One Nation Under God Divisible


By Mia Gradick

As a young girl, one of my most beloved activities was and will always be reciting. I have been told by many I should learn to close my mouth sometimes, but when it comes to my country and my faith, you will never see me silent or non- demonstrative.  

I remember this first occasion in kindergarten when I was asked to raise the flag on the flagpole, an award given to the student that week who illustrated virtue and embodied principles that our historically Judeo-Christian nation was founded upon. I remember standing in the classroom as a six-year-old with my hand over my heart chanting with boldness and devotion the Pledge of Allegiance:

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

Oh, I remember. Gone are the days when we were proud to wave the American flag that symbolizes a country that fosters virtues like liberty and justice for all people of all faiths. Gone are the days when parades honored Independence Day, a day that cultivated hope in the hearts of pilgrims who escaped religious persecution, tyranny, and revolution to name a few. Also, gone are the days when we faithfully attended church with our families. Gone are the days there were simply two genders. Gone are the days we could freely worship without infringement of the government in the midst of a pandemic. Sadly, gone are the days many were proud to be Americans.  But most importantly, gone are the days when we mightily proclaimed that we are “one nation, under God.” 

Flashforward to 2021. Welcome to the days where we burn our flag, disregard it, and unpeacefully preach anarchy under the guise of social justice movements. We do not learn about our deep and cherished Christian heritage in schools anymore, but we do parade around subjective and controversial theories regarding race. Religious and worship attendance is at an all-time low - a historic 29% of people never attend services. In 2021, we actually choose which restroom we go into depending on which gender we identify with. To add onto this baffling list, towards the beginning of quarantine, many church-goers were mandated by the government not to attend church because it violates public health. 

Now, last but not least, we are too “woke” to remember that the liberty that we not so long ago valued is a freedom which is inherently God-Given. It was proudly promoted by our Founders and political philosophers who suggested we should jealously maintain a sentiment of pride as Americans. Unfortunately, this posture seems to have been shipwrecked in a sweeping sea of post-modernism and its radical tides that capture everything in its wake.

So, the question you may be asking is “why?” We can credit all of this, almost all of our problems that we face as a nation back to these two, precious words that our Pledge of Allegiance once enshrined: under God.

Whether or not we are “one nation under God” anymore, that’s up to you to decide. However, we are a nation that regards our individual wants as more important than living virtuous lives in the way Christ graciously modeled for us. Many of us instead view politics and social issues as ends in themselves, not realizing that hope springs eternal and the policies of our time are simply means to achieve temporal ends. Often, we witness the fiery effects of putting our worth into worldly and fleeting desires that will ultimately never satisfy us.

Now, there may be nothing wrong with such ends and desires. We are human after all. It is of paramount importance to recognize our rich history and the once inextricable link between dedication to the Divine,  our traditions, and the virtues we once revered.

If you recall, our predecessors came to this great land in search of a haven where they could zealously live out their faith. Essentially, the pilgrims sought much like we should today: the Platonic good life. The desire to seek the true, the good, and the beautiful was implemented into early American politics and policies. It was a part of the Founding culture to attend church and be in community with other pilgrims. Christianity, for many, was the tried-and-true way to achieve the good life which they desperately yearned for. Policies simply existed to guard those sincerely held religious beliefs and their faith- driven lives.

Over time, between wars, revolutions, a rise of individualism, and technology, our Judeo- Christian foundation and “city on a hill” mentality has slowly eroded, crumbling into sharp pieces of political polarization, fragmented faiths that are now more political than religious, and a Nietzschean belief that God is dead. Our current policies and cultural orthodoxy reflect this. The question remains: Are we are no longer “one nation under God” and simply a “nation” one or otherwise? 

You may be reading this with the thought that we are in a hopeless situation. With dirty and cracked lenses on, it sure may seem like it. But if you take them off and look at this analysis for what it really is, you might find that hope does indeed shine bright. Though perhaps not in politics or in today’s seemingly out of control anti-culture. Rather, our hope is in the realization that we are simply voyagers passing through unknown waters to find our true King. 

 My answer? I wish I had one. What I do know is that I want to make that little girl who once recited the Pledge of Allegiance in her kindergarten classroom proud. I want to live virtuously and submerge myself in the search for the good life. I want to read poetry, attend church, and enjoy my community by finding activities that bring me closer to Christ and gain an appreciation for the freedom we have in Him.

Most importantly, I want to boast how we are one nation under God, not just as some distant memory that slowly fades away into hollow recollections and history books. Instead of reminiscing on the past, I have eternal hope that our best days are still ahead of us. After all, one thing is for sure, the power of God and his providence.

One day, I hope we will be one nation under God again. One day.

Mia Gradick is an ISI Honors Scholar at Baylor University. She writes for the college’s Standard newspaper.

Forward in Christ

Proclaiming the Faith and Order of the Church, given to us by Christ.