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.

Continue Reading (via Our Humanity, Naturally)

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@Dion: One of our member organizations -- the American Humanist Association -- sent an open letter to NBC today to let the network know there is nothing unpatriotic about the "godless" version of the pledge. You can read the letter here:

Was anything done by the Secular Coalition to counter-act this move by the AFA?
Sure, it might be something to get some organization going, but the problem is that you are going to have to understand that any form of organization is going to have "right-wing" aspects to it - are you prepared to accept that? All organizations are bound to conserve the organization's ideals. So what would be the ideals of a secular organization - no advocacy for ideals??? That would mean that the whole pledge is against your ideal - comprehende??? You did read Rob Boston's, "10 things that drive conservatives crazy...," where he argued that the religious do not understand that "God" is allegory; his point is correct, and I'll bet he learned it from me, but the problem is that atheists do not understand that allegory is reference to ideology, and that all organizations are predicated on conserving an ideology - no consistent ideology and the organization fails. Which is why you are going to have problems organizing secularists. The next problem is that atheists would certainly be the grouping of people you wish to compel, and they are similarly flawed in their thinking - they like to think they are all a bunch of different snow flakes, and factions cannot be defined, nor united. Why you want to include religious people as "secular" is absurd - they do not add some kind of legitimacy to your arguments, if you are going to consider that the other part of their thinking to be flawed. The correction is to advance "Atheism" as a political organization, because it certainly fails as an educational organization. Nobody relies on atheists for knowledge, atheists rely on atheist organization for political activism - you know, standing outside the courthouse holding flimsy signs campaigning against the allegorical symbolism. Political organization is a maturation level, but atheists will have to accept that religious organizations have the same political potential. However, political contention is the mature approach to dismantling the theists stronghold - this continued "non-political" culture war of arguing, and senseless bill board campaigns, is not working if you haven't noticed. You are a lawyer, Mr. Niose, I suggest you get to work on putting together a robust political agenda for whatever it is you are thinking when you say, "need for an organized, zealous Secular American demographic," because a robust recognizable agenda is what it is going to take - don't expect some other atheist to do the work, unless you are prepared to be grunt volunteer constituent.

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