Our nation celebrates independence this week and the American flag will be visible everywhere. We are blessed to live in a country that celebrates freedom and has chosen to fight for that right when necessary. It is good to remember the heritage of our country and take time to be grateful for the opportunities that are ours, simply because we live here. People across the country will be unified this week under our banner of independence, the American flag.
The flag is a symbol of national pride and unity. The fifty stars represent the states and the stripes represent the thirteen colonies that first called themselves the United States. The flag is red, white and blue because of what those colors represent. Red represents valor, white represents innocence and blue represents justice. The country was founded on strong principles and high standards. It is good to celebrate and remember that our founders wanted to build a great nation.
This year the holiday celebration feels somewhat different. The Supreme Court has approved a law that God’s word does not. Words like equality and discrimination are being used to justify, condone and approve of actions that God’s word describes as an abomination (Lev. 18:22), immorality (Mark 7:20-23), unnatural (1 Timothy 1:8-10), and indecent (Romans 1:25-27). The flag that is being waved over the crowds bears a rainbow instead of stars and stripes.
When I taught second grade we began each day with the Pledge of Allegiance. It warmed my heart to hear those young voices say those words and we taught them what the words meant. I had two students whose religion forbade them from joining in with the rest of the class. They stayed in their seats while the others stood. Today, I wonder, will my religion keep me from pledging allegiance to America one day?
“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.” In 1954, in response to the Communist threat of the times, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words “under God.” I wish those words could have been true. Our Supreme Court has decided to assume a position that places their legal opinion above Scripture. Does that mean we pledge allegiance to a Republic that is choosing to be “one nation above God?”
As the rhetoric swirls in the media, Christians need to proceed with caution. This decision will lead to other significant changes in the future. Christians need to be good citizens but even more importantly we need to be obedient children of God. Our country and courts can make declarations and laws but we serve a much higher government. A nation can’t choose to be under God and a nation can’t choose to be Christian. Only people have the ability to make those choices.
Ronald Reagan was more “prophetic” than he probably knew when he said, “The American dream is not that every man must be level with every other man. The American dream is that every man must be free to become whatever God intends he should become.”
What does God intend for us to become? – people who pray and live according to God’s holy standards. “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…” (1 Timothy 2:1-15).
God intends for us to become more like Jesus. America will be “one nation under God” when Americans make that choice. As we celebrate the holiday this week, pledge your allegiance to that end.