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The Power of the American Flag

July 23, 2012


July 4th is called Independence Day and we remember it each year as our Nation’s birthday.  It’s a celebration of freedom; remembering the day when the United States of America declared its independence from Great Britain.

On July 2, 1776, Congress voted to approve a complete separation from Great Britain. Two days later, on July 4th, the early draft of the Declaration of Independence was signed, initially by only two individuals: John Hancock, president of Congress, and Charles Thompson, secretary of Congress, and later by a total of 56 men.  We don’t know a whole lot about those 56 men, but what we do know for certain is that they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor so that we could enjoy the freedoms we have in this country.

The day after Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, John Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail, saying: “This day will be the most memorable epic in the history of America.  I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.”

And he went on to say: “It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”

John Adams believed that the Fourth of July should become a religious holiday – a day when we remember God’s hand in deliverance and a day of religious activities when we committed ourselves to Him in “solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”  This was the spirit of the American Revolution as seen through the eyes of those who led it.

Question: What’s the major symbol of the fourth of July?  Answer: The American Flag is the most visible symbol on the fourth of July.  The document that describes the meaning of the American Flag is called the Pledge of Allegiance, and the symbolic power of the American Flag lies in the words contained in the Pledge of Allegiance.

In order to really appreciate the symbolic power of the American Flag, we need to take a closer look at the 31 words in the Pledge of Allegiance.  The Pledge of Allegiance only contains 31 words, but what makes the Pledge so powerful is the meaning of those 31 words.

The Pledge of Allegiance reads:

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.

The first thing we must notice about the Pledge of Allegiance is that it starts with “I” and ends with “All,” which equates to unity.  When we pledge allegiance to the United States Flag, one of the things we’re pledging our allegiance to is unity.

The American Flag is not only a symbol of freedom, but it’s also a symbol of unity.  Unity, in light of the original intent of the founding fathers, would equate to maintaining the Judeo-Christian heritage that established this nation.  The fundamental principles for the laws and liberties of this nation were found in the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament and the Sermon on the Mount of the New Testament.

The opposite of unity is division, and it’s worth noting that our country is not called “The Divided States of America.”  We pledge our allegiance to the United States of America, all 50 states, each of them individual, and each of them represented on the flag, yet formed into a union of one Nation, the United States of America.

The next phrase we want to look at in the Pledge is the phrase, “and to the Republic for which it stands…”

Contrary to popular belief, the United States is not a democracy; it’s a constitutional republic.  A constitutional republic is a state in which the head of state and other officials are representatives of the people and must govern according to existing constitutional law that limits the government’s power over all of its citizens.

The fact that a Constitution exists that limits the government’s power makes the state constitutional.  That fact that the head of state and other officials are chosen by election, rather than inheriting their positions, and that their decisions are subject to judicial review, makes the state a republic.  In a constitutional republic, executive, legislative, and judicial powers can be separated into distinct branches.

A word about judicial oligarchy is in order here.  The word “oligarchy” can be defined as a form of government in which power is vested in a few persons; therefore, a judicial oligarchy would refer to power given to the judges.  Let’s see if this is what the framers of the Constitution had in mind.

Eleven years after signing the Declaration of Independence, delegates from the 13 states (they were called colonies at the time) met in Philadelphia to craft a constitution for a more perfect union.  The Constitution of the United States was ratified on September 17, 1787.  The United States Constitution contains roughly 2700 words for the legislature and only 282 words for the judiciary.  The obvious conclusion is that the courts were to serve the people and their Congress, rather than the people being subservient to the courts.  In other words, power and law-making reside with the Congress, not with the judges.

Thomas Jefferson confirmed the detriment to society of a judicial oligarchy when he said: “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions is a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one that would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.”

A Republic is a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern.  And government is the people; and it’s from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.

In the words of Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address: “This nation shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

Ronald Reagan said this: “Government is only a convenience created and managed by the people with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people.”

The next phrase we want to look at in the Pledge is the phrase, “one nation under God…”

On June 14, 1954, an amendment was made to the Pledge of Allegiance to add the words “Under God.”  As then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized this change, he said: “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.”

In 1967, American Entertainer Red Skelton said this to a classroom of students: “Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country, and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance: the words Under God.”  And then He said this: “Wouldn’t it be a pity if someone said that this is a prayer, and that it should be eliminated from schools?”

On June 26, 2002, members of the House of Representatives gathered on the steps of the Capital and recited the Pledge of Allegiance en masse, in response to a court ruling that the words, “Under God” make the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional.  That case was brought to a San Francisco court by an atheist man who objected to his daughter being compelled to listen to her second-grade classmates recite the pledge.

On June 14, 2004, the Supreme Court allowed millions of schoolchildren to keep affirming loyalty to “One Nation Under God” as a result of a self-proclaimed atheist minister’s attempt to sue his daughter’s Sacramento-area school district, Congress, and the President of the United Stated over the words “under God” being in the Pledge of Allegiance.

It’s worth noting that there has never been a constitutional mandate for the separation of church and state.  Here’s the proof:

·       The Supreme Court itself begins each session with the phrase, “God save the United States and this honorable court.”

·       The Declaration of Independence refers to God four different times.

·       Every session of Congress begins with a prayer by a paid preacher, whose salary has been paid by the taxpayer since 1777.

·       And of course, our currency has the words, “In God We Trust,” written on it.

But let’s go back to our American heritage for a moment, and find out what this great republic, known as the United States of America, was founded upon.

From 1607 until 1776, 13 colonies came into being in this new land.  In 1607, the first English-speaking settlers planted a cross on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in Virginia.  This would indicate that this new land would be a Christian nation guided by the truths contained in the Old and New Testaments.

Thirteen years later, in 1620, another band of settlers landed on the shores of Cape Cod in Massachusetts where they immediately drafted the Mayflower Compact, which historians tell us was the first formal document for self-government drafted in America.  A repeated theme in this document was to advance the Christian faith and bring glory to God.  Further charters revealed the original intent of these early settlers; namely, to establish a Christian nation intended to be governed by religious people who were guided by the precepts of the Holy Bible.

In the words of William Bradford, the first Governor of Plymouth, Massachusetts: “We want our nation to be a stepping stone to take the Gospel to the nations of the world.”

In 1779, George Washington, our first president, said this: “You do well to learn…above all the religion of Jesus Christ.” 

Thomas Jefferson himself declared: “I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.”

Daniel Webster, Secretary of State under 3 Presidents, said, “If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our nation will go on prospering.”

The phrase, “with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence” refers to placing our trust in God.  To those who would argue that our nation is not a Christian nation because the founding fathers were deists, not Christians, there’s plenty of proof to the contrary.  But at the minimum, everyone (Christian and Deist alike) would agree that the original intent of our founding fathers could be summed up in one phrase, “One Nation Under God.”

The next word we want to look at in the Pledge is the word, “indivisible.”

The first 3 words of the Preamble to the Constitution, We the People, sum up the meaning of the word “indivisible.”  Here’s how the Preamble reads:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

“We the people” (in the Constitution) equates to “I” plus “All” (in the Pledge of Allegiance).  We’re back to unity again, aren’t we?  In other words, we need to be united with the original intent of our founding fathers, which was to establish a nation based on the Judeo-Christian principles contained in the Holy Bible.  Incidentally, the constitution of every one of our 50 states includes a reference to God, Almighty God, or divine guidance.

Patrick Henry was one of our founding fathers, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  He made the famous statement, “Give me liberty or give me death,” but he also said this: “It can not 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.”

John Adams had this to say about the original intent of the founding fathers: The general principles on which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity.”

Most of us are unaware that the American Revolution had a motto, like most wars do (e.g. World War II: “Remember Pearl Harbor” the Texas war for independence: “Remember the Alamo” The Spanish-American War: “Remember the Maine”).  The motto of the American Revolution was directed against King George III who regularly violated “the laws of nature and of nature’s God.”  The motto was very simple and very direct: “No King but King Jesus.”

It was the objective of our founding fathers to establish “One Nation Under God.”  And the reason the United States of America is the greatest country in the world is because we have made Jesus Christ the Lord of our great nation.  Even so, our Godly Heritage began to erode.  This brings us to our next phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance:

With Liberty and Justice:

Liberty equates to freedom; justice equates to fairness; therefore, we could say it this way: With freedom and fairness for all.

Let’s take a look at an incident that happened in 1962 and see if that incident exemplifies liberty and justice, freedom and fairness.  The incident I am referring to is the landmark case brought before the Supreme Court known as Engle vs. Vitale.  The result of this case was that it removed prayer from public schools.  Take a look at the prayer that was so offensive to one atheist woman.  Almighty God we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee and we beg Thy blessing upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our country.  Isn’t that simple prayer just despicable?

And then in 1963, Bible reading, religious classes, and religious instruction were banned in public schools.  This is yet another example of judicial oligarchy.  There was no vote by a majority of the people, just one atheist and a handful of judges stripping the Bible from the schools of the nation.  The question that arises is: How could this happen seeing that we are a Christian Nation founded on biblical principles?

A recent Gallup Poll shows that 84 percent of this nation firmly believes in Jesus Christ and a separate poll indicates that 94 percent believe in God.  Polls have also shown that more than 80 percent approve of voluntary prayer in school.  Additional findings could be cited, but the conclusion is inescapable: Although we have been led to believe that we, the 94 percent who believe in God are the minority, we most definitely are not!

Imagine a hypothetical vote in the U.S. Senate where the final tally was 94 to 6.  It would be untenable for the 6 to be declared the winner and their policy enacted over the votes of the 94, yet this is exactly what happened when public acknowledgment of God was prohibited.

The real bottom line in the Engel vs. Vitale case was that it lacked both historical and legal precedent.  Judicial oligarchy ruled over the original intent of the founding fathers and the United States Constitution.

More striking were the repercussions of these two decisions in 1962 and 1963.  Here’s what happened in America since prayer and Bible reading were removed from public schools:  The United States has led the world in every social pathology, including crime, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, divorce, and alcoholism.

Every measurement relating to the breakup of the family has statistically skyrocketed since 1963 after the separation of biblical principles from public policy.

To sum it up, the United States, since 1962/63, has become the world leader in the following categories: Violent Crime, Divorce, Voluntary Abortions, Illegal Drug Use, Teenage pregnancies (Western World) and Illiteracy (Western World).

Even more shocking would be the breakdown of all these categories into statistics, but even in the midst of such tragedy, some would continue to insist that the First Amendment calls for a removal of every trace of our Judeo-Christian heritage from the public arena.  The First Amendment to the Constitution reads this way:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The establishment of religion here referred to a state–sponsored religion.  When James Madison wrote this he clearly referred to the establishment of a state church where ministers draw salaries from the government, bishops serve in the legislature, and people are taxed to support the established church buildings, employees, and activities.  Simply put, the First Amendment prohibits Congress from establishing a national religion, sponsored and funded by the federal government.

On the flip side, the First Amendment also prohibits the government from forbidding the free exercise of religion.  Apart from any state church, all faiths are free to practice their religions without government intervention.

The correct interpretation of the phrase, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” is freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

Some will ask, “What about the separation of church and state?”  There was never any such intimation, but as a result of the wrong interpretation of a Thomas Jefferson quote to the Danbury Baptist Convention in 1804, groups such as the ACLU, the Anti-Defamation League, and others are promoting secular humanism as the new state religion, which is exactly what the First Amendment prohibits.

You say, “Jim, enough about the problem, what’s the solution?”  The solution is found in the last two words of the Pledge of Allegiance; the words, “For All.”

For All:

Those who believe in our Judeo-Christian heritage must unite with the original intent of our founding fathers.  As Christians, we must unite and take America back! 

We the people, the All of us, must do our part in maintaining the integrity of the Constitution in our nation.  The original intent of the framers of the Constitution equates to the Judeo-Christian heritage that established our nation.  So what can we do take America back?

1. Pray: Prayer is the first key to effecting significant change, for situations do not change on earth until they have been changed in the heavenlies.  Benjamin Franklin said this at the Constitutional Convention in 1787: “I therefore beg leave to move that, henceforth, prayer imploring the assistance of heaven and its blessing on our deliberation be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business.”

2. We must realize that we (the Christians) are the majority, not the minority: We make up the 80 to 90 percent.  Jesus taught that true Christians are to exert a positive moral influence on a society, when He compared us to both “salt” and “light.”

Say it after me: “Every believer can make a difference because Jesus said so!”  The simplest way we can make a difference is by exercising our right to vote.

3. Vote in every election: You’ve probably heard statements such as: “It does us no good to vote because my vote won’t make a difference anyway.”  Not true; here’s why:

Positive change actually rests in the hands of we the citizens, not our leaders.  This has been proven time and again over recent years.  For example, in U.S. Senate races just over a decade ago, five candidates, who stood for returning godly principles to public affairs, were defeated by a collective total of only 57,000 votes, less than 12,000 votes per state.  Yet in those five states, there were more than 5 million Christians who didn’t even vote.  If only 1 of every 100 nonvoting Christians, 1 percent, had voted for the godly candidate, those five would have been elected, resulting in a ten-vote swing in the Senate toward godly policies.  Imagine how different America would be today if those godly leaders had been working in the Senate for the past decade.

And in a more recent election, five incumbent God-fearing U.S. Senators were defeated in their five states by a collective total of only 100,000 votes.  And millions of Christians didn’t vote in those states.  If only Christians had returned those five to the Senate, partial-birth abortions would now be banned, religious liberties protected, and many other measures reflecting biblical values would have been passed over the past few years.

What is this telling us?  Godly candidates are most often defeated, not by activists and radicals, but by inactive Christians!  This means the ability to change the current situation is in our hands.

As Edmund Burke explained: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

4. Vote the Bible: One of the reasons Christians don’t vote is because they’re not sure who to vote for.  It’s not a Democrat or Republican issue; it’s a Bible issue.  If every Christian would just vote based on whether their chosen candidates believe the Bible or not, we could move toward taking America back.  One of the ways you can find out what a candidate believes is to investigate the party platform.  Research the party platforms on what they believe about abortion, marriage, prayer in the public sector, and other biblical values.

When it comes to retaining judges in office, if a judge doesn’t vote the Bible, vote them out.  And of course, when a God-fearing President is in office, he will appoint Bible-believing judges.

Samuel Adams, signer of the Declaration of Independence, said this: “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”

When we vote, if we are (in fact) executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which we are accountable to God, doesn’t it make sense that we should vote the Bible?

5. Keep the faith, knowing that God is for us, and He has blessed this Nation as His own:

We must accept the civic responsibilities implied and expressed by Abraham Lincoln when he made this statement: “It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”

This is confirmed in:

Psalm 33:12 (NKJV)

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, and the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.

As we’ve seen, the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America reveals that the original intent of our founding fathers was to establish One Nation Under God according to the Judeo-Christian principles outlined in the Holy Bible.

Copyright ©2012 Jim Collins

Jim Collins is a Pastor, Motivational Speaker, Businessman, and Author.Jim is a certified speaker, trainer, and coach with the John Maxwell Team. He is the founder of Beyond Positive Thinking Ministries (www.beyondpositivethinking.org) and Pastor of Victory in Christ International.
Visit Jim Collins's website at Beyond Positive Thinking Ministries
See more from Jim Collins at http://www.beyondpositivethinking.org

 


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