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In Theory: Leaving 'under God' out of the Pledge

June 30, 2011

Q. The NBC television network has come under fire for omitting the words “under God” from a broadcast of the Pledge of Allegiance shown before the U.S. Open golf championship. The video montage of patriotic images including the American flag was dubbed with children reciting the Pledge — without the phrases “under God” and “indivisible.” A second showing of the video also left out the phrase “one nation.”

NBC's omission has caused a storm of outrage, with demands for the people responsible for cutting the Pledge to be fired and calls for a campaign to boycott NBC shows and its advertisers springing up on social media and blogs. The channel's golf host, Dan Hicks, read a statement during coverage, which said in part, “It was our intent to begin our coverage of this U.S. Open championship with a feature that captured the patriotism of our national championship. Regrettably, a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance ... was edited out. It was not done to upset anyone and we'd like to apologize to those of you who were offended by it.”

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Dan Gainor, the Media Research Center’s vice president for Business and Culture, slammed NBC in an article on Fox5.com, saying, “So a small, faith-hating cabal of liberal idiots cuts God out of the 'Pledge of Allegiance' and NBC is doing what exactly? Exactly nothing.” He also called the omission “an act of religious bigotry” and described NBC as “anti-religious lefty loons.” Sen. Dan Coats (R - Indiana) demanded that NBC explain why the words were left out and said he was “disturbed” that they were.

Does leaving out the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance concern you?

Based on the way this question unfolds, I think I can tell how I’m supposed to answer. But I’m not going to answer it that way. Instead, I have four questions:

1. Do you really believe that the mangling of our Pledge of Allegiance by NBC was purely accidental — like a typo, except on film? How many producers do you suppose wrote and re-wrote, watched and re-watched the clip which left out the phrases “one nation,” “under God” and “indivisible”? Be sure of this — NBC knew exactly what they were airing.

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