutional. The collective acknowledgment of the people of the United States of America that God exists and that we are one nation under God is, as President George Washington stated, “...a duty of a nation.” We have fulfilled our duty as directed by President Washington and as required by God.
The optional Pledge of Allegiance IS NOT unconstitutional for it does not establish a religion by the state. It only acknowledges our belief, as a nation, in the Almighty God and there is nothing in our Constitution that prohibits such an acknowledgment by our government. There are no laws requiring citizens to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. In fact, in 1943, the Supreme Court ruled in its Gobitis (310 US 586) decision that school children could not be forced to recite the Pledge as a part of their school day routine.
In November of 1775, Abigail Adams, the wife of the 2nd President and Mother of the 6th President of the United States, wrote a letter to a friend, Mercy Warren. In that letter Mrs. Adams states, "A patriot without religion, in my estimation, is as great a paradox as an honest Man without the fear of God. Is it possible that he, whom no moral obligations bind, can have any real Good Will towards Men?”
Mrs. Adams doubted a non-religious man could have any “real Good Will towards Men?” I wonder if a nation that forbids the acknowledgment of God in our Pledge of Allegiance is capable of good will toward its citizens. For tyranny lurks in the minds of men and in a government that is without the fear and acknowledgment of our Almighty God.
I have no doubt that if our Pledge of Allegiance had been around in 1776, Nathan Hale, when given the opportunity to confess his betrayal of the King of England, would have chose these words as his last: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
So remember Nathan Hale. His sacrifice, along with 4,435 other Americans in the War of Independence, is why we are all here today, one Nation under God.
By Gene Johns
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