NBC omits "under God" from Pledge of Allegiance. Are people right to be outraged?

NBC apologized on Sunday for cutting the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance during a video montage that they aired at the beginning of the U.S. Open.

The feature showed patriotic images set to music and to the sound of children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The network says that the omission of "under God" not once, but twice, was an editing mistake-they also trimmed the words "one nation" and "indivisible"-but viewers were outraged, and it wasn't long before the internet, and especially Twitter, was practically on fire with angry, patriotic golf fans.

The incident caused such a reaction that NBC announcer Dan Hicks came on to apologize before the broadcast was even over. He said: "We began our coverage of this final round just about three hours ago. When we did, it was our intent to begin our coverage of this U.S. Open championship with a feature that captured the patriotism of our national championship, 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."

Among those offended: The American Center for Law and Justice, which, along with thousands of people, sent a letter of protest to NBC today. "The phrase 'under God' is the centerpiece of the Pledge, not an afterthought, and certainly not a phrase to be censored," the letter read.

"The entire Pledge of Allegiance has been proudly passed down from generation to generation," wrote Jordan Sekulow today at the Washington Post blog Religious Right Now. "We must not allow the desecration of our heritage," he added.

But is that what's really happening here? For one thing, the pledge has been revised before-twice. And "under God" wasn't originally part of it to begin with.

The original Pledge of Allegiance, which was published in The Youth's Companion magazine on Sept. 8, 1892, read: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

In 1924, "my Flag" was officially changed to "the flag of the United States of America." And in 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower added the phrase "under God"-against the wishes of the original author's daughter.

Two more tidbits to ponder:

1. The author of the Pledge, Francis Bellamy, was a Baptist minister and member of the "Nationalism" movement who was forced out of his Boston church for being a staunch socialist. The pledge is based on ideas Bellamy shared with his cousin, Edward Bellamy, the author of 1897 socialist utopian novel "Looking Backward."

2. The Pledge was supposed to be recited while doing "The Bellamy Salute," which was created by its author. That salute was dropped during World War II in favor of the pose we use today because Bellamy's version-right arm outstretched, hand at eye level, palm down-looked almost exactly like something the Nazis were doing at the time.

Does knowing the Pledge was written to support socialism change the way you view it? Should people be more upset that "one nation" and "indivisible" were edited out, since those were key phrases from the beginning?

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