“One nation” without God: what Obama’s inaugural pledge means for the country

In this week’s inauguration ceremony, the words “one nation under God” were omitted when words from the Pledge of Allegiance were recited during the prayer. In fact, Theodore Roosevelt, a progressive, did not use those words when taking the oath of office during his inauguration.

one nation indivisibleAlthough the original pledge did not have those words, the United States flag code was amended in 1954 was by a joint effort in Congress. Some have challenged the phrase on the grounds that it violates the separation between church and state. However, the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th circuit upheld the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance in the case of Newdow v. Rio Linda Union School District and the Supreme Court has let stand that ruling.

People have been wondering why the administration is so willing to anger so many potential voters to his cause. Catholics, particularly Irish and Hispanic Catholics, have always been a big voting bloc for the Democratic party.

What is at stake for Obama is the fundamental reason for his personal agenda — the belief that the state is responsible for the lives of Americans, not the individuals themselves, and that our rights are derived from rule of law, rather than being inherent in man from God.

Everything — and I do mean everything — that Obama represents, from his socialistic ideas to his core belief in the authority of government, is represented in this argument. These are reminders to the audience that he continues to promote the idea the world should begin to revolve around the theory of statism.

Ultimately, in a police state or leftist state, authoritarianism is the end result. This is where people are held accountable but not responsible for their actions. People get sent to jail for crimes, but are labeled as mentally ill or deficient in some other way, and thus the state decides rights. In a free society, the reverse is true, where people are responsible for themselves and any crimes they commit, but enforcement is thin, as forgiveness is the order of the day. Minor things like throwing a football on the beach are no longer crimes and a sports player that is injured on the field is an assumed risk in an ordinary individualistic society. An authoritarian state, instead, enjoys the power of deciding who is accountable and removes responsibility and places it in the hands of government in an effort to destroy individuality.

One of the aspects of leftist thought is the replacement of God and religion in everyone’s lives with the worship of the state, known as “statism.” In order for the ideal of a leftist state to take hold in society, it has to replace the traditional institutions of God and religion with the all-encompassing state. A man or woman who believes in salvation and charity has no need for a powerful state; they are self-sufficient. The leftist has that need; they want the state to protect them from harm, to support them in old age or poverty, to provide their charitable interests with social programs. To that end, it requires that others are the same way: reliant entirely upon the all-powerful state.

Statism seeks to reverse the basic understanding that rights are inherent in man. No one is responsible any more for anything.

Everything is a state matter — they know best — and this is how they derive power. If you need health care, look to the state. If you need a job, look to the state. If you are poor or hungry, get your money or food from the state. By doing so, you make the state the arbiter of your life and therefore transfer power via the decision-making process.

One of the greatest threats to statism are the ideas of religion (and in particular Christianity) since religion often argues that all men are equal under the eyes of God rather than the state. It was one of the primary reasons Jesus was crucified by the Roman Empire thousands of years ago. He represented a dire threat to the dictatorial authority of the Roman Empire which was based on statism, classes and inequality. Jesus’ message was that all men are equal from God, not the state, and thus the Emperor was no different from the peasant and all men should be treated equally and fairly.

Thomas Purcell is a contributor to The Brenner Brief. Twitter: @LotusTom

Thomas Purcell is a contributor to The Brenner Brief. Twitter: @LotusTom

Law, and responsibility for one’s own action, is thus is an individual matter, not a state one, and accountability in the end is dispensed by God rather than Man.

If the Obama administration backs down on these subtle cues, he is essentially saying that it’s ok that some people should be responsible for their own lifestyle choices. As a result, other groups could also make a similar argument about everything from contraception to diet to work. He would be allowing, in essence, people to decide for themselves what is right and wrong. If he bends to that argument, he would invalidate everything that he has worked for over the last four years. Backing down would undermine all that he stands for.

The American people can see through this charlatan disguise, however. He is a ‘rainmaker’ president — a modern-day Starbuck for the masses — seeking adulation over substance, substituting the glitter of the big top for the bedrock of leadership that traditionally comes from the White House, and using these subtle hints to get his message of statism across.

It is the old argument of statism and oppression. This is not merely about a nanny state rule. His omission in the pledge is about freedom as defined under the Constitution and about our rights being inherent in man and God, rather than as defined by a dictator.

Tyranny is established in this way.

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  1. Just a couple thoughts and questions on an otherwise decent article:

    I don’t understand the reference to Theodore Roosevelt. You clearly stated that “under God” was not in the pledge until 1954, and Roosevelt took office from 1901-1909–there would be no reason for him to have mentioned it. This is being a bit petty, though.

    Secondly, this was not a reciting of the pledge of allegiance. It was an invocation that used a quote from the pledge, but it was not the pledge itself.

    Why don’t you mention that Obama did indeed swear over two Bibles formerly owned by Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln while finishing his oath with “so help me God” during his inauguration? Constitutionally he was not required to do so, yet elected to do so.

    • It was officially a legal pledge until adopted in 1954, but it was around since the turn of the century.

    • No, he won’t mention those little tidbits of information because that would negate the purpose of his article. This is why there is so much divide in this nation; the pettiness of people with a keyboard and a computer screen. I guess swearing on two bibles and saying ‘so help me God weren’t good enough for Mr. Purcell.

      • Little children swear ‘on stack of bibles’. Adults know better.
        The King bible was used because it was Martin Luther King day, understandable. Lincoln too. But consider this: Politically, King was considered virulently liberal at the time, and received funding and support from the Soviet, as it served their purpose to instigate race conflict in the US– even if King was no communist.
        Lincoln, although he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation, it wasn’t until after war started, and did not compensate the owners, did not itself outlaw slavery, and did not make the ex-slaves (called freedmen) citizens. It did not even apply to Union states that were slaves states- look it up.
        The legacy of Lincoln was not the freeing of slaves, it was establishing the Federal government’s supremacy over states rights, and was the real reason of the Civil War. He did not even mention the abolition of slavery until Gettysburg.
        Obama knows this as an educated man, and again was sending a message.
        Lincoln as the greatest President? He was one of the worst.

        • It seems to me like that kind of information should have been included in the article with sources cited.

          “King…received funding and support from the Soviet,”

          Citation needed. An FBI investigation by the government this would effect concluded no credible evidence existed that King was in any way funded by Communist/Soviet money.

          And if you’re referring to “liberal at the time,” I think it is worth mentioning that many liberals of today are more closely associated with Republicans of 20-30 years ago (during Reagan’s term) than the actual Republican part.

          • Funding from the Soviets- Even King knew it, it was used to remove him from chairmanship of the SCLC. Numerous people testified to communist money flowing theu the SCLC with the Congressional HUAC. It is not in dispute. I think he was also stabbed over it, during an internal struggle with communist leader.

            RE King as a liberal– see my article Monday on it, he was no conservative, and your argument merely points out that I’m right; government and the parties are far more left than what they once were, on both sides of the aisle.

          • I don’t think you properly read my reply. Can you please provide a well-backed and supported citation for the King-Communism claims? And I never set out to prove that King wasn’t liberal; my mention was stating that the current Democratic Party is far more closely affiliated with the beliefs and actions of Reagan than the current Republican Party. King was removed from his president role at SCLC because he died.

  2. Both H.W. Bush and even Clinton both used “under God”. I am not sure about the Carter or Ford ceremonies but it is tradition whether it is an invocation or a pledge. Let’s not split hairs and miss the bigger point. There was an outrage at the DNC after taking God out of the platform a clear majority protested reinserting back following the media backlash. It has been evident for the last 2 decades that liberals with their “holiday trees” and public school annihilations of any reference to God they have been moving to push God out and establish a more secular society. How does it seem to be working out? His point is that liberalism as an ideology is fundamentally at odds with any doctrine that preaches God’s supremacy over the state. There has never been a nation with a strong central government that has not eventually eradicated religion.

    • Correct me if I’m wrong, but is the U.S. not technically defined as a secular nation?

      • You are very wrong. “Creator” is in our Constitution, “in God we trust” is on our money, and the nation was founded on the basis of religious freedom which is much different from a secular society.

        • These are the arguments I commonly hear as contrary to that. Could you please address them?

          “Under God” wasn’t on coins until the Civil War, and wasn’t on paper money or in the pledge until the red scare in the 1950s. This has nothing to do with the founding of this nation…

          Can you then explain why the Treaty of Tripoli establishes the US as a secular nation? And how a well-known Christian president (John Adams) who authored this treaty could have made such an error?

          The words “Creator” and “God” are not found anywhere in the US Constitution. The word is, however, found in the Declaration of Independence. And considering the author of the Declaration of Independence was a deist who despised much of the Christian God and Catholic Church, what makes you think he wrote a document establishing Christianity as the basis for the country? As a deist who wrote his entirely own version of the Bible for it’s good stories and morals, it is unlikely he was referring to a Christian God and scholars have maintained that “Creator” is simply a term used to indicate whatever created us. Finally, “Creator” does not mean God. God means God.

          Lastly, Jefferson, the author of the Declaration, once stated in the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom: “No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”

          Hardly sounds like something for the basis of a religious nation. He essentially repeats this in the Constitution (1st Amendment).

          Furthermore, the preamble to the Constitution states separation of church and state (“There shall be no interference whatsoever of the sacred religious feelings in State affairs and politics.”). This clearly states that government affairs and religious affairs should be separate–another hint at a secular nation. Even C.S. Lewis, a well-known Christian author supports such thoughts.

          This isn’t to say that Christianity didn’t *influence* the founding of the US (it most certainly did), but these arguments seem to state otherwise.

  3. “The Christian god is a three headed monster, cruel, vengeful, and capricious. If one wishes to know more of this raging, three headed beast-like god, one only needs to look at the caliber of people who say they serve him. They are always of two classes: fools and hypocrites.” – Thomas Jefferson. Letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, January 1, 1802

    Our founding fathers did not want religion to govern our country. Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Washington and Hamilton all believed in God, but not the god in the Bible. Why modern day Christians insist on shoving their beliefs in other peoples faces I will never understand.

    BTW, the Pledge was written by Francis Bellamy, who was a Baptist minister and a Christian socialist.


  1. […] Thomas Purcell: web site, Twitter, The Brenner Brief columns, “One Nation Without God” column […]

  2. […] my article on Obama’s inauguration came a lot of criticism of my argument that Obama was promoting a godless […]

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