On October 3, 2012, Pennsylvania State Representative Babette Josephs (D-Philadelphia) refused to pledge allegiance to our country’s flag because of two words. Those words are “under God,” which was added to the pledge by Congress in 1954. Josephs says the addition of those two words turned the pledge into a prayer and “I don’t pray in public.” So even though she is an elected public official, she will not pledge loyalty to her country.
At least two things are wrong with Babette’s protest. First, prayer is spoken TO God not ABOUT God. When Congress placed our nation “under God,” they made a historical statement not a prayer request.
Second, if Babette objects to saying “under God” she has the option and freedom not to say those two words. That’s because she lives in (and draws her salary from) America. Has it not occurred to her that she can still pledge the flag but keep her mouth closed while others say “under God”? Am I missing something?
Suppose I am allergic to eggs. Would it be reasonable for me to hold a protest or organize a picket of every restaurant and fast food place that serves eggs? Because I can’t eat eggs, no one else should eat them in public. My right to refuse egg-eating should prohibit every American from eating eggs. That is how much sense Babette’s hissy fit makes.
Americans enjoy the right of free speech. Babette’s actions threaten that right. She must not realize that the right to speak freely also includes the right to remain silent. If her protest eventually results in “under God” being removed from the pledge to the flag, then democratic process will be violated as “rule by minority” prevails.
The Constitution does not guarantee freedom FROM religion—it gives us freedom OF religion. This guarantees that government will not establish a state religion, but neither should it prohibit public expressions of religion. Acknowledging our country’s roots as being “under God” does not establish a religion or force Americans to adhere to certain beliefs.
While it can increasingly be noted that America is no longer a “Christian country,” we do not need to eradicate all references and symbols to the fact that it was, at its inception, a country that looked to God. A country where people immigrated to for religious freedom. No elected official should be allowed to attack that historical foundation.
Psalm 11 asks and answers a significant question: “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Verses 4-7 give this answer: “The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord is on His heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; His eyes examine them. The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, He hates with a passion. On the wicked He will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot. For the Lord is righteous. He loves justice; the upright will see His face” (NIV).
American freedoms are under attack. It seems that we are living in the age that 2 Timothy 3:11-15 addresses, where Christians will be persecuted and “evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (NIV). When that happens, verse 15 tells us to adhere to the Holy Scriptures, “which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (NIV).
As a “biblical truths examiner,” I appreciate the right to quote Scripture and express my faith in this secular online publication. Readers have the right to post rebuttals, or to never read my posts, but they do not have the right to prohibit them. Babette Josephs–please take note.