One nation, under God

By By Gene Taylor / u.s. representative
June 22, 2004
On June 14, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling that allows the Pledge of Allegiance to remain an oath in accordance with the Constitution. This means children in California and throughout America can safely recite the Pledge of Allegiance in its entirety, just as they should.
Two years ago the Pledge of Allegiance came under attack when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the pledge was unconstitutional due to the phrase "under God." At the time, that court's ruling stood for nine states in the western U.S. and was not effective until after the ruling was considered in the Supreme Court.
I am glad to see that our Supreme Court was able to uphold the complete Pledge of Allegiance and allow our nation to continue be "one nation, under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all."
Legal disputes
It is the function of every court in the United States to make decisions on legally disputed matters that are brought before them. Fortunately, our Founding Fathers had the wisdom to establish a systematic legal process that provides for any decision to be brought to a higher court to ensure that the final decision on a matter is the just one.
I am glad to see that the highest court in the land has made this ruling. Indeed, no one would say that the views of three judges in San Francisco, California represent what the moral majority of this country would consider just.
I believe that the phrase which was added in 1954 was included in our pledge because the people and leaders of America understood that no matter how powerful we become, no matter what trials and tragedies we may endure, the fate of our nation ultimately lies in a higher power.
I believe that every word of the pledge is an appropriate and accurate representation of the philosophy, ideals, and principles that have made this country great.
When I was sworn into the U.S. Coast Guard in 1971 the oath I took contained the phrase, "So help me God," at the end. When I was sworn in to serve the people of South Mississippi 15 years ago in the U.S. House of Representatives I took an oath that ended with, "So help me God."
That day I stood on the House floor and said how proud I was to be a member of a body, and a citizen of a nation, that was not afraid to say, "In God We Trust." That same phrase is printed on United States currency, and is carved in the wall above the American flag that hangs behind the speakers chair in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives, where I serve. In addition, the Declaration of Independence makes several references to God.
When the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals made its controversial ruling that the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional because of the phrase, "under God," I was reassured to see the outcry from citizens across the nation condemning their action. The House, the Senate, the presidency, and the American people all ridiculed the judges. The day after the ruling I was proud to cast my vote for H.Res. 459 denouncing the courts decision.
Horrors of war
Generations of Americans have suffered the horrors of war, many of them lost their lives in battle, to protect the ideals and principles expressed in our pledge of allegiance. It is only appropriate that a court whose existence is the very product of the wisdom of our founding fathers and has been protected with the blood of so many Americans, has allowed for us to retain a vital part of our nations character and identity.
Our veterans made their sacrifice for a nation that stood for all that was good and decent in the world. America has been met with many challenges over the passed few years. Never before has it been so important for us to stay reminded of those values that have kept us strong in the past and will carry us triumphantly into the future.
I know that many South Mississippians were concerned about the fate of our Pledge of Allegiance. This ruling has provided some reassurance that the values we hold dear can remain present in our express devotion to this country. Please know that I will continue to support the Pledge of Allegiance and all that it so rightfully stands for.
U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., of Bay St. Louis, represents Mississippi's 4th Congressional District.

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