The Prayer Of Allegiance
posted at 11:31 am on April 17, 2010 by Danny Glover
Every couple of years, some court interjects itself into America’s infinite debate about “separation of church and state,” and more often than not, the judges take the side of atheists and agnostics who wrongly believe the Constitution demands irreligious purity.
So it was this week in Wisconsin, when U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. An American tradition practiced for a half-century is now in jeopardy because she said “the nature of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a community that the government may not use its authority to try to influence an individual’s decision whether and when to pray.”
My reaction to this new judicial attack on spirituality is similar to the one I had back in 2002 when the phrase “under God” in the “Pledge of Allegiance” was ruled unconstitutional. (The same court ultimately reversed itself on that issue.)
On the one hand, the history of this nation makes clear that there is a difference between freedom of religion and freedom from it, which is what too many courts are demanding these days. But on the other hand, the faith of Christians does not depend upon the superficial endorsement of the government or any other secular institution.
Our allegiance is to God, and it demands a deep commitment to righteousness, not just a symbolic declaration that we are “under God.” Faith also demands a life of prayer, not a superficial and arguably politically motivated day of it. When government takes the side of those who reject God, it should strengthen the resolve of His children to serve the Lord, come what may.
Those beliefs inspired me to write the “Prayer of Allegiance” after the ruling against the pledge. Now seems like a good time to share that prayer here:
Of the United States and all nations,
And to His Son, for whom we stand,
One household, under God, indivisible
Teaching mercy and salvation to all.
The point is that true faith does not depend upon the government endorsing it on coins, in pledges or on specific days that have no special meaning to God.
Despite this week’s court ruling, President Obama plans to proclaim the traditional first Thursday in May (the 7th) as the next National Day of Prayer. But if he doesn’t, or if the tradition ends in the future, Christians in America should not lose heart.
We are blessed to live in a country where we can worship in peace — and where we can speak freely against judges who don’t seem to love God. But our faith needs to be as strong as the first Christians, who lived (and sometimes died as martyrs) during the Roman Empire’s era of cruel and unusual punishment.
They trusted in God and prayed their allegiance to Him when government was against them, and they will be rewarded in heaven. We would do well to follow their lead.