NASHVILLE — State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) and Representative Sheila Butt (R-Columbia) have introduced a resolution in the Tennessee General Assembly recognizing February 10 as the 60th anniversary of the addition of the words “under God” to the United States Pledge of Allegiance. The date recognizes when U.S. Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan introduced a bill in the 1954 United State Congress to amend the text. Senator Ferguson chose this date because it marked the 1949 anniversary of the imprisonment of Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty of Hungary, who was jailed and tortured by Communists for his sermons exposing the goal of Communism to eradicate all religion.
“Like Senator Ferguson, I believe these words are important to highlight a fundamental difference between free and communist governments – which is freedom to express our faith,” stated Representative Butt. “It is important that we continue to support this addition to the pledge to our nation’s most sacred symbol, our flag, as we preserve our Judeo-Christian heritage.”
“After sixty years with these important words in our pledge, our religious freedoms continue to be challenged,” added Sen. Kelsey. “Like our brave forefathers, we must stand up for our rights or we will see them wither away.”
Kelsey and Butt said they anticipate 40 states passing the resolution this year, with Mississippi having already enacted the measure.
The Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. flag was first recited using the words one nation “under God,” on Flag Day, June 14, 1954. Lawmakers will return to Nashville to reconvene the 108th General Assembly on Tuesday. Each session of the House and Senate begins with members reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.