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NBC apology on Pledge of Allegiance doesn't satisfy Family Research Council
June 23rd, 2011
12:06 PM ET

NBC apology on Pledge of Allegiance doesn't satisfy Family Research Council

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Apology not accepted.

The Family Research Council, a conservative Christian advocacy group, is turning up the heat on NBC after it edited out "under God, indivisible" - twice - during a taped piece of children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance as part of last weekend's final round coverage of the U.S. Open Golf Championship.

The group wants to see the pledge recited on NBC, in its entirety, daily.

The criticism on social media over the golf gaffe came fast enough that NBC issued an on-air apology Sunday a few hours later during its coverage.

NBC lead golf commentator Dan Hicks told the audience, "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."

On Monday, NBCUniversal Sports issued a second apology from Chris McCloskey, its vice president of communications.

He said in part, that a "decision was made by a small group of people to edit portions of the Pledge of Allegiance. This was a bad decision." And he again apologized if the deliberate omission upset anyone.

But that did not satisfy the Family Research Council.

Now the council is urging its members to contact NBC and demand the network play a public service announcement featuring the Pledge of Allegiance, in its entirety, daily.

"NBC must remedy this abuse by airing a series of public service announcement(s) with the entire Pledge of Allegiance," read an e-mail blast sent Tuesday from council President Tony Perkins.

"Please join me in contacting NBC and demanding that the network air a daily public service announcement with the entire Pledge of Allegiance."

The Washington-based Family Research Council says its mission is to advance "faith, family and freedom in public policy and public opinion." The group is best known for its strong objections to same-sex marriage and abortion. It's a powerful political force among conservative evangelicals.

"This is something that people, they get and they're upset about it," Perkins told CNN. "We know that 15,000 people have already sent e-mails to NBC. Based on the calls I got this morning, this is something people are incensed over."

Perkins said he did not watch the event live. He said he is not a big golf fan but was alerted to the omission quickly. He said he found the use of military images with the pledge omission particularly galling. "As a veteran I stood for the pledge and I stood for all of the pledge," the retired Marine said.

"These types of things need to be met with significant resistance," he said when asked if his group was leveraging this controversy for its own gain. "It's not up to NBC to change the pledge of the United States of America."

The phrase "under God" was not always in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The pledge was written by Francis Bellamy, a former Baptist minister who had left the pulpit and was working at a magazine, Youth's Companion. The magazine was putting together a nationwide celebration to honor Columbus discovering the New World. The pledge was expressly patriotic according to author and political scientist Richard Ellis in "To the Flag: The Unlikely History of the Pledge of Allegiance."

The pledge and the protocol for the pledge did not make it into U.S. law until June 22, 1942.

The phrase "under God" was added in 1954. Rep Louis Rabaut, D-Michigan, offered an amendment to add the phrase to the pledge. It was a homage to President Abraham Lincoln who had famously used it in the Gettysburg Address.

Rabaut testified before the House Judiciary Committee in 1954 why he thought it should be added because, "By the addition of the phrase 'Under God' to the pledge the consciousness of the American people will be more alerted to the true meaning of our country and its form of government," he said.

"In this full awareness we will, I believe, be strengthened for the conflict now facing us and more determined to preserve our precious heritage."

President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill into law on Flag Day in 1954.

The pledge has been challenged in court, in particular the fact that children are instructed to recite it in public schools. Plaintiffs have argued that infringed on a student's First Amendment rights, citing the establishment clause, commonly referred to as "the separation of church and state."

The Supreme Court ruled the phrase was constitutional in 2004.

In that decision, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote in a concurring opinion, "Whatever the sectarian ends its authors may have had in mind, our continued repetition of the reference to 'one Nation under God' in an exclusively patriotic context has shaped the cultural significance of that phrase to conform to that context. Any religious freight the words may have been meant to carry originally has long since been lost."

Perkins said in addition to the public service announcement of a daily Pledge of Allegiance he said he would also like to see NBC produce a program explaining the history of the pledge and why "under God" was inserted in the first place.

NBC hasn't responded to Perkins about his requests.  A spokesman for the network declined to comment further on the matter.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • TV

soundoff (827 Responses)
  1. susie

    I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW HAVE YOU REALLY TRIED TO FIND THE TRUTH ABOUT OUR SAVIOR JESUS ? FOR A MOMENT PUT ASIDE EVERYTHING YOU HAVE HEARD OR READ ABOUT JESUS AND GOD . WHEN YOU ARE ALONE ASK JESUS WHAT THE TRUTH IS AND TO HELP YOUR DISBELIEF NO ONE HAS TO KNOW YOUR SALVATION IS BETWEEN YOU AND GOD AND HIS SON JESUS FOR THEY KNOW YOUR HEART. BUT WHEN YOU ASK FOR FORGIVENESS AND HE SAVES YOU TELL SOME ONE THE GOOD NEWS. YOU SEE WHEN SOME ONE HAS HURT US AND ASK US TO FORGIVE THEM WE LOVE THAT PERSON SO MUCH THAT WE DO. THATS WHY JESUS FORGIVES US. HE WILL HELP YOU IF YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH. WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO LOOSE BY ASKING?NOTHING WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO GAIN? PEACE AND LIVE FOR ETERNITY WITH GOD.

    September 4, 2013 at 8:46 am |
    • Doobs

      Take some deep breaths and calm down.

      September 4, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  2. susie

    PRAYER WAS TAKEN OUT OF SCHOOL NOW THE SCHOOL HAS TO BE LOCKED DOWN BECAUSE THE CHILDREN ARE KILLING EACH OTHER.. NOW WE ARE NOT SUPPOSE TO PRAY IN JESUS NAME IN PUBLIC SOME ARE WANTING TO TAKE GOD OUT OR THE PLEDGE. GOD AND JESUS IS AN EXAMPLE OF LOVE GOODNESS HOPE AND HELP WHEN SOMEONE IS IN NEED. WHY DOES THEIR NAME OFFEND THESE PEOPLE THAT DOES NOT BELIEVE COULD IT BE BECAUSE GOD AND JESUS DOES NOT APPROVE OF THEIR LIFE STYLE.AND THEY KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING IS WRONG IN HELL THERE ARE NO ATHEIST EVERY ONE BELIEVES BUT WHEN YOU GET THERE IT IS TOO LATE.

    September 2, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • Doobs

      Shouting out your delusions in all caps doesn't make them true.

      September 4, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      susie
      There have been attacks of that nature since long before your religion was properly removed from our schools.
      There is no cause and effect as you would think.
      Secondly, the pledge was written WITHOUT any reference to god, and was written by a pastor, not far from where I am now. The original was hijacked and changed by unconst!tutional means in the fifyties, at the same time they illegally changed the national motto, again acknowledging a god that many of us do not trust in, making the national motto a flat out lie., and now forces those who want to recite it to acknowledge YOUR god. The pledge was hijacked and taken away from we the people, and excludes all who do not share your beliefs. the reference to your deity should be removed, returning the pledge to its original form, and returned to we the people.

      September 4, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
      • susie

        I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF CHILDREN IN SCHOOLS BEING GUNNED DOWN BEFORE UNTIL NOW. THINGS HAS GOTTEN WORSE. BUT I GUESS ALL WE CAN DO IS PRAY ABOUT IT.YOU HAVE YOUR BELIEFS AND I READ THEM , WHY SHOULD MY BELIEVES BE REMOVED JUST BECAUSE YOU DONT AGREE.

        September 5, 2013 at 9:21 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Worse than all the killings, including of children, in The Babble? Worse than not being able to find the Caps Lock key?

          September 5, 2013 at 9:26 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          School shootings are nothing new. The first recorded instance was way back in 1764.
          There were 21 school shootings in the 1950's, before mandatory school prayer was outlawed.

          Check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_shootings_in_the_United_States for a more complete listing.

          American schools were forced to de-segregate only a few years before forced prayer in schools was deemed unconsti/tutional. Sincer we're conflating correlation with causation, why not argue that the end of insti/tutionalized racism is to blame?

          September 5, 2013 at 9:45 am |
  3. keiffer

    Who care what a bunch of nutcases think. It's stupid, go thump a bible ... you know... that FICTIONAL piece of crap they keep misquotiing to justify their hate?

    July 21, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • susie

      IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU READ THE BIBLE BECAUSE YOU SAID OTHERS MISQUOTING IT. KEEP READING IT SO IT CAN BECOME REAL IN YOUR LIFE.BECAUSE ITS REALITY.

      September 4, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
  4. Hypatia

    Oh those loudmouthed idiots are still offended that they got compared to camels going through the eyes of needles.

    July 21, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  5. hondo

    So many Christophobes. What are all of you so afraid of?

    July 17, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
  6. Sammy Kitty

    Why was the pledge of allegiance even a part of a sporting event?
    Next time, don't air it at all if it's not an integral part of the program being broadcast.
    Humans are really weird sometimes.

    July 13, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
  7. Lon McCanne

    "One nation indivisible" has been sharply divided by two words and a comma. "One nation under God, indivisible" is symbolic of the slowly growing infestation of less than rational conservatism that is installing the religious, political and economic elite as a joint ruling class, which is self-righteously bleeding the good will, humanitarianism, and products of very hard work from our middle class. Such divisiveness is not in keeping with what de Tocqueville saw as assets in the American psyche: liberty, equality, individuality, populism and laissez-faire. It is particularly grievious to the minority of us who have come to the reasoned and studied conclusion that the God as detailed in most Americans' convictions does not even exist. Their growing assaults on our First Amendment must have our founding fathers spinning in their graves. It is so egregious that perhaps NBC should ignore the plea to offer the corrupted Pledge of Allegience daily, and replace it with daily 30-second bytes on how the First Amendment was fashioned to serve ALL Americans.

    July 13, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Richard Dawkins

      What a great response. Did you really just author that, or was it plagarized ? In any case, I could not agree more. I absolutely want to throw up when I hear more and more garbage coming out of idiotic religious mouths. I'm sure that these gullible people believing in fairy tales are the same types of feeble minded morons that bought snake oil medicine in the past. lol.

      July 14, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  8. Lon McCanne

    "One nation indivisible" has been sharply divided by two words and a comma. "One nation under God, indivisible" is symbolic of the slowly growing infestation of less than rational conservatism that is installing the religious, political and economic elite as a joint ruling class, which is self-righteously bleeding the good will, humanitarianism, and products of very hard work from our middle class. Such divisiveness is not in keeping with what de Tocqueville saw as assets in the American psyche: liberty, equality, individuality, populism and laissez-faire. It is particularly grievious to those of us who have come to the reasoned and studied conclusion that the God as existing in most Americans' convictions does not even exist. Their growing assaults on our First Amendment must have our founding fathers spinning in their graves. It is so egregious that perhaps NBC should ignore the plea to offer the corrupted Pledge of Allegience daily, and replace it with daily 30-second bytes on how the First Amendment was fashioned to serve ALL Americans.

    July 13, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  9. Jimmy P

    Why do these people think they need to fight to mention God everywhere? Is their God not powerful enough to fend for himself. He should smite the unbelievers who didn't broadcast his name during golf coverage. Wouldn't the ultimate believer in God have faith that God will see that his will is done?

    July 6, 2011 at 11:06 am |
  10. Marie Kidman

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGSvqMBj-ig&w=640&h=360]
    ,/

    June 29, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
  11. Taildrag

    It may have been mentioned elsewhere here, but the reason "under God" was added to the pledge was McCarthy types, at the height of that hysterical era of blacklists, etc. who wanted to contrast the American democracy with "godless Communism."

    Sounds so much like the bible thumpers, conservatives and the other people in today's society who seem to be in political ascendance, to the detriment of us all. That many of them say outright they don't believe in evolution, the science behind global warming, etc. shows religious ignorance is still very much in evidence.

    June 28, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  12. Fed up

    About time someone explained the history of the Pledge! What I love are these people who say 'NBC is trying to take god from government!' who don't realize that god's place isn't in the government. Never was, never will be. But the truth doesn't get in the way of a fundamentalist when he gets on a roll.

    June 27, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • Mike

      "god's place isn't in the government...."

      That's funny, because if there was anytime that I would seek God's guidance the most, it would be when I'm in public office.

      June 27, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
      • susie

        GODS PLACE IS EVERY WHERE BECAUSE HE IS EVERY WHERE. WHERE WOULD YOU SAY HIS PLACE IS?

        September 3, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
        • Doobs

          Where he's always been, in your imagination.

          September 4, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
  13. seattlesunshine

    Do not give in! I personally do not say "under God" since it was added in the 1950's and has nothing to do with my patriotism and dedication to the Great United States of America.

    June 27, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • susie

      WHERE IS YOUR DEDICATION TO GOD.

      September 4, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
      • Doobs

        It's in the same place as my dedication to Santa Claus, Bigfoot and Shane Vendrell, Cappy McCapperson.

        September 4, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
        • susie

          DOOBS GOD IS NOT IN MY AMIGANATION HE IS IN MY HEART. I NEVER MENT TO AFEND ANY ONE . WHAT IS WRONG ABOUT BELIVING IN GOD AND ALL HE STANDS FOR ,FORGIVENESS , LOVE, PEACE AND A BETTER LIFE AFTER THIS ONE.HE IS VERRY REAL

          September 5, 2013 at 9:03 am |
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      NOW ASK THEM WHY TO JOURNALISTS FROM TAKING SATELLITES OBSERVED THAT PEOPLE IN THEIR WORK ACTIVITIES WHICH PEOPLE RADIATE TYPE RADAR, AIRCRAFT WE ARE IN TORRES crashing.

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  14. Zelda

    Religion is more popular today than ever before in America. Worship of self. The reason Pledge of Allegiance is not making sense to many Americans. Worshipping self leads to poor judgment and then to insanity.

    June 27, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • Doobs

      Could you provide a citation for your declarations or are you just making them up as you go?

      September 4, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
  15. Religions are one big pile of dung

    All religions are one big pile of dung. Most ate it; some avoided; others accidentally stepped on.

    June 27, 2011 at 2:53 am |
  16. Zelda

    Present Americans don't deserve the Pledge of Allegiance. The US government should pay for private schools or not pay for public or state schools either.

    June 26, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • Doobs

      A class in civics might help you figure this out for yourself.

      September 4, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
  17. Debra

    If the Family Research Council wants NBC to air the pledge of allegiance every day then they need to PAY the network for that air time. This is just tawdry gangster action. It reminds me of a protection racket. NBC please don't cave to these unethical immoral religious hypocrites. An apology is more than enough.

    June 26, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
  18. Reality

    And how much does Tony Perkins make for spouting his and Dobson's "red neck values"? ---––

    $200,000/yr.

    Once again, what the Pledge should have as a major add-on and what NBC should have followed up with:

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

    I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven.

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen

    June 26, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • Andy Panda

      You are one sad little jew boy! Get it straight, and don't forget your triangle.

      June 27, 2011 at 3:03 am |
    • Reality

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      "New Torah For Modern Minds

      Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument. "

      June 27, 2011 at 7:56 am |
  19. tj

    The decision to remove "under God" was bad because "decision was made by a small group of people". However, no one owes an apology to the Family Research Council which is a "small group of people" with a particular agenda to divide and conquer and to sensor all that they can to reflect their own views. Each has their opinion and should not be bullied by another for that opinion. Mutual respect is the only way to peace in this world or any other. As long as there are those who hide their hate under the umbrella of religion, we can never have peace. How sad!

    June 26, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  20. jimmy sunset

    The under God means under Love we certainly do not want to be under hate so by grace we continue , it is very sad for the loss of lives throughout history, and the reason is man and his/her greed and envy. It is nature, the purpose of under God is to present an alternative theology for the people to follow, the separation of church and state was to restrict the church from controlling the state , it is we the people united from all walks of life to protect and preserve life for the good cause of humanity to procreate life and humanity thence create harmony in people.Jesus for representing the spirit/conduct of God

    June 26, 2011 at 11:44 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.