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Celebrating 'One Nation, Under God'

By Bruce C. Swaffield, Ph.D.
Professor, School of Journalism, Regent University There couldn't have been a better way to celebrate Flag Day this year.

Millions of Americans no doubt felt a sudden surge of patriotism Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court announced that a California man could not challenge the "one nation, under God" phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The ruling came exactly 50 years after Congress added the phrase "under God" to the Pledge.

Despite the victory, many in the mainstream media already are predicting that similar lawsuits are destined to appear in the weeks and months ahead. Michael Newdow, the California atheist who initially contested the phrase on behalf of his daughter, promises to continue his fight.

To be sure, the battle will rage on. But for now, it is important that we as a nation under God take time to remember, celebrate and give thanks.

We need to remember all those who gave up their freedom and even their lives for what our flag represents. My father was a prisoner of war during World War II. He came home from Germany a different man. He always said he would never complain if God would allow him to return to the United States. I am here today because God brought my father home. In the 50 years I knew and loved my father, I never once heard him complain about anything. He was true to the covenant he made with Our Father.

We need to celebrate all that we possess in the United States. God has blessed this country and its people with an overabundance of wealth - everything from food to water to housing to natural resources and beauty. I have traveled all over the world in the past 15 years, but I have never visited a country that can even compare to the United States. We have possessions and opportunities that no other people anywhere possess. I recall being in China just two years ago. People were amazed when I told them I owned two cars, a four-bedroom house and had a large yard with grass and trees. One young girl just wanted to shake my hand. She had never met an American. Too often, we take for granted what God has entrusted to us. Each day should be a celebration of his goodness and his care of our nation.

We need to give thanks for the opportunity to live in the greatest country in the history of the world. I have never gone without anything in my life, and I do not know what it is like to be thirsty, hungry, or without shelter. Right now, probably half of the people in the world do not have water to drink, food to eat, or a place to live. Millions of people are sick and dying, yet I am healthy and whole. I often wonder why God created me and put me in this great nation. I could have been born anywhere, yet he chose the United States of America. My life should be one of constant thanksgiving. I should never tire of thanking God for the opportunity to be alive at this time.

As I reflect on my life alone, I realize the tremendous responsibility that God has given to each one of us in this country. I owe him my life and my service. Out of my love and gratitude, I need to show my thanks to God by serving others throughout the world.

God has blessed this country and I pray we never lose his favor. Without him, this nation would fall like so many other countries throughout history. What sets us apart from the rest of the world is our faith in a Creator who guides, sustains and protects his people.

For me, the flag is a symbol of both freedom and of God. We are "one nation, under God." The significance of this Flag Day should give us special courage and wisdom. We must continue fighting the forces that threaten to diminish the freedom that God has granted to each and every one of us.

Bruce Swaffield welcomes your e-mail comments.

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