NBC airs Pledge of Allegiance without "under God"

By Phil Plait | June 20, 2011 11:07 am

A minor firestorm has been lit by the NBC TV network: for their coverage of the the U.S. Open golf competition over the weekend, NBC aired a little patriotic intro of kids reciting the "Pledge of Allegiance" to the American flag intercut with shots of soldiers raising the flag. No big deal for a sports show, except for one small thing: they edited out the kids saying the words "under God" in the Pledge:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZIDvLJhSOE

Hmmmm. I have several comments.

1) I don’t think this was intentional on the part of NBC. Obviously, they meant to edit the Pledge, but I don’t think they took out the words "under God" as some sort of anti-American God-hating plot to secularize the country and turn us into slavish devil-worshippers. Not that this would stop some folks from believing just that.

That seems far-fetched to start with, but mind you they also edited out the word "indivisible". If they had some sort of anti-religious agenda, why take that out? Just taking out "under God" would be a much stronger statement.

2) The original pledge didn’t have the words "under God" in it. They were added in 1954 as part of the McCarthy red scare. I’ve always found it the height of irony that they were added between the words "one nation" and "indivisible", as adding religion to a secular pledge is very divisive, and in fact that was the intent of adding it (McCarthyism is a great example of "Us versus Them" thinking).

[UPDATE: After posting this, I saw that Fark has a thread on this with the title, "NBC apologizes for airing Pledge of Allegiance as originally written".]

3) NBC issued an apology for this which will do nothing to calm people down:

We began our coverage of this final round just about three hours ago and when we did it was our intent to begin the coverage of this U.S. Open Championship with a feature that captured the patriotism of our national championship being held in our nation’s capital for the third time. Regrettably, a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance that was in that feature 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.

If they had said why they edited it — bad audio, or cut for time, or saying more than just "under God" was taken out, or whatever the heck the actual reason is — it would’ve gone a lot farther. Leaving it like that just will enflame people more.

I’ve never been a big fan of the Pledge, to be honest. I was made to recite it in school when I was a kid, memorizing it by rote, but never, not once, was I taught what it was supposed to mean. When done that way, it’s a litany. I do honestly think that a representative democracy is the best form of government we have, but I also think there are ways of improving it. Having kids memorize a pledge like this doesn’t encourage them to think about their government and country, it only encourages them to obey it.

And that, to me, is the opposite of what our country actually stands for.


Related posts:

The world is subtle, and that’s why it’s beautiful
Freedom for, of, and from religion
Michele Bachmann needs to check her ID
Bill O’Reilly, tidal bore

Comments (158)

  1. That Fark headline was mine, but I’ll cop to it being not entirely accurate itself. According to Wikipedia, the original 1892 pledge was: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

  2. josie

    Anytime this issue comes up I head to YouTube and watch this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWS-FoXbjVI

    and it reminds me to enjoy what I have as a citizen of this country and to not give too much respect or time to people who get riled up over this sort of stuff (and I do not mean you Phil!)

    I come from a military family and I love my country. I also find the ironies of history intellectually delicious –you can’t get much better than preferring a pledge of allegiance inspired by someone who is considered an icon of un-American sentiment nowadays.

  3. Fenris

    Considering the Pledge was written by a socialist in the first place, you’d think making the pledge shorter would be pleasing to the “Under God” purists.

  4. Ad Hominid

    In contrast to, say, public school officials, perhaps they just realized how hopeless it would be to try to include everyone’s god. Besides, “under Cthulhu” would break the rhythm of the thing.

  5. abadidea

    My European acquaintances tell me that American children reciting the pledge every day in school frightens them.

    Then I wow them with the OTHER two pledges I said with my hand over my heart six days a week, starting at age five:

    I pledge allegiance to the Christian Flag
    And to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands
    Risen, and coming again, with life and liberty for all who believe.

    I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God’s holy word.
    I will make it a lamp unto my feet
    And a light unto my path.
    I will hide its words in my heart
    That I might not sin against God.

    I stay awake at night sometimes thinking about how I, as a five-year-old who had not yet even learned how to read, was coached in pledging my immortal soul to a book.

  6. vel

    I always find it hiliarious that some Christians are so certain that their god will get miffed if it isn’t placated by useless words. It seems that they, and the legislators in the 50s (and in the mid-1800s) think that if we put the word “god” into things, we would get some magical benefit, or that anyone saying “God” and not believeing, would conveniently burst into flames. Again, fear is the only thing keeping religion going, it seems. And I am happy to report that this god does nothing, no matter what you may say, or not say, about it.

  7. Bemopolis

    Having given up the god stuff at an early age, during the daily compulsory recitation I replaced “under God” with “underwear” (snicker). Which should give you a clue at just how early an age I gave it up.

  8. Well, what it was actually supposed to mean was, “Buy ‘Youth’s Companion’ magazine,” but never mind.

    I have long wondered, actually, whether the intrusion of “under God” between “one nation” and “indivisible” was, in fact, an intentional castration of the original, intended as a sop to the Sons of the Confederacy, et al.

  9. Ken

    Possible explanation: Young junior editor under severe deadline is given a bunch of footage and told, “Here, throw this stock footage together! Pledge of Allegiance! Hurry!” And so junior editor does his/her best to do so as quickly as possible, but has long forgotten the words to the pledge, so to make sure they get it right, they Google it, and accidentally use an original version of the pledge as a guide. As an editor, I find this to be a perfectly cromulent explanation.

  10. Tristan

    I recently learned that I’m the only (American) person I know who has never recited the pledge of allegiance. Even other folks in the heart of liberal enclaves find my experience bizarre. I’m baffled that this is so rare.

  11. Dave L

    “I’ve never been a big fan of the Pledge, to be honest. I was made to recite it in school when I was a kid, memorizing it by rote, but never, not once, was I taught what it was supposed to mean.”

    Amen (so to speak) to that. And I can’t be the only one who used to wonder why we were always saluting Richard Stands…

  12. F16 guy

    Most people recite the Pledge in error, by putting a pause (comma) after
    “one nation, (deep breath) under god….”

    The proper way is “one nation under god” (deep breath), “indivisible……”

    I pledge allegiance to the Flag
    of the United States of America,
    and to the Republic for which it stands:
    one Nation under God, indivisible,
    With Liberty and Justice for all.

    Whether one agrees or disagrees with the Pledge, knowing the right way to say it is just as important.

  13. Larry

    I’m not really sure why they’re so dead set on having that phrase in there anyway. The one thing I and my other atheist friends have in common is saying it every morning in grade school. Clearly it’s effective!

    Sheesh, next you’ll be telling me that Christians don’t value empirical evidence or something!

  14. Bobby

    Will I have not given up on any God stuff! And I have been a big supporter of the Pledge to the Flag. If there was ever a time in our country we need God’s guidence it is today! I think NBC has baken a liberal stance for some time and I can use my rights and not watch NBC! Which I will!

  15. Red

    And the pledge was originally written by a socialist (a real one, not what passes for socialism today), Francis Bellamy.

    If you want a real giggle, look up the suggested flag-honoring hand gesture – the Bellamy Salute.

  16. DrFlimmer

    There are a lot of ways to improve the system. If I may give an example: The way the US elects their president results in votes that are more important than others, and it results in the curious fact that possibly the one with more than 50% of the votes does not become president.

    Just as an example, what I think about pledges is another topic (btw: a Christian, according to the Bible, is not allow to pledge — his words shall be like a pledge…).

  17. this country is ridiculous and way too liberal accomodating new trends to remove God…maybe that’s why we are in such trouble here…hmmm.ya think?

  18. Dwan Koller

    Disgusting Deliberate Manipulation of the Pledge of Allegiance by NBC.

    But why are we surprised? Clearly, obvious deliberate abuse of the children and families and supporters that provided us with that potentially but – railroaded – beautiful presentation. And abuse of the the video of military members.

    Agree, “Whether one agrees or disagrees with the Pledge, knowing the right way to say it is just as important.”

    From a military spouse – Supporter of the ONE PERCENT of Americans that put their lives on the line to allow you to spout this trash.

    Stop spouting trash – Be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

  19. Mark Reardon

    I was watching the live broadcast when they played this spot. It was edited out twice. The first time through, my thought was “lovely, political correctness strikes again”. Then, as the (actually quite lovely ) spot went on, the kids’ recitation came on a second time and I thought ” Oh, maybe I over reacted, here it comes. They’ll edit the breaks between the military flag raising and the kids so that the entire Pledge is eventually recited”. Nope! They did it twice, and it really stuck out.
    I’d think that the demographics they’re aiming at when they broadcast golf trend more toward over fifty than under thirty. More toward established family types than toward young, carefree singles. If they did this just by chance and didn’t even notice, I think that says something about how out of touch with their target audience they are.
    Oh, by the way Vel, why do you single out Christians? I’m pretty sure Jews can be serious about God and be happy to live in a country that does nothing to get in the way of their concept of worship. I’m positive Muslims are serious about God and if you’re into ridiculing someone about “magical benefit”, take it on the road to Pakistan.

  20. Christopher Shoup

    The thing that angers me about this is not the fact that they dropped “Under God” but the backpedaling. This was edited by someone. Someone made the conscious decision to omit the phrase, someone checked the work and set it up for broadcast. Is NBC saying that they have a slew of incompetent editors or are they just afraid to admit what they were trying to do, whether it was morally, philosophically or politically the right choice is irrelevant. Stand up for your choices, NBC.

  21. Crow T. Robot

    I’m a Christian and I neither need, nor want, religious references in things like the Pledge. Faith, to me, is a personal endeavor. If one is compelled by anything other than a personal desire, then the words are absolutely meaningless. It’s irritating to see other Christians try to force their faith on others via “morality laws” (abortion, prostitution, etc.). In fact, it does far more harm than good. As Phil correctly points out, the inclusion of “under God” in the pledge is a very divisive statement. There is no need for it to be there.

    I do not want ANY state-sponsored or sanctioned religion. That said, I also do not want the state to preclude me from celebrating my beliefs. If someone gets offended at a nativity scene (or other similar decoration), then it sucks to be them. I wouldn’t get offended if someone were to have a shrine to the Flying Spaghetti Monster in their office, and I expect the same respect.

  22. I’ve never understood why the Pledge needs to be taken more than once in a lifetime.

  23. itzac

    I agree with Ken, except for the part where the editor used any kind of reference. If he had, he wouldn’t have missed the word “indivisible.”

  24. Krimson Gray

    Replace “God” with “Mammon” and the Pledge would be closer to reality.

  25. Our freedom is in peril. We must all recite The Pledge verbatim and in lock step so that we can identify those who don’t recite The Pledge verbatim as the non-conformist enemies of the State who threaten our freedom. Freedom isn’t free. We have to give it up so we can preserve it.

  26. Mike

    How sad that we actually work to diminish our country…. sad sad sad

  27. Mike

    As an agnostic, I really could care less about inclusion of God in the pledge, but what does it hurt!!!!
    How about loving your country!!!! what in the hell has happened to us all!!!?!?!?!?!
    We used to love our contry and feel proud of the impact we had on the world.

    For good or bad, imagine a world where America didn’t exist! Nazis, Fascists, Terrorists…

    For Pete’s sake. get a grip!!!!

  28. Pat

    I well remember when the change was made. But, it makes no difference when the words were added; they ARE part of the official pledge. NBC will convince very few that they were not intentionally omitted. Deliberate unpatriotic acts would have gotten you arrested for treason once upon a time. And I, for one, am sick of people making decisions that they do not have the right to make in determining just what pieces & parts of tradition, law, religion, health, and environment that THEY want to “approve” of. Until and unless it changes, convey what is accepted as the constitutionally and socially approved behavior of a civilized country.

  29. truthspeaker

    Mike Says:
    June 20th, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    As an agnostic, I really could care less about inclusion of God in the pledge, but what does it hurt!!!!
    How about loving your country!!!! what in the hell has happened to us all!!!?!?!?!?!
    We used to love our contry and feel proud of the impact we had on the world.

    Some of us woke up and started paying to attention instead of believing the propaganda fed to us by the government and the media.

    I like my country because I was born here and live here. If I’d been born and raised in a different country I would like that one instead. Let’s stop pretending that pledges and flags are in any way meaningful.

  30. I see a few trolls have been googling for websites to share their outrage. Hope they don’t search your archives for the really nasty stuff… :0

  31. bystander

    Red Skelton’s Pledge of Allegiance
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZBTyTWOZCM

    Isn’t it a pity they have made the pledge into a prayer?

    Religion has no place in government, and government has no place in religion.

    I am agnostic. Does that mean I’m not entitled to “liberty and justice for ALL”?
    Of the many religions present in the USA, should not all have the same rights?

    I agree with Phil that rote memory as a tool for teaching leaves a lot to be desired.
    It fails miserably in conveying an understanding of what is being taught.

  32. pisser

    I totally agree with you all. I’m loyal to myself. What right does anybody have to tell me I can or can’t do something? If there is no God than what reason is there to not do whatever the hell I want to do? Jails are cages that arrogant men make to justify taking away someone elses freedom to live however they want, just because you don’t like it. I’m not sick of the people who say they believe in a god and live their lives trying to live by whatever gods rules they choose. I’m sick of the people who say there is no god (like I do) and then fall into line and do whatever “the right thing is”… who are you to tell me I can’t shoot someone if I want to, are you god? Screw government, are they god?

  33. MarkW

    To the trolls: Keep saying that pledge, systems of government that require loyalty oaths always end well. Over here in Europe we’ve learned that lesson. Pity you guys haven’t yet.

    Also, I am just horrified at abadidea’s comment at number 5. Doubleyou Tee Eff…

  34. It’s hilarious to see the fundamentalist Christians commenting on this article, making such silly claims and pleas to keep the Christian version of the Pledge in tact. It’s silly to say that removing “under God” from the Pledge on an NBC broadcast is somehow contributing to crime and immorality. Faith should be a personal thing. It’s like genitalia: it’s fine to have it, just don’t shove it down other people’s throats, or flaunt it in public.

  35. Michael Berry

    truthspeaker speaks the truth. no pun intended.

    life is all about perspective. if I were someone else, somewhere else, I would believe and perceive everything differently.

  36. Your friendly neighborhood HTML parser

    FYI, Phil, your Fark link is slightly broken. The link still works, but it doesn’t open in a new tab/window as you appear to have intended, because the closing ” is missing from the href attribute.

  37. Steve

    Considering the Pledge was written by a socialist in the first place, you’d think making the pledge shorter would be pleasing to the “Under God” purists.

    Funny you’d leave out that fact that Francis Bellamy was a Baptist minister.

  38. DirtyRotten

    Look. NBC is a liberal, communist network. They edited out the phrase, because its what they do. You believe different, your an idiot.

  39. HP

    I gave up on the Pledge long before I gave up on God. And it had nothing to do with religion.

    I was about eight years old when Nixon went to China (“There is an old Vulcan proverb . . .”), and all three (!) networks filled their airtime with special news reports with sensationalist titles like “Behind the Bamboo Curtain,” etc. As an example of what a horrible totalitarian state “Red China” was, all these specials featured “horrifying” footage of schoolchildren being forced to recite from memory, in unison, excerpts from Mao’s Little Red Book. And the consensus was that this was “indoctrination” and at odds with the freedoms we enjoy in America. This made a huge impression on me.

    And the next time we were asked to recite the Pledge in school, I kept my mouth shut, and I’ve never recited it since then.

  40. @14, Bobby:

    “Will I have not given up on any God stuff! And I have been a big supporter of the Pledge to the Flag. If there was ever a time in our country we need God’s guidence it is today! I think NBC has baken a liberal stance for some time and I can use my rights and not watch NBC! Which I will!”

    If ever there was a time your country needed God’s guidance, it’s today? Are you serious? I thought it was ‘God’s guidance’ that got your country into the mess it’s in today? ‘God’ help you if he guides you to elect Bachmann or Palin as President in 2012.

    //I fed a troll didn’t I? :(

  41. Dave B

    I think of myself as a patriot, not in the “do whatever the majority does because that’s the way it is” way, but in the “let’s try to make the country what it could and should be” way.
    I don’t mind the pledge so much. It gives me a chance to leave out “under god” when I say it. Nobody has ever noticed that I do this, though sometimes I wish someone would. Maybe it will make someone think, “Hey! It’s possible to be a patriotic atheist!” I hope that some day, in a room full of people reciting the pledge, it will become noticeably quieter (or even silent) at that point.

  42. Shawn

    Come NBC, if you do not agree with the pledge of allegiance then don’t have it as part of your show. We have to stop trying to please everyone and quit trying to be like other countries, we are the USA, be proud of it. If not, move on, move to the country you want to be like and be happy there. When the PGA participates in the British open, I hope they have a nice video montage showing why they love their country and the good things about it and guess what I will not be offended. Good luck NBC

  43. Jeff Przybyla

    In my mind it is not about religion but about an organization that is attempting to alter the structure of our American Heritage. The Pledge is what it is and is not subject to change. No way this change was a mistake unless the person who edited it had gone to school outside the U.S. for his/her entire life. This is incremental progressivism by NBC which was, or is still owned by G.E., a company which is in the pocket of the current administration.

  44. @Mark Reardon,

    Actually, as a Jew who is serious about his religion, I prefer living in a country that does nothing to get in the way of my concept of worship. Mainly because, whenever the someone does propose government involvement in religion, it always seems to be weighted towards Christianity. After all, that’s the dominant religion in the US. And when government involvement weighs towards Christianity, it always seems to negatively impact my religious practices (either directly or indirectly).

    I’d much rather keep religion a personal matter. I have my religious beliefs and try not to force them on others. In return, I expect others to refrain from forcing their religious beliefs (or lack thereof) on me.

    NOTE: This doesn’t mean that calm discussion of religious beliefs is out of the question. Just that I won’t say “you’re going to hell for not believing XYZ” or “you’re a bad person for not following religion ABC.” There are good and bad people of every religious belief. A person’s religious beliefs (or lack thereof) don’t make him/her a good person, their words and actions do.

  45. ScottL

    I am an atheist, but even I know that America was founded by people that came to escape religious persecution and I respect that. We should respect the foundations of our country and not allow its documents to be edited on a whim. Although, it’s a free country so NBC can do whatever they want; but we also have the right to complain and not buy their product.

  46. Nemo

    @F16 guy #12:

    The proper way is “one nation under god” (deep breath), “indivisible……”

    No, the “proper” way to say it would clearly be “one nation indivisible”, as it was originally written. Shoving “under God” into the middle of that phrase makes no logical sense and is barely tolerable grammatically, so I don’t think there’s any proper way to say it. Never mind the unconstitutionality of it.

    Whether one agrees or disagrees with the Pledge, knowing the right way to say it is just as important.

    I have no intention of ever saying it again (in either version, but especially not “under God”), so the importance to me is zero.

    BTW, everyone, check out Rose #18’s URL — she must’ve typed (or cut-and-pasted) her whole comment in the “Website” field.

  47. thetentman

    In 1972 I was in 8th grade. Bruce W., Brian W., and I, bored with being forced to say the pledge, modified it slightly. Yes we were forced. It was the Vietnam era and some felt ashamed of the pledge and tried to protest it but were forced by the school administration to say it. Remember we could not wear jeans to school nor could girls wear pants (because the world would end and or the Commies would take over). So anyway we 3 modified the last line “…and justice for all.” to “…and justice fraall.”, adding a southern twang to it. This went on for about 3 days until Miss Graham, our lesbian (not that there’s anything wrong with that) girls gym teacher figured out what was going on. She did not know who was doing it but she promised immediate expulsion and and a stain on our Permanent Record if she found out who it was. It was sometime during that discussion when she uttered the most memorable line from my school career. “If I tell you something is white and it is really black, well then it’s white.” “Do you UNDERSTAND!?” I was never able to take school seriously after that and I certainly never trusted anyone in authority for a long, long time.

  48. @Crow T. Robot,

    I have to admit that, growing up, I got annoyed that my school had Christmas decorations everywhere and nothing for Chanukah. So I complained and they hung up some dreidels… on the Christmas tree! I had to complain again to let them know that that wasn’t appropriate. Sometimes no display is better than a poorly thought out display!

  49. tudza

    I think instead of being “indivisible” we should be “indefatigable”

  50. Matt W

    Anyone whose faith is so weak that they would be bothered by this, has bigger issues they need to deal with. People who believe editing out this phrase is somehow unpatriotic, live in a world of remarkable irony.

    People need to stand up against the freedom hating religious right. There I no need for God to love your country. There I no place for God in looking at another’s patriotism. Liberty and justice fo all are the key part of he pledge. The phrase” under god” I actually contrary to that. Actually, if the pledge is compulsory, it is contrary to itself.

  51. Linda Lebelle

    It was Holger Langmack – an immigrant from Denmark, scientist, writer, and teacher – who was used this pledge in his classroom in Washington, DC:

    I pledge allegiance to the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation UNDER GOD with LOVE, liberty, and justice for all.

    When told that the official pledge must be used instead, Langmack met with President Roosevelt and presented the idea that the pledge be changed to include UNDER GOD and LOVE. Years later, the words UNDER GOD were added to the pledge — but not the word LOVE.

    These words had nothing to do with the Cold War and the Knights of Columbus nor any other groups were involved. Why these changes? Simply because UNDER GOD reminds all of us that our government has a foundation that is not itself, and that without LOVE, there can be no true liberty or justice.

    This is the true story.

  52. I think they should put back the pre-1943 Bellamy salute, where children reciting the pledge held their right hand up towards the flag. Given the sort of people who think that a “pledge of allegiance” is actually a good idea, this can be considered “truth in advertising.”

  53. PayasYouStargaze

    The pledge is something rather difficult to understand as a European. It seems odd that a country that supposedly values so many freedoms above all else has such a pledge.

    Yet, I think the “under god” but is relatively harmless, because it can mean different things to different people. It has also become part of tradition too. Put it this way, even though I’m an atheist, I have no problem with my national anthem*, “God Save the Queen”. (I guess we aren’t forced to recite it in school though)

    *And a reminder that the Britain has no official national anthem. GSTQ is used by tradition and only the armed forces actually have to use it.

  54. truthspeaker

    46. ScottL Says:
    June 20th, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    I am an atheist, but even I know that America was founded by people that came to escape religious persecution and I respect that. We should respect the foundations of our country and not allow its documents to be edited on a whim.

    The pledge of allegiance is not one of our country’s “documents”. It was written in the late 19th Century and the phrase “under God” was added in the 1950s.

  55. Klio

    I’m from Europe, and I can’t believe schoolchildren are actually being made to pledge allegiance to a flag (even if you leave out the part about god). To be frank, the very idea of children being forced to publicly voice a pre-packaged belief or oath, no matter how innocuous or well-intended, seems abhorrent.

  56. HP

    @thetentman (48): 1972 was a helluva year for the Pledge, eh?

  57. pisser

    so now my posts on here get edited, talk about hypocrisy

  58. QuietDesperation

    My European acquaintances tell me that American children reciting the pledge every day in school frightens them.

    No offense, but your friends must jump at shadows.

    They should find the situation in Greece a bit more relevant.

  59. saltydog

    Finally, we are back (temporarily) to what it is suppose to be. Now if we can work on removing the BS from all of our money, then we can get back to what our country was not founded on!

  60. Viewing the video, I get the impression that NBC edited-out the “under God” portion of the pledge to avoid controversy and wound up doing the opposite. I half-wonder if they excluded “indivisible” to make it appear less obvious, or to avoid offending those people who are still fighting the civil war.

    The pledge has an interesting history, much of it apparently driven by paranoia. The original salute was thought to look too much like the Nazi one. “My flag” was changed to “the flag of the United States” allegedly out of concern that Italian immigrants were pledging to a different flag. And, of course, the “under God” addition to show we aren’t Commies. It is all very silly in the larger scheme of things.

  61. QuietDesperation

    The pledge is something rather difficult to understand as a European. It seems odd that a country that supposedly values so many freedoms above all else has such a pledge.

    It’s a relic tradition. You and others are reading way too much into it. No one takes it all that seriously outside the political strata. I’ve yet to read a quoted complaint from someone who isn’t either a politician or “usual suspect” type political gadfly. It’s just media theater. Ignore it.

    A dozen people call a TV station to complain, and the media assumes there’s, like, 100 people who didn’t call behind each one that did. In reality, it may just be that dozen people who are upset. Oh, and “Twitter lit up” over this. Wow. So a web site full of narcisstic babblers who announce every toilet visit to the world had something to say about an inane controversy? Well flip my lid!

    On the other hand, at least the kids are not making human effigies to toss on a bonfire every November 5th. ;-)

  62. Wow why does this even matter? Why do we even say the pledge? I remember mindlessly saying it forever and then stopping because I felt brainwashed. Why must we pledge our allegience to a flag every day growing up? Because we’re in a public institution? What does education have to do with our allegience to a symbol of a country? Nothing about it seems to have real purpose beyond just pure repititious drudgery. Sure the pledge has great meaning in and of itself, but how that translates to a bunch of kids droning it in cadence every single dayis beyond my understanding. I mean whatif they had to sing the national anthem? I guess if we had been doing it for decades every single day it would be a big deal too.

    Just drop it all together and save those 30 seconds teaching the future of our country about American history… so maybe they’d have a grasp on the real meaning of it instead of how boring it sounds every day.

    Or better yet, use that 30 seconds for a quick set of stretches and jumping jacks… then maybe we could keep kids awake in class and have them drop a couple pounds.

  63. Yada

    correction: the first run through of the Pledge left out only “under God”. It was only on the second time through did they also leave out “indivisible”. They can censor the smallest word on live TV within seconds but can’t catch something planned being left out in the editing room on the biggest USA golf event of the year? Really.
    For any country with a “Pledge” of an allegiance to their country, I don’t think they want a TV company editing what is generally accepted and practiced as a Pledge of Allegiance. And with the heart felt patriotism that was being portrayed, it was sad that NBC took that away and missed the message completely. That to me is more the root of my distaste more than it being a religious thing. Heck let’s shorten the national anthem at the next baseball game so we can get the game going quicker. Play ball!

  64. ND

    “Liberty and Justice for all”

    You know, I kinda like that bit.

    QuietDesperation:
    “No offense, but your friends must jump at shadows.
    They should find the situation in Greece a bit more relevant.”

    Nice!

  65. QuietDesperation

    “I pledge allegiance to Queen Frag, and her mighty state of hysteria.” — from much missed Calvin & Hobbes, the greatest comic strip ever.

    Just to kick it in the other direction, I found that commercial (that aired after Obama was elected) with people saying how they would be serving their president (and asking children to pledge to serve) to be just as dumb as the official Pledge.

    Anyway, I’ve always preferred the Lemon Pledge Of Allegiance. :-D

  66. QuietDesperation

    Heck let’s shorten the national anthem at the next baseball game so we can get the game going quicker. Play ball!

    Fine with me. Our national anthem blows white hot chunks of the suckiest suck that ever sucked.

  67. Andreas H

    I thought the world was behind such nationalist indoctrination. I am truly shocked that this pledge is actually something that school children have to recite.

    It’s times like this when I wonder what the *beep* we learned from the past century of human history. Nationalism is exactly as bad as racism or sexism! The fact that such a pledge is not only tolerated but activly supported by the public school system is just a dreadful reminder that we have not moved past the problems that caused the world wars and we are always just a catalyst event away from total annihilation!

  68. Jim

    What is the big deal. I have never stated “under god” when I state the pledge of allegiance. I use the original which did not have the “under god”.

    Its just a pledge and I would never pledge to a god or take an oath. I would take an affirmation.

  69. Jimmy

    The correct and only pledge I use in my classroom is the original:

    I pledge allegiance to the Flag
    of the United States of America,
    and to the Republic for which it stands:
    one Nation indivisible,
    With Liberty and Justice for all.

  70. Jeff

    This couldn’t be a bigger non-issue. Are there professional complainers out there or something? I live in Salt Lake City and I can’t imagine that even the die-hard Mormons would even care about it. They’d probably notice it and attribute it to NBC being liberal and move on with their lives. But to actually make a big deal about it is just embarassing

  71. Barrett Moran

    Did NBC make up most of the previous post and give NBC and excuse for their anti_American showing of the Pledge. I saw an interview of Jack Nicolas earlier on the show, Why not ask him if he was proud to be on NBC Sports after their very poor showing of patriotism, if any was meant at all. Will NBC just try to blow over all of this like like other media would like to do ?

  72. Barrett Moran

    Did NBC make up most of the previous post and give NBC and excuse for their anti_American showing of the Pledge. I saw an interview of Jack Nicolas earlier on the show, Why not ask him if he was proud to be on NBC Sports after their very poor showing of patriotism, if any was meant at all. Will NBC just try to blow over all of this like like other media would like to do ?

  73. Tim G

    This whole coerced allegiance thing irks me. Salute

  74. Cathy

    I always felt the Girl Scout pledge was more effective to me as a child. “On my honor, I will try, to serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout Law.” Well, the “help people at all times” part stuck with me in a way that the actual Pledge of Allegiance never did, and some of the bits of Girl Scout Law also haunt me to this day – in a good way. “Always leave a place cleaner than you found it” – “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” – “Be honest to yourself and those around you.” Words of wisdom for any child, or adult, to live by.

  75. abadidea

    ScottL: The pledge is in no way a founding document of the United States, and, of course, the “under God” bit is so new it still has that clean “In God We Trust” penny sheen. I have a theory that Washington, DC powers itself from all the free electricity caused by Jefferson and his ilk spinning in their graves along the east coast.

    thetentman: Your story is going to give me nightmares. Horrible.

    QuietDesperation: Jumping at shadows? It seems like Europeans are crawling out of the woodwork in this thread to say the EXACT same thing… that mandatory oaths of loyalty from children remind them of… a certain something…. that happened in Europe only a few decades ago…. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Something about “patriotic” nationalism gone horribly, horribly wrong?

    It also looks like some wingnut site linked here to dump in a pocket full of uber-religious loons to amuse us. “Needing God more than ever”, indeed. Needing him more than ever to stop being a pretense (and excuse) for stupidity.

  76. Michael Swanson

    “We teach them to take their patriotism at second-hand; to shout with the largest crowd without examining into the right or wrong of the matter — exactly as boys under monarchies are taught and have always been taught. We teach them to regard as traitors, and hold in aversion and contempt, such as do not shout with the crowd, and so here in our democracy we are cheering a thing which of all things is most foreign to it and out of place — the delivery of our political conscience into somebody else’s keeping. ”

    – Mark Twain

  77. PayasYouStargaze

    @62 QD

    I think we’re just rather sensitive to this sort of nationalist behaviour after what our grandparents went through.

  78. Ribi

    For people of good honor (we exist), a pledge is a pledge. It’s a promise. If we have ANY interest whatsoever in encouraging honesty and responsibility, we need to pay close attention to what notions we’re asking people to swear. I don’t oppose the core notion of a pledge, but I think we could do far better.

    I pledge dedication to my community, my nation, and my species,
    and to promote the potential that they possess.
    I support humanity, through all hardship and bounty,
    and will seek liberty and justice for all.

    ..or words to that effect.

  79. Schools have been teaching kids what to think, instead of how to think for generations. This has culminated with the election of people who have beliefs so firmly held, that no amount of reason, logic, or quantifiable proof will sway them.

    I find it unacceptable for someone who believes that the Earth is 6000 years old to enact policy regarding uranium mining. It’s the kind of criminal ineptitude that can cost lives and/or livelihoods.

  80. JinOR

    I’m a fairly left-wing Christian (yes, we DO exist) and I hate that the Pledge includes the phrase “under God”. It’s completely inappropriate that it’s in there at all. Our family is involved in Scouting, so I end up saying the Pledge a lot – I just don’t say the “under God” line. I’ve got some weird looks, but no-one has ever said anything.

  81. ccpetersen

    OMG!!! OMG!!! OMG!!! ARGH!!!! The world is coming to an end!!!! ARGH!!!!! They took out the word “GOD” from the pledge that didn’t used to have it in the first place!! OMG OMG… run around in circles, get your Xtian panties in a bunch, but OMG OMG OMG… the world’s ruined. My kids will turn to teh ghey! The Debo is coming! ARGH!! They hate us… the ebil Atheists are taking over. OMG! OMG OMG!!!!

    Okay. Take a deep breath now. Unlock your minds and think clearly about this.

    Did you know that there are FAR worse things to worry about on this planet than whether or not your chosen deity got mentioned and/or edited out of a TV broadcast of a bunch of (mostly) white guys playing golf?

    Let’s think about this: I read today that there are upwards of 30 million human beings enslaved on this planet; that’s it — owned by other people. I read that millions are unemployed in this country. I read that many people are starving to death. I read that many people in the U.S. are losing their homes to floods.

    So, my question to you all who are fainting in coils over this NBC issue is: why aren’t you following your religious prophet’s lead when he supposedly preached “love one another as ye love yourselves” and “help others” by … oh, I dunno, helping those in need? Why aren’t you using your brains to help make things better on this planet? Why are you yelling at the rest of us when we say that there are other issues on this planet that need everyone’s attention, and yet, that religious heart you’re wearing on your sleeves is telling you to screech like little babies about a slipup on a TV broadcast? is your religion so weak that this will send it down the tubes forever?

    sigh.

  82. Alareth

    I’ve always preferred the Creed to the Pledge

    http://www.ushistory.org/documents/creed.htm

  83. Dagmar

    I very clearly remember when the words, “under God” were added to the pledge of allegiance. I was nine years old and was in third grade! Those words were added because of the McCarthy-esque paranoia that we had to show up the Ruskie “commies” by demonstrating our love of country and of God over their godless, heathenistic government and culture. In other words, it really had absolutely nothing to do with loyalty to our country but, rather, fascist, conservative politics. It never made sense to me (even as a nine year old) although I did believe very strongly in God but realized that words in a pledge were not a panacea for any threat from communism. That was back in 1954. It pains me to see that nothing has really changed. Although I love my country more than I can express in words, I also realize that there are a plethora of stupid, ignorant, superstitious, fearful people out there that think this crap is important. How sad that 57 years after the pledge was altered, we have not progressed at all!

  84. I haven’t said the words “Under God” in the pledge since I was in high school. I made a choice and have stuck to it. I understand and mean the words I say.

    I am always upset at people who feel they can push their religion on others.

  85. thebiggnome

    @f16guy Most (all?) people also pause after ‘allegiance’, ‘flag’, and ‘Republic’, where there are also no commas, but I don’t see you having a hissyfit about that…

  86. Nemo

    @Yada #64:

    Heck let’s shorten the national anthem at the next baseball game so we can get the game going quicker.

    Why play it at all? Seriously, why? Have you ever thought about that?

    Anyway, you already do shorten it — since only the first stanza is ever played.

  87. Cynthia

    I’m all bout Me anyways.

  88. NBCYA! I for one will never watch anything broadcast by them again. Excuse them if you like..their true colors showed here..not only with a disdain for God ( any God ), but editing out ” indivisible “, does that raise any alarms out here? If it does’nt, then follow them like a lemming off the cliff.

  89. F16 guy

    @thebiggnome #87

    You’re absolutely right. This comment section of the blog is a perfect spot to entertain a 6 page response to all facets of THE PLEDGE; the history, the controversy, proper and improper recitations, and all the past and present political and social implications thereof.

    or

    I could address the issue Phil brought up, specifically the term “under god,” in a short and concise manner, and clarify that.

    Thanks for the tip.

    <>

  90. Todd Tolhurst

    Fine by me. I always omit “under god” when I recite the pledge.

  91. Beryl

    I’ve found the pledge baffling since I first started to try to parse the words. In what system of thought can it possible be appropriate to pledge allegiance to a FLAG? Shouldn’t a person with a strong Judeo-Christian or Islamic point of view see the pledge as essentially idolatrous? Certainly the usual mindlessness of it should offend Protestant sensibilities? No? I guess I just don’t understand.

  92. I never understood the idea of forcing children to recite a pledge of allegiance to anything. What the hell is the point? Is the eight-year-old supposed to be willing to die for his country? Nationalism is a personal choice.

  93. Jamey

    You know, maybe they just used the audio from some public-domain work, or work they have rights on, that is old enough the children *DIDN’T* include “under God”.

    Something like, say, “The Bells of St. Mary”, where in children *AT A CATHOLIC SCHOOL* don’t include the phrase.

    For that matter, I find “indivisible” rather offensive. But of course, might made right and settled *THAT* during the War of Northern Aggression.

  94. VinceRN

    Your first comment offered was that you don;t think it was intentional to leave that stuff out. It most certainly was, it can not have been an accident. Who ever was in charge of editing that sequence made a decision of which parts to put in and which to leave out. Nothing in that process happens accidentally. The reasons were certainly not “anti-America” though, if that were the case they’d have just not done a sequence like that at all. Likely the person or people making the decisions don’t like the phrase “under God”, nor the term “indivisible” and decided to leave them out. It could just be that they figure more of their viewers are liberal than conservative and that that version would please the most people. It could even be that they knew that version would stir up controversy and get their network more attention. we don’t know the reason, but there most certainly was one.

    Certainly the pledge was originally said without “under God”, and I think it made more sense that way. Adding those words tends to cause division, and the placement of those words is certainly ironic, as you pointed out. I’ve never been a fan of making kids say the pledge every day, though I do think there should be something like it said on special patriotic occasions like flag day.

    Also, if you were not taught about the history and meaning of it in school, that’s on your teachers. Perhaps they didn’t know, like, understand or care? When I was in grad school I was taught about it and there were discussion about what it meant. Like almost everything taught in school it was certainly incomplete, and at least partially wrong of course, but that’s the nature of public education. We even learned about the old style salute and when “under God” was added.

  95. Bob Koss

    How do you think you would feel if you were one of the identifiable young children shown during the cropped pledge recitation? Wouldn’t you be horrified find out you had been shown on national television as being too stupid to know the proper wording? Some of the children’s faces were clearly shown. It also made the school look bad.

    I can only imagine the taunting ladled out by any of their peers who had actually seen it.

    Do you people here really think no one should have complained?

    Another epic fail by NBC.

  96. Rich

    When you start leaving out part of the pledge of allegiance you need to leave this great Christian country

  97. Ron

    Pledge recited (a long time ago) when commissioned did not have that phrase in it. It was good then and remains good without that phrase.

    As does “Protect the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC.”

  98. Robin S.

    The pledge be damned. Saying it doesn’t make you patriotic. How about instead people actually live the ideals and respect others of different beliefs and interests, eh?

    As for whether it was an accident or wasn’t: it certainly could have been an accident and may very well have been. To presume it wasn’t accident it to assume things not in evidence. To do so is to completely discard critical thought and hop on the reactionary hay ride. I sure can’t read the minds of anyone at NBC, and certainly no one else that’s responded here can.

    As for no “accidents” happening in the media, that’s a complete line of BS. Having known people in the media, I know full well that crap does happen.

  99. Dr. C

    When the left, liberals and the godless are held accountable for manipulating the media on one of the biggest televised events all year long, they always claim it was an accident, a mistake. Really. Very much like Congressman’s Weiner message and ‘shovel-ready jobs.’

  100. j4lVl13

    As usual the “religious voices” are the least tolerant. So quick to play the victim, while pointing their fingers. “Heaven” forbid you stop for a second and meet a supposed problem with understanding and an open mind.

    It’s a good thing we have them to tell us exactly what complete strangers are plotting as they hatch their evil schemes and twirl their handle bar moustaches.

  101. LUCILLE COLEMAN

    THIS COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED ON THE JUDAISM/CHRISTIAN ETHIC. I’M SICK OF LIBERALS TRYING TO ERADICATE “GOD” FROM OUR LIVES. WE CAN’T LET A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF ATHEISTS CONTROL THE MEDIA AND DEPRIVE US OF ONE OF THE THINGS THAT MAKES THIS COUNTRY SO WONDERFUL.

    “GOD BLESS AMERICA” AND SHAME ON ANYONE WHO TRIES TO STIFLE THAT SENTIMENT.

  102. Robin S.

    @Rich: Uhm, please read up on the constitution. It’s the freedom to say and believe as one chooses that is one of the bedrocks of this nation of Muslims, Atheists, Hindus, Jews, Agnostics, Methodists, Wiccans, Anglicans, Mormons, animists, Satanists, Followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and etc.

    It’s time to re-evaluate what being an American means when you start telling people that they need to leave the country.

  103. Adrian Lopez

    It’s a shame most people don’t have a problem with pressuring young children into pledging allegiance to their flag and country, as if their rights as citizens were contingent upon such a pledge.

    “Under God” or not, children should not be asked to pledge allegiance to any country, and they certainly shouldn’t have to do it on a daily basis.

  104. Makoto

    #98 Rich – Reciting anything by rote doesn’t make it true, or make anyone believe it. I dislike that they added “Under God” to the pledge, it became a test, which doesn’t fit with our freedoms. This isn’t a Christian country, any more than it’s a Catholic country, Atheist country, Islamic country, or any other type. It’s a melting pot. A land of the free and the brave. A country that’s as great as its people, just like other countries are. A country where you have freedom to practice any religion you wish, or none at all.

    #103 Lucille – I’m not trying to take away your right to be religious. Feel free, and I hope it brings you joy! But please don’t force others to think / feel / believe the way you do. How is that any different from someone else forcing you to abandon your religion? If you hope that “God bless America”, great! But why force others to do the same? I hope that our leaders will do the right thing, that our military, police, firemen, and other services are strong enough to defend us, and that our educators can teach our next generation to handle the challenges that they will face, whatever they may be. Is that any less of a hope than your hope that “God bless America”?

  105. Looking at the video, its obvious to me what happened. Its not some liberal pinko “conspiracy” , nor does it have anything to do with NBC’s policies, love’em or hate’em. It was just a tired video editors who screwed up. And then there was insufficient editorial oversight to keep the mistake from airing. Add a missed deadline here and there, the position that used to be responsible for that particular stop on the way to airtime being discontinued due to the economy, and viola! You have a network wide left wing god hating conspiracy on your hands in no time!

    Just another example of how the hungry maw of the 24 hour news cycle spawns insanity and continues to outperform the Greatest Expectations of its creators, the merchants of chaos.

  106. Digital Atheist

    @Lucille

    The Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11 puts this little founded on Judeo/x-ian myth where it belongs… in the manure stall.

    As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

    And to quote George Washington himself: “The government of the United States is in no sense founded on the Christian religion”.

    On the topic of the Pledge of Allegiance, the last time I ever recited it was in the summer of 1987 at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, during basic training. I have never been a circumstance yet where I had to say it in any form whatsoever, but if I ever do find myself saying it again, it will be without “under god”.

  107. JMW

    For a giggle, read Mike Resnick’s short story “Would the Last Person to Leave the Planet Please Shut Off the Sun?”

  108. flynjack

    I see a lot of objection to the pledge its self here regardless of the “under god” part. Perhaps those who believe that a pledge or oath is so useless should consider those who have taken their oaths and put it all on the line so that they could express themselves this freely. Its basically a affirmation of nationalism, except it or reject it, your choice. It is a sad state of affairs that there are so few left to defend so many.

  109. Geographically Correct

    I’ve been saying “…One nation under Canada, indivisible…” for a while now.

  110. Vic

    As a child, the only part of the pledge I really understood was “under god” – which is why when we got to it, I would keep quiet and just mouth the words. I was in grade school in New York, and my family was one of the few Jewish ones in the neighborhood. Its a long time ago, but I think there was only one other Jew in the school.

    When the words were added, it was clear to me that the god they were talking about was “their god”, the one my best friend told me had been killed by me (or perhaps my family, he wasn’t sure what the priest meant exactly)

  111. johnm

    Love your blog, but it turns me off a little bit each time you delve into politics. Stick to astronomy and science, your ruining a good thing.

  112. Colin

    Phil,
    I love your blog, and especially love it when you delve into politics. And religion. ESPECIALLY religion. (BTW, is this really politics, or is it religion, since the political part of the pledge was still included)?

  113. Zach

    A few weeks ago in an episode of The Office, they said the pledge and the camera zoomed in on Oscar not saying it.

  114. Bruce

    And the MSNBC-loving liberals jump to NBC’s defense. This isn’t the first time they’ve tried to edit out religious references. NBC has been broadcasting coverage of the Olympics for years. Remember where the 2006 Winter Olympics took place? In Turin, Italy. But when people hear the name “Turin”, they’d most likely think of the Shroud of Turin. NBC can’t have religion creep into their liberal programming! So they called it Torino, the Italian pronunciation of the city name. Funny how all the other Olympic broadcasts used the English city names except this one.

  115. You’ve been taken in. Surely this is just a weak attempt to distract the people from the embarrassing national golfing slump.

  116. Monkey

    I remember when I, in a Canadian Public School, was forced each day to recite the lords prayer and to listen to a sermon from our principal. At the time I laughed with my friends and toyed with the words. But I remember one day the dear old leader was walking in the field and approached us with a basket full of “warm fuzzies” (cotton balls) or “cold pricklies” (plastic toys the size of a marble that resemble a virus) and asked us what we had done for god that day, and our fellow people. If we had done god proud, we get cotton. If we had done god wrong, we get virus toy. I, in something like grade 4, couldn’t muster up a response – a man was actually believing this…an adult…I couldn’t lie to my elder, I couldn’t make fun of him in front of him…I just stayed straight faced. He left, we laughed…life went on.

    Anecdote, yes. The importance, though, is that my friends and I were probably three or four in a school of 400 that actually stood our ground (in a primary school sort of manner) against this. Taking the male-cow-poop out of the educational structure will only help. My cohort grew up thinking that we (they) were learning for god, working for god, and it was the little things like trying to do gods duty and get a cotton ball from the old man that led them to believe it and act it. Taking that simple thing away, taking away the lords prayer, would have let children learn for themselves what reality is.

    Im Canadian, so I wont swagger into your house and tell you what to do. But, I see the pledge a a weird eccentricity of a paranoid nation when it must be read every day. Just like my principal making us recite the lords prayer everyday.

  117. Don

    @116 Ah yes, Christians, their faith so fragile, they take offense to any imagined slight. Truly weak and needy, they seek affirmation like small children waiting for a pat on the head. When ignored, they wail and moan about being ignored…

  118. PayasYouStargaze

    Does a pledge have any meaning if it is not taken voluntarily?

  119. “mind you they also edited out the word ‘indivisible'”

    It’s because they knew that by editing out the words “under god” would create divisions. So they took out “indivisible” too!

    :D

  120. Svlad Cjelli

    @120. Only if you have a magic oath lock to push their hand against.

    Edit: Or, you know, if you otherwise give them the understanding that they’ll be in trouble if they don’t follow it.

  121. davem

    My European acquaintances tell me that American children reciting the pledge every day in school frightens them.

    It doesn’t frighten me, it just looks like insecurity to me. It reminds me of similar pledges recited every day in other insecure countries. And what’s the deal with golf? Why can’t you play a round of golf without reciting a pledge? Are you seriously worried that a Northern Irish winner will somehow create an uprising of citizens disloyal to your state? Seriously?

    For good or bad, imagine a world where America didn’t exist! Nazis, Fascists, Terrorists…
    Terrorists?! WTF? Most of them are reacting to US interference in their world.

  122. Gus Snarp

    Aren’t we like the only country on earth that makes school kids recite a pledge of allegiance every day? Doesn’t that just sound creepy if you think about it? Doesn’t it sound more like something out of 1984 or Stalin’s Soviet Union (though I don’t believe even they did something similar) than something from the supposedly freedom loving U.S.A? I’d love to see the “under God” removed from the pledge, but more than that, I’d love to see the pledge reduced to a historical footnote, no longer recited in schools, or anywhere else for that matter.

  123. Gus Snarp

    If you really want to be creeped out, this is how the author of the pledge wanted kids to salute the flag while they recited it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Students_pledging_allegiance_to_the_American_flag_with_the_Bellamy_salute.jpg

  124. Rozmarija

    Does no one notice that the 1954 addition of those two words,dis-unites us as a Nation? We used to be “one Nation, indivisible”, but those two words separates us into factions, agnostics, atheists, and every spiritual belief not acknowledging an entity called “God”. Obviously we no longer can count on separation of church and state, with our judiciary splitting hairs on bilical texts having to do with private behaviors.

  125. Messier Tidy Upper

    This Aussie thinks its all a big storm in a teacup.

    From my admittedly limited & not-overly-interested perspective NBC very likely edited out “under God” deliberately to get a reaction and it’s worked. It’s upset a lot of people over something that really makes little – only symbolic – difference.

    @14. Bobby :

    I think NBC has baken a liberal stance for some time and I can use my rights and not watch NBC! Which I will!

    Will what? Will watch NBC or won’t watch NBC? Your wording there could be taken to mean either one.

    @94. Zucchi :

    Is the eight-year-old supposed to be willing to die for his country?

    Sadly, some 8 year olds do die – and kill for their countries or for various very nasty groups. have you ever heard of child soldiers or Jihadist terrorist groups brainwashing children and using them as suicide-homicide bombers? It happens – and its despicable and a crime aganst humanity. :-(

    Nationalism is a personal choice.

    Sometimes. We hope. Not everyone in every country gets the choice. North Koreans , Iranians, Syrains , Libyans etc .. have dictatorships where “nationalism” and leader worship is mandatory and refusal means death. Also where real brain washing does take place.

  126. Terry Emberson

    First of all, being forced to go to school is just as much an imposition of state will on children as being forced to recite a pledge to the people who make you go. If you are going to make school mandatory, making the kids recite some phrase while there is no different than teaching them the officially approved version of history.

    Second of all, the Pledge is voluntary, and kids are informed that it is voluntary. I know, I know, “peer pressure” and all of that, but people will deal with conformist peer pressure all of their lives. Just because they are kids doesn’t mean that they are exempt. Would I prefer that the pledge didn’t have to happen, yes, but see point one above.

    As to why we do it? America is a state without a unified nation. While here in the states, we assume nation to mean country because we are taught to think that way, nation means a group of people with a shared set of identity-focused beliefs. We don’t have ONE, here in the states, we have hundreds. The pledge exists to help define a larger national character over the many other national identities in the U.S.

    About the “Under God” portion, I don’t think that should be in there anymore.

  127. Messier Tidy Upper

    @68. Andreas H : I thought the world was behind such nationalist indoctrination

    Really? You think the people China and India and Russia and so very many countries are as anti-nationalism as you are? You think core values and love of one’s country is dead in most of the world?

    I think you are very badly misinformed or unaware if you really think that.

    I do think that too many on the political / ideological Left wing – in my nation and in yours have lost sight of what our nations values are & are dangerous not just unpatriotic but actively anti-patriotic bashing the Western nations and the values that give us the lives we are lucky enough (most of us) to be leading. Seems to me that in some Leftist circles, standing up for the American or Australian or, generally, the Western way is not just unfashionable but something to be actively mocked, derided and attacked – and I find that awfully miserable and pathetic and worrying.

    As well as hypocritical and coming from a privileged position of ignorance. They have the luxury to criticise the West and undermine because they are fortunate enough to be living there in a system that allows that whewre few if any other cultures /civilisations would allow such harsh self-criticism. :-(

    Our way of life that provides freedom and liberty and human rights. Allows individuals to reach their full potential and science to achive its maximum benefits. Our cultures, our systems, our values.

    So, NO I don’t believe in Cultural Relativism. If as the Relativist idea goes “all cultures are equal” why did Westerners – Americans – land on the Moon instead of being beaten there by the Soviets or Arabs or Indigenous folks?

    Why is it that *we have* come up with science, with the Hubble Space Telescope, the Mars rovers and so on when *they haven’t*?

    Why are we (Westerners) keep reaching out to them (non-Westerners) as charity causes and how come we (Westerners) are leading the rest of the world in providing *our* people with the best opportunities, the highest quality of life, the most prosperity? Why are they trying to copy us, not us them?

    Why are *they* emigrating to our nations – often desperately risking their lives to do so – NOT *we* to theirs? Could that possibly show that, (Gasp! Shock! Horror!) our way is the superior, preferable (not perfect perhaps but preferable ) way to go? Politically, economically and, yes, culturally too?

    Think about that. Please. I’m NOT attacking them or saying their (non-Westerners) way is always bad – it’s just that our way is *better* than theirs and the results prove it.

  128. Gus Snarp

    For good or bad, imagine a world where America didn’t exist! Nazis, Fascists, Terrorists…

    Something I’ve been thinking about lately is whether the world would be a better place if there had been no American Revolution, or we had lost. What if the United States were still part (or recently amicably left) the British Empire? This is way more than a butterfly flapping its wings, so accounting for all the effect this would have is impossible. But lets say that the much stronger British Empire wouldn’t have behaved any worse than the British Empire did anyway. And lets assume that the enlightenment ideals upon which the United States was founded would have grown and spread through the British Empire regardless. These seem reasonable assumptions. The UK outlawed slavery before we did. They had women’s suffrage two years before us. They have long had fully state supported higher education. Universal, single payer health care. 75% of Britons believe in evolution, compared to 40% of Americans. While the UK has a state religion, in recent years it has become far more secular in practice than America is. So as far as Americans go, I think there’s a good argument that we’d be better off if the Revolution had never happened.

    What of the world, then? Would Hitler have bombed or otherwise antagonized a United Kingdom that had the largest military in the world and seemingly unlimited human and natural resources in its American colonies? Would Islamic terrorism be such a huge issue if Hitler had been contained by the might of the British Empire and unable to carry out the holocaust, preventing the enormous collective guilt of the West from resulting in the creation of Israel, which gave a strong focus to political Islam?

    I think there’s a pretty good case for a better world with a larger British Empire. And honestly, they couldn’t have behaved any worse in terms of world conquest than they and we did together.

  129. Messier Tidy Upper

    Oh & to specify one of those values I think is religious tolerance and secularism.

    A culture where one religion or ideology is impose dupin everyone withot freedom of choice or freedomofexpression is < Ithink, a horrible and very negative and damaging thing.

    These ideologies include *all* religions- and atheism too.

    I view Religion as something that should be a choice for teh individual person to make entirely freely for themselves and without compulsion or mandatory laws.

    When it comes to religion, govt is best off in my view saying *NOTHING* at all – pro or con. Religion shoudkl be treated equally, neither encouraged nor discouraged and all humans should be under the same national laws.

    Unless a religion or religious group is deliberately setting out to destroy that particular society – in which case the nation or culture or goct is fully entitled to self-defense and protecting its citizens by fighting it to the death if need be.

  130. QuietDesperation

    Warning: thread deep in Godwin territory.

    abadidea: It seems like Europeans are crawling out of the woodwork in this thread to say the EXACT same thing… that mandatory oaths of loyalty from children remind them of… a certain something….

    PayasYouStargaze: I think we’re just rather sensitive to this sort of nationalist behaviour after what our grandparents went through.

    Having flashbacks of Nazism because some kids snore their way through a dumb pledge in the USA is a bit more than “rather sensitive”. Seriously, if you see Hitler in this you need a vacation or something. This is shameful nonsense no better than what we hear from the creationists or the anti-vaxxers. You two need to turn in your skeptics badges and decoder rings.

    Gus Snarp: Doesn’t it sound more like something out of 1984 or Stalin’s Soviet Union

    Not really, no.

    Gus Snarp: (though I don’t believe even they did something similar)

    Are you joking? Under Stalin, a child’s entire life, in school with highly censored education, and outside school via youth groups, was dedicated to being a good little nationalist and communist and adding to the manufactured glory of Stalin’s personality cult.

    The talented ones probably grew up to die young in the Purges of the 1930s. You are saying kids in the USA reciting a pledge is worse than a system that actively sought out and murdered talented people.

    What is it with the hyperbole in this thread? You’d think it was about abortion or creationism in the schools. This is a *nothing* topic.

  131. Gus Snarp

    @QuietDesperation:

    You are saying kids in the USA reciting a pledge is worse than a system that actively sought out and murdered talented people.

    No, I’m not saying anything like that. You are the one extending a symbolic act to the entirety of Soviet and Nazi evil. The hyperbole is yours.

  132. Messier Tidy Upper

    We evaluate the validity of scientific ideas based on their results and the evidence – why then would we do otherwise when it comes to cultures?

    That’s what I’d really like to know.

    People are people but cultures are just ideas about varying customs and ways of thinking.

    All individual human people deserve the same respect, inalienable human rights and basic decent treatment – all *ideas* do NOT.

    Some cultural ideas are just plain wrong. Such as the idea widely held in some worse cultures of treating some people eg. women and gays and other ethic groups as deserving less respect, less rights, less say.

    Is what I’m saying really that hard to grasp?

    Questions I’d really like those who identify themselves as Left-wing and Liberal to answer, please :

    1. Do you believe the American way, the Western way, is the best in the world; that our values & ideas are better than others – or not?

    2. Do you support your country and your nation’s values – are you patriotic – or not?

    3. Do you really think that a nation or culture that represses, oppresses and even murders many of its people (& other people too) deserves to be held in equal esteem and regard to one that listens to and respects all of its people and allows them (the people) to choose its leader and be treated equally?

    A ”Yes’ or a ‘No’ to each please.

    —-

    On that note, I’m going to bed, I’m tired and drunk enough – and, no, I can’t believe I’m talking about this again either. Except I do think it matters and I do feel this strongly. Oh & I do think I’m a good person and I dont give a fig about skin colour or genetics or what-not else. It is what folks *think* and how they act that matters, IMHON.

    Oh & results and evidence obviously natch.

  133. #5 “My European acquaintances tell me that American children reciting the pledge every day in school frightens them”

    That’s because it reminds them of something.

    Why should citizens pledge allegiance to a Republic in the first place?
    States exist to service the interests of its citizens, NOT the other way around.
    Pressing children into doing it it is nothing short of attempted indoctrination.
    It doesn’t matter what it is trying to indoctrinate, governments should not do that.
    It is inherently evil.

  134. PayasYouStargaze

    @134 QD

    My view on this is as follows. We’re not here thinking “look at those brainwashed Americans, soon they’ll be starting a world war”. I have no doubt that there are some out there who think that, but the commenters I’ve seen here don’t appear to do so.

    No. It is just an uncomfortable reminder of terrible stuff that has shaped our history. Living history because there is still a large percentage of out population that experienced it first hand. It’s not just the Nazis, our neighbours had this much more recently under Franco, for example.

    Even though we know it’s an irrational fear, those can be very difficult to rid yourself of. Even then, the pledge doesn’t bother me that much.

  135. Bob_In_Wales

    @136 Messier Tidy Upper – I’m not American so maybe I should stay out of this debate. But I’m not going to. Your questions are highly leading and conflate many issues. Your country has evolved. At one point there was no pledge. Then there was the original pledge. Then the pledge was modified. At each point a majority, I’m assuming in your government, thought things were not “good enough” and instituted these changes. Are you saying they did not believe in American values? Are you saying they were unpatriotic? etc. Loving your country and thinking it and its values are the best does not imply you think it is perfect, should remain static and should never change. The argument here is between different stands of patriotic americanism debating how they want the US to continue to develop, legally and culturally. If western style freedom is about anything in a democracy it is about the right to debate how the future will be different from the past, how things are improved.

    A separate debate is how you bring about that change. Do you restrict your actions to the strictly legal, obeying what you think are bad laws until through the democratic process you get them changed and/or abolished, or do you engage in acts of civil disobediance until you get the law changed, disobeying laws you think are iniquitous? Now that is a whole other can of worms!

    Actually that is a question. Possibly, in the context of what it was showing and the audience it was likely to attract, NBC was insensitive in dropping the god bit of the pledge. Perhaps it had an agenda. Perhaps it was part of a patriotic campaign to improve the US and move it to what many would see as a better future that many wnat (i.e. a god free one). But was what it did illegal?

    Personally I’m left wing and liberal. And I think that western culture has much to recommend it. But I don’t think it is perfect and I think it has a long way to go before it will truly be what I’d like it to be or even what it often pretends it already is! And I also think that we can learn from the rest of the world and from history

    In short, even if our current states are the best place in the world and in history to live lets get off our high horses, get our heads out of our arses, adopt some humility and be prepared to learn, to grow and to change.

  136. Nemo

    BTW:

    @Mike #28:

    As an agnostic

    Liar.

    @ScottL #46:

    I am an atheist

    Liar.

  137. QuietDesperation

    @Gus Snarp: *You* brought Stalin into this. End of line.

    —————–

    PayasYouStargaze: Even though we know it’s an irrational fear, those can be very difficult to rid yourself of.

    Fine. That doesn’t make it a valid thing to dump into this discussion, however.

  138. PayasYouStargaze

    @141 QD

    It seems a valid thing to bring to the discussion, if only as an indication of how your tradition appears to those outside the USA. You seem to be just as sensitive to the comparison of the behaviour (which is valid, unlike the fear I suggested we may have) as you claim we are being to the pledge itself.

    In the end, if the pledge is as harmless as you say it is, then that’s fine. In fact you said so earlier that is was just a tradition. Just don’t complain when someone compares your tradition to other similar ones.

  139. PO'd in Ohio

    NBC is a disgrace. An apology does not mean anything since this was intentional. I am not a huge religious person, but I do believe in God. Every state in the USA was founded on the principals of God. For NBC to do this was a disgrace to EVERY veteran who has ever defended this nation. 90% of people agree with the principals of God, but society keeps trying to please the other 10% who are other than Christian. Our society is on a downward spiral. Financially, spiritually and morally.

  140. QuietDesperation

    Just don’t complain when someone compares your tradition to other similar ones.

    No. I do grok what you are saying, but I have to stand firm that going from the pledge of allegiance to shadows of Nazi Germany is silly. We just have to disagree on that. Peace out.

  141. Messier Tidy Upper

    @139. Bob_In_Wales :

    @136 Messier Tidy Upper – I’m not American so maybe I should stay out of this debate. But I’m not going to.

    Hah! The same thing applies to me. I’m an Aussie.

    Your questions are highly leading and conflate many issues.

    I completely disagree on that.

    Your country has evolved.

    Of course. All nations and cultures evolve constantly. Some get better, others seem to get worse.

    At one point there was no pledge. Then there was the original pledge. Then the pledge was modified. At each point a majority, I’m assuming in your government, thought things were not “good enough” and instituted these changes. Are you saying they did not believe in American values? Are you saying they were unpatriotic? etc.

    Not at all. I’m talking about a lot more than just the pledge here.

    Loving your country and thinking it and its values are the best does not imply you think it is perfect, should remain static and should never change.

    Naturally. When have I said otherwise? But I *am* saying you should love your country and believe in its values and be at least a bit patriotic. This is NOT incompatible with saying we can’t improve or should never change – which is an impossibility anyhow.

    The argument here is between different stands of patriotic americanism debating how they want the US to continue to develop, legally and culturally. If western style freedom is about anything in a democracy it is about the right to debate how the future will be different from the past, how things are improved.

    Is it? Maybe it is, maybe it ain’t. What does seem to be the case here is that NBC have taken a symbolic patriotic pledge and edited it to reflect their own political and ideological preferences which is disrespectful and, predictably, has upset lots of people.

    Playing Leftwing “liberal” politics, making reasoned and reasonable arguments is one thing, but playing Leftwing “liberal” politics to annoy and hurt the feelings of the majority of a population is something else. It’s being petty, disrespectful and insulting.

    A separate debate is how you bring about that change. Do you restrict your actions to the strictly legal, obeying what you think are bad laws until through the democratic process you get them changed and/or abolished, or do you engage in acts of civil disobediance until you get the law changed, disobeying laws you think are iniquitous? Now that is a whole other can of worms!

    Indeed it is and one I’m not opening. Another separate story.

    Actually that is a question. Possibly, in the context of what it was showing and the audience it was likely to attract, NBC was insensitive in dropping the god bit of the pledge. Perhaps it had an agenda.

    Oh it had agenda alright that much seems clear. There’s not much “possibly” about it – or about the fact that NBC *was* insensitive there.

    Perhaps it was part of a patriotic campaign to improve the US and move it to what many would see as a better future that many wnat (i.e. a god free one). But was what it did illegal?

    Not illegal – just stupid, disrespectful and counter-productive. It’s created a minor storm in a teacup, upset some people and probably lost some viewers and aggravated those who disagree. Not a big deal but not something that reflects at all well on them or those who support what they did.

    Whether or not you think the pledge should include “Under God”, whether or not you think the pledge should be said at all, I think you should respect those who *do* have that view and not behave like jerks to them which NBC in this case did. Its about basic manners and courtesy in my view.

    Campaign to change the pledge, say it how you prefer it or not at all – fine. Your choice and your responsibility. But when other people say it as *they* please, then please don’t mutiliate and alter *their* words with the express intention of cheesing them off to make some minor ideological point of your own.

    Personally I’m left wing and liberal.

    Well, personally, I’m apolitical and use my own mind considering the evidence and thinking for myself rather than following *any* political ideology. I think the Right-wing gets it right on some issues and the Left wing gets it right on others and both “wings” are very often badly, damagingly wrong.

    And I think that western culture has much to recommend it. But I don’t think it is perfect and I think it has a long way to go before it will truly be what I’d like it to be or even what it often pretends it already is! And I also think that we can learn from the rest of the world and from history

    On that we agree. :-)

    In short, even if our current states are the best place in the world and in history to live lets get off our high horses, get our heads out of our arses, adopt some humility and be prepared to learn, to grow and to change.

    You can do all that and still have pride inyour country, still be patriotic and still actually answer those questions I asked.

    Yes, its fair enough to have humility and be willing to learn and grow and change. Its another to be constantly bashing your own culture and nation and supporting its enemies and their cultures which too many people on the Leftwing side appear to be doing in my view.

  142. Jeff Przybyla Says: . The Pledge is what it is and is not subject to change.

    yeah!

    Except in 1954. And a couple of times before that.
    But. Yeah! What he said!

  143. I was born in 1934 and so I learned the pledge of allegiance before those two words were added. I attend public meetings from time to time when the pledge is made as part of the opening ceremony, and when that happens I just pause and skip over them. I’m an agnostic, and I don’t think it should be required that a person who disbelieves in God, or had doubts about his (or her, or its, as the case may be) existance should be required to pretend to believe something he does not.

  144. Wzrd1

    First, NBC followed their statement on what happened with mention that a small group of employees edited out that content and that it was being addressed internally.
    That such a small part of the pledge was edited out hints at some personal activism by an immature employee or two, thinking it would go unnoticed.
    While many disagree with the two word addition, it IS the law. Under section 7 of the Flag Code, the pledge is delineated by act of congress. While there are no enforcement measures or penalties included in that section of code, it IS the law of the land.
    As such, it is to be obeyed and ALL words or none read or played back. If one does not want those two words included, take it up with your elected representatives in Washington, D.C., that’s WHY they are there.
    I’ll even join in that effort!
    Second, I was made to realize how our education has slipped in this nation by one comment by Phil. The lack of education on the pledge that he was forced to memorize.
    When I was in school, the teacher went over the pledge, section by section and discussed its meaning, defining words (it prevented the word indivisible from becoming invisible) and gave us a framework to define that pledge.
    Without that knowledge, the pledge is merely a bunch of words strung together and meaningless to those reciting it.
    If there is one thing that anyone who knows me will say, it’s that I’m VERY, VERY big on education.
    I’m as big on education as I am on obedience to our constitution and public health.
    With quality education, there is no need to trumpet the cause of science, the interest will already be there. The same is true regarding our laws, customs and constitution. Equally true is, with quality education, the need for public health is apparent, to include universal health care, as science and the reality that we are the ONLY industrialized nation in the entire world to NOT have universal health care is shocking.

  145. mike burkhart

    I’ve have said it before , the right wing Christain Extremists are looking for any thing to use in there propaganda to covince everyone that there is this big athiest conspiracy agaist religon, and I hate to say this but as long as this stuff happens they get more and more ammo. I want to kindly ask people to stop giving the right the ammo. As a moderent Chirstian I don’t think there is a athiest conspiracy agaist religon, but when some (not all) athiests write books and put up ads bashing religon all you are doing is feeding the monster of religous extremism and it grows bigger. Look if you don’t wish to beleve in God or have any kind of faith thats fine with me. But all I and other moderent Chistrains ask is that you respect our right to beleve.

  146. PayasYouStargaze

    @144 QD

    I’m happy to leave it at that too. Cheers.

  147. Nigel Depledge

    Indivisible? Have you seen the TV adverts they screen during presidential election campaigns?!

  148. Phyllis

    Personally, I think that a deeply pervasive stream of thinly vieled propaganda being issued by one of NBC’s competitors (rhymes with Box Blues) is far more disturbing than airing the pledge’s original content. The very fact that so many people have been intentionally mislead to believe that our president is a Muslim Kenyan, and that it is in our best interests to give millionaires and billionaires tax cuts while we defund education, withdraw help for the needy, cancel all protections for our air and water. How can leaving god out of a pledge be cause for so much alarm when we have politicians – the people writing our laws – actively and daily lying to us and no-one seems to notice, much less care? I grieve that our priorities as a nation have become so misplaced and that we are being dragged into another McCarthy era. As for me, I am teaching my kids to be loyal to what is right, to place higher value on life than on patriotism, and to be responsible global citizens. To those isolationists trolling about, let me say this – 9/11 happened because we didn’t give a damn about what consequences our actions had on other nations: as long as we profitted, it was all good. We can not afford to casually ignore our impact on our global neighbors or more 9/11 attacks will happen.

  149. I grew up in the 40’s and 50’s without the “under god” in the pledge of allegiance. In 1952 -53 they added the “under god” which was during the McCarthy era. All kids said the pledge in the morning at the beginning of the school day. It didn’t bother me at the time adding the “under god” when I was in my last year of elementary school (1952) but now I don’t like it because I think it infringes on the separation of church and state precepts which I think are very important but were already weak in this country concerning separation laws to start with. Still our separation laws are more clear than many European countries. Turkey has the strongest separation of church and state laws that I know of which I think works very well in their country.

  150. Phyllis

    forrest noble – I agree with you wholeheartedly that adding that small phrase to pledge of allegiance blatantly crosses the boundaries between church and state. Contrary to what some would have us believe, the US is NOT a Christian nation, it is a nation populated by Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Naturalists, Wiccans, etc. and many others who practise no religion at all. The US was founded as a *secular* nation – secular meaning NEUTRAL to religions, tolerant of everyone’s right to find their own spiritual path, accepting of everyone and equal treatment under the law for everyone. We so decry the nations who allow Sharia, religious laws, to govern the entire populace, well, then tell me, is that not what the christians are trying to do here? Let us remain as the founding fathers intended, accepting of all religions and one nation, united in protecting the constitutional rights of all our citizens. **stepping down from soap box now ;-) **

  151. Jean

    Everyone should go to YouTube and listen to Red Skelton’s version of the Pledge of Allegiance. To all who do not believe this to be a Christian nation, it most certainly is. When in Rome, do as the Romans do etc. If I were in another country, I would have no problem watching or listening to their customs or way of life. We should not have to change our country and its principals because of the new immigrants coming to this country. I will respect their right to their religions and way of life and likewise they should respect ours. We should not have to change our Pledge of Allegiance or “God Bless America”.

  152. I always find it interesting we are so fixated on the Pledge when it seems so many in this country don’t even know our National Anthem. How about we have the kids in school stand up and recite our National Anthem every day – and that has no reference to god, swearing to anything, or anything else. But it is still patriotic. And would bring in music – so it would have some educational benefit. Let’s get this done.

    For those of you that have commented and claim the the US is a Christian nation, I will point you to article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli – “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…” Go ahead, look it up. It was ratified by the Senate and signed by President Adams in 1797.

  153. Santa Claus

    I still believe in Santa Claus and Peter Rabbit. So yeah I guess I do believe in God. Anyway separation of church and state is the law. In god we trust was added to our coinage, and under god was addeded to the pledge, nearly 100 years after our constitution signed. Hey lets join club god so that we can ridicule those who are not members. Well you can keep your beliefs to yourself and out of my life and government. I don’t need another man/woman religion, or the government to teach me right from wrong. I have my good heart and a conscience to do that. So believe in whatever you want but don’t put your beliefs on me. But, I do like xmas, halloween, and any other religious or non-religious holiday because I like to have fun and be happy. Oh well, I guess the stupid masses need something to keep them from stealing, cheating, fornicating, killing, each other, and if a believe of god brain washed into them through community gatherings works so be it. But for me I don’t need the BS brain washing to understand that in order for people to live together in harmony they must not steal, cheat, kill, fornicate etc. etc. I don’t need the god fairy tale as an adult to keep from doing these things, all I need is my good heart, a conscience and the law of the land. (And yes my spelling and grammar aren’t the greatest)

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