Scattered throughout human history, are travesties of all kinds imposed on human beings 'in the name of' God. This has been the dark side of religion - of many religions and religious doctrines - that while they claimed to worship the Divine Source of being and of love, their actual practice was anything but reverent and anything but loving.
This is true in the present as it was in the past, even if, in certain instances, outright brutality and murder is not in question. Indeed, the history of religious practice is filled, both in the recent and distant past, with collective memories of persecution, injustice, divisiveness, and of much that has been unholy, all perpetrated in the name of spiritual beliefs and in the name of the Supreme Being who, in certain instances, was claimed to have authorized such behavior.
Being 'one nation, under God', can mean something quite different, however.
It can refer not to doctrine, but to feeling.
It can refer not to denomination, but to the universal Essence of all of humanity that is part of a Divine Oneness.
It can separate itself from the ridicule, contempt, fear and guilt that have been projected onto an anthropomorphic deity who sits on a large throne and judges mankind from on high, to something altogether different.
The word 'under', can be newly understood so that it no longer refers to servitude, judgment, or fear, but to unity within Creation and to a oneness with the Divine Creator of Creation.
The word 'under' does not necessarily mean beneath another in value. It can mean beneath another whose holy authority is freely recognized, and who reigns supreme within each human heart as the deepest part of each Self.
Here is the key distinction. To be 'under God' not in servitude, but in love.
To give authority not unwillingly, but freely in relation to that which is higher within oneself and within all of Creation.
To feel, and know, and understand, that the One Creator of all lives within one's own deepest being as oneself. Not as the outer self. Not as the personality self. But as the deepest core Essence.
In another sense, too, being one nation 'under God' can come to change its meaning. It can come to refer to Unity, rather than to the divisiveness that history has imposed on this phrase. If all are united under One, and that One lives within each, then all must acknowledge their common Divine heritage and their common sacred bond with each other.
If all are part of the One, then all are brothers and there is no 'other' from whom one is separate.
This is the new meaning to be given to the phrase 'under God'. It does not have to do with religious distinctions or the names by which the Supreme Being is called, or the attributes that one associates with Divine Being. Rather, it has to do with the One Spirit that pervades all, Creator of life and Author of what Is.
Finally, for America to be 'one nation, under God' does not infringe upon government's independent function in the ways that we are currently fearful of it doing. For in the time of Unity and of the perception of oneness that lies ahead, there will be no separate function anywhere. Not of government, or society, or family, or political life, or social structure, or scientific life. Rather than needing to be fearful of the imposition of the values of one Church or group on the independent functioning of the State, it will be known and felt that all of life is sacred, and a common spiritual sensibility will be shared by all without trying to impose the views of one on any other.
In such a circumstance, there will be no separation to be had anywhere between one branch of life and another. For this sacred life will be seen as but the outer form of a spiritual reality that shines through it and that infuses every aspect of physical reality.
This perception, when it arrives, will not be based on thought, but on feeling. It will not come through the mind, but through the heart and the body. If all of life is sacred, then for government to be sacred in its perceptions of itself, of its own conduct, and of its way of holding itself accountable, would merely be part of the rest of what constitutes the social fabric and the underlying spiritual principles to which all adhere.
Many have fear, based on historical experience, that religion or spirituality will divide rather than unite. That it will create exclusion rather than an end to separation. Though this has been true in the past, we are coming to a time in which the old dogmas must give way before the new breath of understanding of a deeper oneness than what has traditionally been espoused. And as these old dogmas give way, in their place shall come a new understanding of the unity of man within the unity of life.
America's future is to be one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Indeed, it is not just America's future, but the future of humanity as a Whole. May it be so. Blessings and Amen.