do justice. love kindness. live prudently.

“…And Justice for All”: Taking our Pledge Seriously

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands:
One nation under God

With liberty and justice for all.

A few days ago, an interesting observation popped up on my Twitter feed. It read something like this: "Don't bother with 'under God' until you can do 'justice for all'."

I've been unable to locate the tweet, so I can't give the author his credit. Still, I think this guy has a point.

If Christians read the Pledge of Allegiance carefully, and if we take that pledge seriously, we will come to understand the pledge as a bold commitment that marries our politics and our faith. The pledge creates a vision of a nation that is "under God," in submission to God's ultimate authority and will. And not only that. It also recognizes that we must, as a nation, be seeking "justice for all." 

"Justice, under God," then, is our pledge. Our sworn duty is to help to build a nation that does such justice. The Christian's political affiliations and parties of choice must be shaped by the Biblical vision of justice – one which protects the weak and poor, welcomes the foreigner, and which takes seriously Jesus' (and, later, Paul's) instructions to live with others in peace and nonviolence.

As Christians, we are already committed to participating in a world where God's will is done on earth, as in heaven. In the pledge, we are agreeing that we will use our influence, large or small, over our nation toward that same end. This ultimately works its way out in the way our candidates and policies of choice balance budgets, wage war, and respond to the foreigners among us.

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