Mars Hill Forum #98: “Should God Be Removed From the Pledge of Allegiance?”

Living Rock Church, Killingworth, CT, November 6, 2005; Guest: David Silverman of American Atheists

Prepared Outline by John C. Rankin

I. The consent of the governed includes the freedom to include God in the Pledge of Allegiance, but does not require it. The real concern is a matter of history and the Source for religious, political and economic liberty – especially for atheists and other dissenters to a biblical

II. “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.”

III. Assumptions of biblically rooted Protestants (1720-1776) who wrote the Constitution. Fruit of the Reformation yearning for freedom.

  • No place for religious sectarianism (cf. Article VI: “but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public trust under the United States.”
  • The uniqueness of a Protestant hegemony not imposing its religion on the new nation. Rooted in biblical understanding of liberty.
  • Biblical story line of creation, sin and redemption. Crucial to interpret fallen human history, and the need for checks and balances.
  • The power of informed choice in Genesis 2:15-17.
  • The Good News = the freedom to dissent … What other source in human history?

IV. Unalienable rights in the Declaration, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, and the the First Amendment: “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 of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

VI. The source for liberty – the Babylonian genesis, Greek or Roman mythology, secular philosophy or the biblical Genesis?

VII. If we remove “under God,” we undercut “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

VIII. How biblical people treat others in a free society.

IX. Recitation in the public schools


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Text of John Rankin’s address on the occasion of the 500th annive5rsary of the Reformation.