During the early 1950s it became important to distinguish the difference between Communists and Democrats. This was no easy thing to do. Something was needed to establish a clear delineation, easy to recognize. After pondering the matter several years, in 1954 Congress finally found the key:
“The decision of Congress to add “under God” to the Pledge was, at least in part, a reaction to the Cold War with Soviet Russia. One of the differentiating factors between Soviet Communism and American Democracy was that the Soviets officially advocated atheism. The phrase “under God” was seen, therefore, to reaffirm an important distinction between the two competing worldviews. [Source: Religion and the Law in America, p. 110-12].
“On June 14, 1954, President Eisenhower signed the bill officially adding “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance. The President remarked that, “millions of our schoolchildren will daily proclaim in every city and town … the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty.” [Source: Slate.com]”
Seemed simple enough until someone wondered aloud, “But how can a person distinguish a Christian from a non-Christian?” After a lot of pondering and head scratching they were forced to resort to The Apostles’ Creed, 312 CE.
“The Apostles’ Creed
(as usually recited today)
“The basic creed of Reformed churches, as most familiarly known, is called the Apostles’ Creed. It has received this title because of its great antiquity; it dates from very early times in the Church, a half century or so from the last writings of the New Testament.
“I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
“Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
“He descended into hell. [See Calvin]
“The third day He arose again from the dead;
“He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
“I believe in the Holy Ghost;
the holy catholic church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.
Extremely helpful during the Vietnam War. A person of Asian ethnicity who could recite the Pledge of Allegiance and the Apostle Creed could be said with confidence not to be a Communist. Anyone who couldn’t, was.
Same as today.
Sometime I’ll tell you about the trauma those of us who’d already learned the Pledge went through trying to figure out and remember where to say the phrase, “under God” and where to pause when including it.