Summary: This timely message examines the historical and biblical perspective of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to make the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional because of the reference to being a nation "under God."
ONE NATION UNDER?
Prov. 14:34; Psalm 33:12
June 30, 2002 • Dr. Larry L. Thompson (2002)
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.”
This past Wednesday the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals ruled the citing of the Pledge of Allegiance in public school is unconstitutional because the phrase “one nation under God” is an “endorsement of religion.” If this ruling stands then it will be unconstitutional for children in nine states to pledge their allegiance to the flag of the United States.
Once again we hear the dictates of liberal jurists dismantling not only our constitutional right but our national heritage. Judge Alfred Goodwin writes, “The pledge sends a message to non-religious students that they are outsiders.” Well guess what Judge? 98% of Americans polled said they believe in God. I hate to be the one to break the news to you but you are an outsider!
Perhaps we will witness in this latest attack on our nation’s spiritual heritage the reality of the Word of God where scripture teaches, “You meant this for evil but God has used it for good.” I have NEVER seen this nation so united against a judicial ruling as what I have witnessed this week. Whenever the Senate votes 99-0 on anything it is time to take notice. The House also followed suit in a unanimous vote. The President called the ruling “ridiculous judicial junk” and he was joined by the leader of the left wing Senator Ted Kennedy and Sen. Diane Fienstien from the People’s Republic of California calling for the ruling to be overturned. However, the unity doesn’t just stop in the political arena…when have you ever heard of Jerry Falwell, Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson all being united on any issue?
In spite of this national uproar I am going to ask one question that I have not heard asked this past week. “Is Justice Goodwin in some strange and perverted way prophetic in stating that we are not “a nation under God”?
This morning I intend to ask you to join with me in the examination to scripture to determine if the judicial ruling this past week may actually be what God will use to restore our spiritual heritage and awaken the believers who have slumbered through the past forty years of the systematic removal of the presence of the Lord from our nation’s fiber.
I. REVIEW AMERICA’S INDEPENDENCE
“Righteousness exalts a nation…” (Prov. 14:34a)
Righteousness among any group of people has a very beneficial effect. Righteousness—is translated as people living by just and godly principles that produce just and godly actions.
Exalts—literally means in the Hebrew language “raises to honor.” The word exalts means “to lift up,” used here in a moral sense. It literally means that when the nation is a righteous nation then that nation will be honored among many and lifted up before all.
So how does an individual or a nation become righteous? Examine: Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Understand three principles regarding “Righteousness”
• We are not righteous by nature…we are sinners.
• We do NOT become righteous by being good
• We are made righteous through Jesus Christ. 2 Cor. 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Our forefathers understood righteousness. They knew that righteousness was the catalyst to give birth to this nation of people looking for freedom and liberty. They knew that just as CHRIST paid the price for our liberty that they too would pay for LIBERTY. Liberty and freedom ALWAYS EXACTED A PRICE. That’s what the 4th of July is all about---remembering the price that was paid for our freedom.
Our nation was first settled by people who came to these shores looking to express their religious faith. They weren’t trying to get away from something, they were trying to find something, and they were looking for the freedom to worship. You all are familiar, of course, with the Pilgrims who came there to Plymouth Rock on the Mayflower. Just as they landed, they joined together in what is called the Mayflower Compact in 1620. These are the words of the Mayflower Compact:
“In the name of God, amen. Having undertaken for the glory of God and for the advancement of the Christian faith, do solemnly and mutually in the presence of God, covenant and combine ourselves together.”
Those settlers wrote: "We came here for the glory of God, and for the advancement of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In 1643, just about 23 years later, as more and more people came to the shores and up in New England, they formed a confederation called The New England Confederation; this was the first written constitution, of groups meeting together in 1643. The New England Confederation Constitution began: