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"One Nation Under God"


"In Scotland," Rev. George Docherly stated, "the people said ‘God save the king/queen." That was the opening statement made to an Associated Pressman Dan Lawrence regarding the pastor’s influence in to the addition of "one nation under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag. Rev. Docherly, former pastor of Washington’s New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, was instrumental in having that phrase inserted into the Pledge fifty years ago. On February 7, 1954, Pastor Docherly delivered a sermon that included the thought that "something is missing from the Pledge-the characteristic definitive factor in the American way of life." In attendance at that service was President Dwight Eisenhower. The Scottish pastor decided to take that opportunity to point out that God wasn’t in the Pledge of Allegiance! A transcript of the sermon was reprinted in the Congressional Record. The new phrase received official recognition by Congress in an Act approved June 22, 1954 and the pastor’s hope that the words honoring God would be added to the Pledge was fulfilled. For fifty years people have been saying "one nation under God" when they say the pledge to the flag.


It is significant that President Eisenhower said at that time, "In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in peace and war."


We remember that Patrick Henry said, "Righteousness alone can exalt (the people) as a nation....It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ." How appropriate, then, it is to honor God whose providential care brought about "one nation under God." We think about that every time we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America!


Rev. George Docherly today in Newspaper Photo

Question:  Where and when did the pledge to the flag first appear? 


Answer:   It was first used in the public schools in Boston in celebration of Columbus Day, October 12, 1912 and received official recognition by Congress June 22, 1942.

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