The following article is from a blog post I wrote on My blog Daniel’s Den. The subject matter is a flap about NBC excluding the phrase “under God” from a patriotic piece, during a sporting event. This offered me an opportunity to think more broadly about the “Pledge” in general.
Much has been written about the NBC’s exclusion of the phrase, “under God”, from the Pledge of Allegiance, during the US Open Golf Tournament (see Baptist Press article). For the Christian, this should be a non-issue. Let’s look at what the Bible says about pledging:
33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those who lived long ago: Don’t make a false solemn pledge, but you should follow through on what you have pledged to the Lord.[a]34 But I say to you that you must not pledge at all. You must not pledge by heaven, because it’s God’s throne. 35 You must not pledge by the earth, because it’s God’s footstool. You must not pledge by Jerusalem, because it’s the city of the great king. 36 And you must not pledge by your head, because you can’t turn one hair white or black. 37 Let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no. Anything more than this comes from the evil one. (Matthew 5:33-37 Common English Bible).
This calls into question whether we as Christians should be pledging our allegiance to the flag and the nation at all. As Christians we are subjects of the Kingdom of Heaven. For those of us in the United States, we live here by the providence of God and should, therefore live peaceably in the country in which we are placed. Thus we live here humbly and in obedience to the laws of the United States of America. We are thankful for the freedom and the blessings we receive as “citizens” of this country. But our allegiance to the nation and the flag can only go as far as the nation is obedient to the laws of God. As Christians we can say “yes” to obeying all those laws that are in accord with the Kingdom of Heaven, but we must humbly say “no” to those things that are in opposition to the Kingdom of Heaven.
A broader issue for all of us, regardless of our religious leanings, would those signers of the Declaration of Independence have then pledged allegiance again to the new republic they created. Republics can become despotic over time and may need to be replaced. When looked in this light, is the “Pledge of Allegiance” a patriotic response fro liberty loving people?