Crowd rallies, prays for nation

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 28, 2002

Messenger Intern

A gathering accumulated on the square for the short-notice rally against the California court’s decision that "under God" should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance.

"God fearing Americans everywhere ought to be concerned about this California court ruling. Believers need to pray for those who differ with us, and we need to be committed to take a stand for the religious heritage framed in our government doctrine," John Witherington said to the crowd.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Witherington said he is worried about the far reaching, long-term effects, which could eventually spread to even the southeastern corner of Alabama.

The crowd joined hands around the American flag and sang patriotic songs and prayed about the court’s decision.

In his speech, Witherington said the recent decision reminded him of something Rev. Billy Graham once said.

"America reminds me of a mental institution where the patients have taken over and locked up all the doors," Graham said.

Witherington also argued that the nation’s founding fathers purposely created one nation under God.

"And the next word [after the questionable phrase] is indivisible. That ought to speak volumes to those who espouse a separation between God and nation," he said.

The status of the First Amendment has changed over the years and this is due the decline in the morals of people and the lack of God being taught in the home, according to Witherington.

"The end result is a new-age generation of leaders, many of which who want to change our Constitution to create God-free schools, God-free courts, God-free government and thus a God-free country. We must all work to see that this does not happen to America.

"It angers me that there are those in powerful positions of leadership in our country who do not seek to uphold the rule of law fashioned by our forefathers. These men sought to form our constitution by incorporating Godly principles into the charters of government," said Witherington.

Witherington said he did not think the ruling would be upheld by the Supreme Court, which begins each of its sessions with the phrase "God save the United States and this honorable court."

"I am thankful that we have people in Troy who are concerned about the spiritual welfare of the country. They have proved that today," said Witherington, who also said he was pleased with the turnout for what he call a "short notice" event.

"As a believer, it is important to see the public take a stand for what they believe in. All too often I see people who are ashamed to take that stand," he said.

Sue Quincey and her two sons heard about the rally on the radio this morning while en route home from Vacation Bible School.

"When we heard about it, my sons said, ‘Mom, we have to go to that,’" she said.

"God is why we are here and this nation was built under him. It’s important that we protect our right to say the Pledge of Allegiance," she said.

Critics of the decision also say this will question such things as the use of "In God We Trust" on the nation’s currency.

President Eisenhower signed legislation in 1954 that inserted "under God" after the words "one nation." He wrote that "millions of our schoolchildren will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural schoolhouse, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty."