Thursday, May 5, 2022


“One nation under God.”

If only that were true.

I smile as I recall a controversy that erupted in the church that my family and I attended during my youth. The challenge was over how the congregation was reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. It was an issue over what amounted to an emphasis and a comma.


The minister admonished the congregation for reciting the pledge with a notable comma between “One nation, under God.” This had the effect of placing the emphasis on “one nation” as opposed to “under God.” His invitation, which felt way more like a demand, was to take away the comma and thus the pause and to declare “One nation under God.” From that Sunday on the pledge was recited with the desired and forceful emphasis in place. No comma. No pause.

This might seem slightly silly to address with those who comprise my readership today. And yet I still vividly recall the feeling of the controversy over fifty years later. It clearly had an impact.

On this National Day of Prayer, I ponder how much an emphasis and a comma might change the way we are living as a country.

From my perspective we as a country and a culture do not live as “one nation under God.” We do not really live as “One nation, under God” either. If truth be told, we live as a divided nation that has placed God under us.

Now, let me clear that even as a minister I am all about the separation of church and state. I do not relish having a pledge to religious conformity as something that all Americans must blindly adhere to. I do not embrace demanding that all American people have to claim a belief in a “God” whatever the emphasis and with or without a comma. I personally place liberty and freedom above conformity and oath. That for me is at the very heart of what remains a possibility for democracy. A possibility that is yet to be a reality. And that just might have something to do with an energetic comma that skews a rightful emphasis.

God is one name for a Universal Principle that is the Source of All that is. It is the One thing that is actually indivisible and forever united. Geographic borders and nationality boundaries are relative at the deeper levels of experience. When religious liberty is compromised and reduced to a national demand division can be the only outcome. When one or any religion is legislated it will be used against those who do not dwell in the majority.

Source is First. Source is Causal. Source is priority. The greatest potential is in Source becoming a priority. We clearly do not have that as a guiding priority. Unless you believe in a God that divides and demands that one religion be enforced for all people. That is not my Source and will pledge no allegiance to it.

Human beings, all human beings, are relative effects within the One Cause. We are “Godlings.” God is a name, one name, for what we actually, essentially, intrinsically are. Or more accurately, IS. God is One and we IS One within It. When we forget that and live out of integrity with that Truth no good can come from it. We are seeing effects of that One Source amnesia everywhere. We could recite the Pledge of Allegiance with commas, without commas, with varying and wavering emphasis, or even standing on our heads yet until we remember that we are called to live under the authority and governance of a superior Source we will flounder, and we will fight. All people will not have equal rights. All people will not be equally honored. A pledge will take precedent over a shared humanity. A flag will wave for only a privileged some while others are diminished and maligned. They are not in the right club and so do not count.

“One nation, under God.”

“One nation under God.”

From a macro and metaphysical vantage point it is a beautiful potential.

“With liberty and justice all.”

For all.

Not for some.

Not just for those who recite the Pledge of Allegiance without a comma and with the proper emphasis. Not just for those who believe in a Christian God. Not just for those who by birth and by race are part of a privileged race and class.

One shared humanity Sourced, sustained, governed, and guided by that Source. All living in a literal Reality that All is One. All ensuring that every single person is treated with reverence, dignity, and respect. All living under the guidance of “God” and not putting “God” under the confines of ideology and even bigotry. When ideology supersedes authentic spirituality, it obscures any true liberty. Division splits apart unity. What is divided will eventually fall. It must. And we are seeing that now.

So, while I would not personally call it as such, I am all about “one nation under God.” I am all about letting Source be my governing Force. I will pledge to that without hesitation. I will not allow false gods of politics, ideologies, race, class, gender, religions to split me off from what is Essentially One. I pledge to that today and every day. I commit to pausing, comma or not, before letting any false separation divide me from what is my One Source.

We will never agree to any one religious’ form. I do not think that is even desirable. Yet perhaps we can agree to common values, governing morals, unwavering ethics, and a high-level treatment of each other that is “God-like” in its expression.

And perhaps we can agree to hold a prayer, whether or not we agree to that term, that we will awaken to the Truth of Being that we are indeed One. That freedom and liberty are indeed the birthright of all people. That we can pledge allegiance less to a flag and more to a shared state of being. That we salute each other as Godlings within this great mystery that many call God.

On this National Day of Prayer and every day.

One nation under God.

A concept becoming a reality in me.

To this I pledge.