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NBC Apologizes for Edited Pledge of Allegiance

NBC is says removing words from the Pledge of Allegiance during an opening to U.S. Open Golf coverage was “a bad decision.”

That’s according to a letter the network is sending to viewers who complained about the fact that the words “Under God” were cut twice from the pledge.

In the first instance, video of students reciting the pledge is intercut with patriotic images. All of the words of the pledge could be heard except for the reference to God.

In the second instance, at the end of the same video, the pledge is recited again as a kind of reprise, but this time, a larger section of the pledge is interrupted by clips from a previous telecast, and then the pledge is rejoined just in time for “with liberty and justice for all.”

The second time I’m willing to overlook completely, because the timing of the clips intercut into the pledge reasonably cover the amount of time the missing material would have taken to recite. I didn’t hold a stopwatch to it to make sure it matches up, but then it isn’t that important one way or the other.

But the first occurrence is a different story.

All of the words in the pledge were worked in, despite interruptions of other things happening during the children’s recitation, except “Under God.” The pledge takes longer to happen, but each time, it picks right up where it left off…except for that one phrase which doesn’t appear at all.

I do not, for one second, believe that NBC as a company, set out to “remove God” from the pledge. I don’t blame NBC at all for the edit.

But I’d love to know what the editor of that video was thinking; there’s no rational explanation to record a modern group of kids reciting the pledge and remove one little phrase when the rest of it is intact. The fact that the little phrase in question just happens to be a reference to the Almighty makes it far more suspicious than if he had cut out, for example, the phrase “one nation,” or the word “indivisible.”

It’s hard to imagine any intent on the editor’s part than to remove a religious reference that has been an official part of the pledge for nearly 60 years now.

During the broadcast, an announcer apologized for the edit, explaining that it was not done to upset anyone.

That on-air apology wasn’t enough, and NBC has since elaborated, saying that the decision to edit the piece was made by “a small group of people,” and that it was a “bad decision:”

“As soon as management became aware of this decision and the controversy it justifiably created, it immediately took steps to correct it resulting in an on-air apology provided by NBC Sports’ lead golf commentator Dan Hicks.

It was not the intent of NBC to upset anyone and we sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended.”

As a friend of a friend pointed out on Facebook, NBC has apologized. The Christian thing to do is to accept the apology, then move on.

And so it goes.

5 Comments

  1. @psalm23 Psalm 23, you are right on the ball. Yes, we were at the outset a WASP-y nation. I should have said that we are really into Christianity. But I love that we have Jewish faith, Muslims, Hindus, Taoists, Buddhists, Voodoo and all other kinds of belief systems. This is what makes the world a rich and delightful source of so many different ways of seeing the same thing. We all get up and put our pants on one leg at a time. (At least I do…)

    You are right, too, that all this huffing and puffing is a waste of time. It’s the pledge of allegiance, not a vow inscribed in blood. Let’s focus on what really matters.

  2. @AislíngeKelloggdeGómez Well, the WHOLE of the colonies weren’t settled by Puritans. Maryland, for instance, was primarily Catholic. Most of the South was generically Anglican, but lots of Scots bumped up the Presbyterian/Reformed numbers over time. To say the U.S. is ‘into Catholicism’ is a little extreme considering that it was only 50 years ago that the election of our first Catholic president was a BFD. We are historically heavy on the WASP Christianity.As for the main question, yeah, what a waste of air. “Under God” wasn’t even IN the first version of the pledge. …sigh… People need to get a hobby that doesn’t involve being critical of everyone else. 😀

  3. I’m of two minds about this. I don’ usually say the “under god” part of the pledge of allegiance. I know that the United States was founded on religious freedom, but it was founded by the Puritans for the Puritans, a religion that I would not have been interested in. And I feel that the U.S. is into Catholicism and really has little interest in the rest of them and the god in the pledge is just one god.

    However, I agree that this should be let go. So what if there was a mistake or not? So what if not all of us want to say it? I believe strongly in our right to choose. This is a choice, too. You say it, you believe it; I respect your right to believe or not believe far more than I care about NBC and what they did.

  4. @ChristopherManee There’s definitely that. Like I said, the second pass didn’t strike me as remotely suspicious. The first was very suspicious, but I doubt I’d have started — pardon the expression — a “holy war” over it.

  5. Then there’s the whole… don’t people have anything better to do than complain about things like that?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.