Before the recent fight over the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, Americans were in conflict over mounting the Ten Commandments in publicly owned places. The God of the pledge and the commandments, advocates argue, is a generic, one-size-fits-all God, in God-blessed America.
Some citizens know that one cannot simply get away with such assertions or evasions. For example, Commandment One is specific in its claim that God must be Number One. The commandments are not simple moral injunctions; they are theological claims which begin, in Exodus 20, with the assertion that “I the Lord your God am a jealous God.” Lots of luck to those Americans who don’t have this God well figured out. We are “under a jealous God,” so we have to get this God right.