Saturday, March 25, 2006

Living Together in Peace . . .

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands. One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. ”

Wait a minute! There’s something missing.

The question is— should that which is missing be included or should it not? That is one of the debates going on in our nation today. Since sometime in the 1950s, at the urging of President Eisenhower, our pledge of allegiance has included the words one Nation, “under God”.

A few years ago my wife and I were in Chicago with family. We rode in a taxi and because the back seat was full, I rode up front with the taxi driver. In our conversation I learned he was from India so I asked his opinion about the India-Pakistani conflict that was going on at that time. He answered that he is married to a Pakistani woman and they would like to see peace come to the area because they each have family about whom they are concerned.

In the Middle East today people are killing each other in the name of religion. Moslems and Jews are finding it impossible to live together peacefully, but here in our nation peace between Moslems and Jews is the norm rather than the exception. In Iraq, the possibility of stability is in real jeopardy because of differences between two Moslem sects.

In Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan a person can be hanged or beheaded for converting from Islam to Christianity, but here in the United States it is legal for Moslems to have Mosques and other facilities to convert Christians to their faith. As I write this Abdul Rahman has been sentenced to be beheaded because he converted to Christianity sixteen years ago while he lived in Germany. Apparently he returned to Afghanistan after the Taliban were expelled because he thought it was safe to do so.

Recent pictures of him on the web and on television show a man with a warm smile in spite of obvious wounds on his face. I pray God will use his deep conviction and Christ-like smile to win millions to the faith all around the world. The blood of the martyrs has always been the best seed for the Gospel. I hope and pray our Brother Abdul Rahman will be allowed to live in Afghanistan in peace and safety and continue to witness to his faith. I pray millions all around the world will be won to the Lord because of his courageous witness.

I also pray for the cleric I saw recently on television who said Abdul should be excecuted. This from a holy man? I pray God will bring conviction to the cleric for this attitude, by the loving spirit of Abdul, so that he too will accept Christ as his Lord and Savior.

It wasn’t too long ago that most of the news from Ireland was about the conflict between Catholics and Protestants. Yet right here in America we have Catholics and Protestants who are good friends and who have great respect for each other and even worship together often in community services. Why is it that in our United States people can usually live together peacefully when in other parts of the world they are at war?

One reason is because we hold dear the concept that every person is free to worship God, or not, to worship the God of the Christians, Jews and Moslems, or not.

That freedom should be prized by all of us even when it means adapting our ways to leave room for someone else’s convictions. I personally like “One nation, under God” because I know it is true. We are under God’s dominion whether or not we recognize it. On the other hand, I don’t want someone else telling me how or what I should believe about God, so, as a Christian I must do to others as I would have them do to me. If I insist that everyone else believe as I do then I don’t really follow the teaching of the Christ whose name I bear.

So, in my opinion, if our courts believe the phrase “One nation under God” in our pledge of allegiance violates the freedom of another American, or any other person who adopts our wonderful land, then they have my permission to take out those two words. (As if they needed it.)

It won’t hurt God a bit and it is still a fine pledge to that wonderful flag of our great nation.

And those of us who want to, can still put it back in any time we say it.

I'm Rick Blumenberg . . .
And that's my view, from Tanner Creek.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rick,

You've needed a blog for a long time, it's great that you're out on the World Wide Web. Write on! I enjoy your writings & our friendship. Your favorite brother named tony.

Anonymous said...

Rick, I checked tonight hoping for another article and was glad to see one. You do a super job!! Carolyn