While visiting a sister-in-law at a San Luis Obispo hospital I read Emily Thurston’s commentary about the Pledge of Allegiance, and her opposition to the reference to God (“Remove ‘under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance,” June 25). It was a well-crafted document, in which she expressed her views with clarity, but since she espoused having an open mind, I am sure she would be receptive to another opinion.
I was about her age when “under God” was added to the pledge. It was a remarkable and inspiring event. I can remember accepting with pride and happiness the recognition that the “God of Abraham” (which includes Muslims, Christians, and Jews among others) was recognized as blessing this great country of America. An America that had overcome the tyranny of the dictatorships of Germany, Italy, and Japan. An America that had then rebuilt Europe and Japan at great expense to assure that those countries could practice their rights of free agency. An America led by men and women (like General Eisenhower) who had experienced war first hand and seen what tyranny was really like.
No, I see nothing of what Miss Thurston imagines religious tyranny to be in America by the simple reference to God in the Pledge of Allegiance. Not even close. I care not what God a person worships. I care not about the color of their skin or their heritage. I am only concerned with their freedom and rights, and I know from personal experience what it means to not have such rights.
How well I remember in 1956 when Russia invaded Hungary and my classmates in high school crying that their families were now prisoners in their homeland. I then recall traveling extensively behind the Iron Curtain in the 1970s to Hungary, East Germany, Poland, Romania and other countries of East Europe, meeting God-worshipping people who would ask what it was like to be in America where one could openly pledge feelings to God. I have seen real suffering caused by those who control the lives and minds of others. This I have never seen in America, never.
Having lived outside America in Germany, Japan, Austria, New Zealand as well traveling to more than 40 other countries, I always come home to America knowing it is the land of the free. It is a glorious thing to read the writings and opinions of the founders of this country. As a result of doing so I have gained a personal testimony that they all shared the view that “In God We Trust.” Perhaps some day she will not be so critical of why we are one nation under God, and why He blesses this great country.