native-born citizens of this nation have and of the heritage they
embrace as they grow into adulthood.
To immigrants, like me, it is the statement of a set of core
values we accept willingly and gladly with utter respect for the
principles of the founding fathers we adopted as our own. The way it
was modified 50 years ago, it tells the world that ours is not a
The Pledge is the affirmation of values we hold dear.
Liberty and justice lie at the core of our reason for being
Americans. Whereas living under God proclaims our accountability to a
supreme moral being that will hold us to a higher set of values.
But what are those values? Fairness? Equity? Empathy? Respect?
Honesty? If those are values and expectations we strive to fulfill
out of respect for God, how well are we achieving them?
Empty pews on Sunday morning and fewer young people attending
services could be more indicative of the state of our nation under
God. "Under God" implies humility.
Yet that humility appears absent by our international behavior as
the world's sole superpower.
A deference to God is alluded to when we start our official city
meetings with a prayer, yet, minutes later, it is followed by
unresponsive stares from council members sitting in, what so often
appears to be, disdainful judgment from the dais at the pleadings
from disaffected residents.
The leaders of a nation that proclaims to be under God quietly
acquiesce the growing chasm between rich and poor, where children
live in poverty and where millions have no effective access to health
Being a nation under God must have a special set of mandates. The
Beatitudes list a set of expectations before believers graduate, at
death, to become full-fledged citizens of the Kingdom of heaven. Here
is one, "Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy." So,
exactly where is the connection between our Pledge and our actions as
a merciful nation under God? Should that connection be observed only
when the wrath of nature reminds us? Let's hope not.