July 3, 2015
Have you ever read the Pledge of Allegiance?  

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, 
and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, 
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Have you ever noticed what’s not there?  At the end of the first line, there’s no comma between “one nation” and “under God.”  As it turns out, the words “under God” were added to the Pledge by Congress in 1954.  
Previously, the line read, “...one Nation indivisible...”

To this day, most Americans recite the Pledge with a pause between “one nation” and “under God.”  Most of us recite the familiar words without thinking about punctuation or how this pause affects the meaning, but isn’t it noteworthy that we probably should recite "one Nation under God" with no pause?  And wasn’t our country’s founding, as with the Boy Scouts, rooted in a fundamental reverence toward our Maker, whatever faith we come from?

It’s been said that democracy, as a form of government, only works because of a common belief in a higher being. Indeed, in the Boy Scouts we know that belief in God is an essential part of growing up to be an honorable adult. And as we celebrate our nation's founding this Fourth of July, it seems more fitting than ever that we might teach our kids not to separate God with a comma, either as we recite the Pledge of Allegiance or as we make ethical decisions in our daily lives.

-- John A. Hovanesian, MD
Executive Vice Chairman, OCBSA
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