Our sure foundation is constitutional

June 29, 2002


“Under God” is unconstitutional? 

Using tax dollars to send children to private and parochial schools is constitutional?

What gives?

What gives is an understanding of America’s Christian heritage.

Ninth Circuit Judge Alfred T. Goodwin wrote in a 2-1 opinion this past week that the phrase “under God” violates the separation of Church and State and hence, he and one of his court clowns declared the pledge to be unconstitutional.

Perhaps Judge Goodwin watched the news or took a poll the next day, because he put a stay on the order right away.  Not sure of himself, now he wants the full Ninth Circuit Court to review his decision.

And this guy is a federal judge?  Makes a person real confident when he walks into Goodwin’s courtroom to know that his final decisions are open to public pressure. 

It would have been better if Goodwin knew that “under God” is an historically accurate statement.  Or if Goodwin would have read Rev. George Docherty’s 1954 Flag Day sermon, the one where he made the suggestion to add “under God” to the pledge and gave its rationale.

Had Goodwin taken the time to understand both the fact of America’s Christian heritage and Rev. Docherty’s rationale he and a host of others would never make the foolish error so common to them. 

There is no separation of church and state in the federal constitution.  There never was, except in the tortured minds of certain Supreme Court justices who read their own interpretations into law.

And that is precisely the point.

For law to be law its foundations cannot always be evolving.  They must be sure and predictable, based on something that is immutable.  In America, that something is God.  It formed the basis for our Declaration of Independence.  It formed the basis for our constitutions.  It is and was the rock, the cornerstone.

That is what Rev. Docherty said.  What makes America different, and what makes America’s Pledge of Allegiance different from a Soviet pledge, is that we are a nation that exists because of the Divine hand of God.  All that we are and have as a political people is based on that fact.

Then there is the voucher issue.  Can tax dollars be used to pay tuition at parochial schools?

In Zellman vs. Simmons-Harris et al, this week the Supreme Court declared that using tax paid vouchers to purchase tuition at parochial schools does not violate the US Constitution.  Those Cleveland, Ohio students whose parents made the choice to send them to religious-based schools had every right to do it, so spoke the Court.

Folks like me cheered.  And we cheered again when Judge Goodwin changed his mind about the Pledge, even though for the wrong reasons.

Still, I am bothered that the current Supreme Court has still not clearly told the truth.  For what separates America’s Republic from all others is our faith in and firm reliance on God.

Not all Americans believe this way, of course. 

Some hate God.  Some think He is imaginary, like a fictional friend we need to sooth our fears.  But even these believers in other gods, or in nothing, derive their American freedom and heritage from God, from the principles of His Word.

In America, we allow non-believers to flourish based on their own will and whim precisely because God set the example.  God does not force anyone to be a believer – He draws men to Himself.  In like manner, we do not use government to force anyone to confess faith in God, but we still do not relinquish the faith that is foundational to our existence.

The founding fathers never wanted a federally-sanctioned church.  But back home, they did not hesitate providing tax dollars to support state churches or even local preachers.

So my hope and prayer about this past week’s ruling is that the courts will finally get it right, once they reconsider the Pledge decision.  To do so, they will have to consider the truth about America; that is only “one nation” when it is “under God,” just as it was at its beginning, and as it must be if it is not to end.


Author - Speaker - teacher