One nation … under God

It’s the day after Memorial Day. Most of us have returned to work and school, and whatever patriotic feelings we might have felt for a few briefs moments or perhaps an entire day are in the rear-view mirror.

The strains of The Battle Hymn of the Republic or Taps have probably been related to the backs of our minds, likely not to be resurrected until Veterans Day when we will, once again, show our patriotism and our respect for the men and women who have fought and died for our freedoms, and who continue to fight to preserve the rights we often, and so easily, take for granted.

It’s sad really that our patriotism can so quickly be shoved into the recesses of our mind, conveniently popping out during holidays, or when someone decides to publicly disrespect our flag or our National Anthem, or when, tragically, a terrorist attack here or abroad reminds us just how fragile these things we hold dear really are.

Shouldn’t patriotism be second nature to us? Shouldn’t we hold it dear every single day, understanding that it truly is the things that unite us that will make us stronger, more able to ward off attacks, more capable of standing against extremists ideas, be they conservative ones or liberal ones, and more willing to fight for what is right against what is now merely just socially acceptable?

It will be the underlying spirit, patriotism and faithfulness to something greater than ourselves that makes it so.

We remain, thankfully, “one nation, under God.”

Though our society is fraught with trouble — much of it brought on by ourselves — rift with loose morals and even looser integrity, we continue to believe that there are far more good people in the world than bad. And it is those good people who must rise to the challenges we now face in our country and beyond.

To remain one nation, under God, we must make God our priority. To some, who believe in other deities, that may sound offensive. It is not meant to be. While we respect everyone’s right to believe as they choose and worship whom they will, without fear of castigation or bodily harm, we choose to serve the Lord our God and to fight to remain one nation under God. That is our right.

To remain one nation, under God, we have to stop the hate. And to stop hate, we must stop being judgmental and thinking our way is the only way. We must put aside selfish actions, political single-mindedness and classest attitudes that make one group feel as if they are superior to another.

And we have to stamp out prejudice of every kind. Too often we get stuck on the word racism because it seems to be the hot-button word that draws the most ire, and often the most blood. But it’s prejudice — against women, against blacks, against whites, against Christians, against Muslims, against Democrats or Republicans, homosexuals or transgenders — that beats the loudest and spreads the most venom.

It is not the color of our skin but the strength of our character that should matter. It’s not that we are male or female, rich or poor, straight or gay but that we are honest, caring, faithful, hard-working people that should matter.

We believe all that starts by returning to being one nation, under God.

It doesn’t mean we will be perfect, or immune from failure, but if we shed hate, abandon prejudice and put our faith in something far greater than ourselves, we believe our country can rise again and its people can be united again.

At least that is our prayer.