Not Under God… Easily Divisible
The Civil War of 1861 has been described as the central event in America’s historical consciousness. Approximately 78 years after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War that created the United States, another war was fought that would define the United States. Having secured its sovereignty and established its identity, this fledgling nation now had the greater and more difficult task of examining its soul. America desperately needed to answer two fundamental questions concerning unity and justice. “Can individual states function together as one nation?” and “Is slavery just or unjust?” Unity and justice were the pilings of the Civil War and the prime determinants of the future of the United States of America.
Of course we know that the Northern Union Army won the Civil War, which unified our nation and announced the end of the vile act of slavery. Unity and justice prevailed, but not without great cost. Nearly 625,000 lives were lost in this war and remains as one of the bloodiest wars in American history. This grave truth reminds us that war should be avoided at all cost, but is occasionally necessary—that unity and justice must sometimes be fought for.
Considering the recent controversy associated with the Confederate flag, it is clear that we are presently fighting another civil war where victim thinking is evident. This civil war is not about the division that exists between geographical states, but the growing division between people groups with differing ideologies, who are hampered by victim thinking. Similar to the American Civil War of 1861, our nation is once again struggling to answer vital questions that concern unity and justice—questions that are still the principal determinants of the future of the United States of America.
In 1954, President Eisenhower and Congress revised The Pledge of Allegiance to read one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. This phrase within our pledge is an optimistic confession of three important ideas: 1) that our nation is unified, 2) that our nation publicly acknowledges God as the Sovereign authority figure to whom we are submitted, and 3) that our nation cannot be divided regardless of our differences. It saddens me to say that this confession is not true. Today America is divided. We question God’s existence and have rejected His authority in the name of personal “rights” and “freedoms.” Instead of being one nation under God, indivisible, today America is at least two nations not under God, easily divisible.
The numerous references to God in our nation’s history prove that faith in God has always been a unifier in America since its inception. One of the most important principles of true American freedom is the fact that no one can or should be forced to believe in God. Americans are free to believe in God and to not believe in God. However, being a nation under God instead of a nation under people has protected us from ourselves. Being under God has given us an umbrella under which we can be united as a country. It has provided us with a standard of justice that transcends our mortality and delusional self-righteousness, and upholds liberty and justice for all. As we reject God’s authority as a nation, we are proportionately losing liberties, becoming more divided, and experiencing greater injustice. Each of these is an immediate consequence of not being a nation under God.
The Bible reveals to us several important attributes of God’s nature and what are just a few of the many blessings of being a nation under God.
“Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance” (Psalm 33:12).
“He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty”
(2 Corinthians 3:17).
These verses of Scripture reveal that all the things we desire and optimistically confess to be true in The Pledge of Allegiance—unity, liberty, and justice for all—can readily be found in God and under God.
I cannot recall a more polarizing time in our nation in my lifetime. It seems as if our nation actually prefers the partitioning of people groups, and nurtures and promotes the disunity of Church and State, blacks and whites, men and women, heterosexuals and homosexuals, rich and poor, Democrats and Republicans. It is clear to me that faithlessness toward God and victim thinking combined is a catalyst that is exponentially increasing division among people in America.
Jesus gives us the unfortunate outcome of America being two nations not under God, easily divisible. He warns us, “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” [Mark 3:24-25]. Contemplating His sobering words, we see that divided people within America’s borders is a national security matter that represents a greater threat to us than ISIS, Al Qaeda, or any other terrorist organization. Homeland Security, along with the finest military in the world cannot protect us from us!
I would like to humbly summon the people of America to end the present day civil wars being fought between people groups, by pursuing the unity that only comes from being under God, and by embracing a Zero Victim mentality which disarms the hostilities that cause division. For the sake of our nation’s survival and national security, we must once again strive to be one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
James Ward is an author, corporate executive, and musician who speaks nationally on cultural and spiritual issues. A visionary skilled in organizational leadership, he is known for his genuine love for people, his impeccable integrity, and his ability to challenge listeners intellectually from God’s Word. He is a pastor, scholar, author, community leader, entrepreneur, and gifted teacher who emphasizes personal character development.
After studying music and business at DePaul University in Chicago and touring as a professional musician, Ward pursued a calling to ministry in 1998, eventually earning a Master’s of Divinity in Practical Theology from Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA. His personal mission is to bring out the best in people by helping them obtain and apply the wisdom of God to avoid the unnecessary hardships of life.
In 2013, Ward founded INSIGHT Church in the North Chicago suburb of Skokie, IL and presently serves as senior pastor. He and his wife Sharon have been married for fifteen years and have two wonderful children, Hannah and Jonathan.
Zero Victim by James E. Ward Jr.
(Permission to reprint this article is granted with credit given to James E. Ward, Zero Victim 2015)