When Chaplain Hensley encouraged US troops to be witnesses for Christ, he used the New Testament word 'martyr'. But ironically, it actually referred to someone who rejected violence and war, notes Dallas Darling.
In 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Navy Chaplain William Maguire was helping man an anti-aircraft gun and said, “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.” (It was later found out the line belonged to a Presbyterian chaplain by the name of Lieutenant Howell Forgy.)
Frank Loesser soon made this phrase into a popular song. It sold millions of recordings and was played so often on American radio stations that the Office of War Information suggested playing it once every four hours to avoid having listeners grow weary of it. US Militarism and American Christianity have always united during wartime to defeat an enemy. The Second World War and Cold War was no different.
While Kate Smith sang Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America”, in response to the spread of Nazism across Europe, “God Is My Co-Pilot” became a national best seller. The anti-Japanese tone and how God guided the Flying Tigers soon turned into a hit song and a popular movie.
It told the story of how someone (God) was protecting and watching over the Flying Tigers and helping them achieve success in the air against overwhelming odds. This notion of a special covenant between the American people and God was also the reason the phrase “under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance during the Cold War. The Pledge of Allegiance and the concept of “One nation under God,” is repeated (and thought) daily by millions of children in schools across America.