Religious Right Bombards NBC Over Pledge Wording
If ever you needed evidence of the Religious Right's impressive organization and zeal, take a look at the gross overreaction of the American Family Association to NBC's decision last weekend to run the "Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag" without the "under God" wording at the start of the U.S. Open golf tournament broadcast. Someone in the NBC chain of command decided to edit out those words, not just once but twice, although it's not clear whether the edit was done by mistake, for reasons of time limitations, or as some kind of religious-political statement.
Whatever the reason, NBC apologized during the U.S. Open broadcast, apparently having received complaints immediately after the edited Pledge was aired. So you might think that the whole issue would go away quickly.
Not so fast. Dissatisfied with the apology, the right-wing American Family Association issued an action alert to its members this week urging them to "demand an explanation" by bombarding NBC with phone calls and emails. The AFA even gives "talking points" to its members, advising them to tell NBC, "I am furious with NBC for leaving 'under God' out of the Pledge," that "NBC's on-air apology is completely unsatisfactory, because NBC did not admit which part of the Pledge has been removed," and that "I am calling to insist on an explanation from NBC for this grossly unpatriotic act."
Of course, since the "under God" wording was added to the Pledge in 1954 during the McCarthy era, and since the "under God" wording unnecessarily excludes millions of Americans who don't believe the nation is under a deity, one could argue that utilizing the God-free version of the Pledge is actually more patriotic. After all, the God-free version was used during the victorious First and Second World Wars.
More importantly, however, the AFA's religious bullying highlights the need for an organized, zealous Secular American demographic to counter the Religious Right's aggressive tactics.
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