I always like to think of a good question for the 4th of July that will make me a better informed citizen. This year my question was: Who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance and when was "under God" added?
To my surprise I found out that the words of the Pledge of Allegiance were attributed to a Baptist Minister named Francis Bellamy. Myself being an American Baptist minister, this made sense to me. "Separation of church and state" is integral to our founding principal of religious freedom. Bellamy was working on the National Public School Celebration in 1892 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Columbus reaching the New World (I know, History is messy, but Columbus is for another time.) The program was structured around a flag-raising ceremony and a pledge that would be recited by public school children. The year of its writing gave context to the words. Shortly after the civil war the following words held deep meaning: one republic, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. In reflection about his process he wrote: "The true reason for allegiance to the Flag is the 'republic for which it stands'. ..And what does that last thing, the Republic mean? It is the concise political word for the Nation - the One Nation which the Civil War was fought to prove. To make that One Nation idea clear, we must specify that it is indivisible, as Webster and Lincoln used to repeat in their great speeches. And its future? Just here arose the temptation of the historic slogan of the French Revolution which meant so much to Jefferson an his friends, 'Liberty, equality, fraternity'. No that would be too fanciful, to many thousands of years off in realization. But we as a nation do stand square on the doctrine of liberty and justice for all..."
I only wished in my public education I would have known the context of this being written in the after math of the Civil War. But then in the 50's we didn't learn much about the Civil War and the atrocity of Slavery in the U.S. That came later and is still coming. We are still in process of learning what it mean to not only stand on a doctrine of liberty and justice for all, but also how to stand on what it means to live out the reality of liberty and justice for all. Who and what this includes is the ongoing debate of politics.
Rev. Francis Bellamy did not include under God in the writing of the pledge. That came later with the Eisenhower Administration in 1954 during the Cold War.