After some caucus meetings at the Democratic National Convention omitted the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, the Knights of Columbus told CNA the words represent a fundamental American belief, and said the group is proud of its role in their addition to the pledge.
“The Knights of Columbus is proud of our instrumental role in persuading Congress to add the words ‘under God’ to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954,” Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson told CNA Aug. 20.
“Those words express a fundamental belief that we have held as a nation since our founding, that we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights,” Anderson added.
Anderson’s remark came amid reports that at meetings held as part of the Democratic National Convention, delegates omitted the words “under God” as they led the Pledge of Allegiance. The omissions came during meetings of the DNC’s Muslim caucus and LGBTQ caucus.
The Pledge of Allegiance in its modern form was composed in 1892, and officially recognized by Congress in 1942. The Knights of Columbus were instrumental in encouraging that the words “under God” be officially adopted into the Pledge of Allegiance in the early 1950s.
Along with other groups, the Knights of Columbus advocated for inclusion of the phrase, and in early 1954, Congress passed a bill to do so. President Dwight Eisenhower signed the bill into law on Flag Day, June 14, 1954.
“In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource, in peace or in war,” Eisenhower said at the time.
The United States Flag Code contains the official text of the Pledge of Allegiance, and contains norms regarding the etiquette for display and care of the U.S. flag.
For his part, Anderson said the phrase reminds Americans of “a fundamental belief that we have held as a nation since our founding, as expressed by President John F. Kennedy in his Inaugural Address that our rights as Americans ‘come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.’”