ALEXANDRIA, Pa. — A church official says the clergyman credited with helping to push Congress to insert the phrase "under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance has died in Alexandria, Pa. The Rev. George M. Docherty was 97.
Nancy Taylor, historian for the Huntingdon Presbyterian Church, says Docherty died on Thanksgiving at his home in Alexandria, with his wife, Sue, by his side.
Docherty delivered a sermon saying the pledge should acknowledge God in 1952 at Washington's New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, just blocks from the White House.
On Feb. 7, 1954, he delivered it again after learning that President Dwight Eisenhower would be at the church. Congress inserted the words a few months later.
When President Dwight Eisenhower attended on Lincoln Sunday, February 7, 1954, Docherty preached a sermon calling for the addition of "under God" to the Pledge. As a result of his sermon, the next day President Eisenhower and his friends in Congress began to set the wheels in motion to amend the Pledge of Allegiance to include the phrase. On February 8, 1954, Representative Charles Oakman (R-Mich), introduced a bill to that effect.[