NBC’s selective patriotism at the U.S. Open

Bill O’Leary WASHINGTON POST NBC omitted the words “under God” twice from its broadcast of the Pledge of Allegiance during … Continued

Bill O’Leary

WASHINGTON POST

NBC omitted the words “under God” twice from its broadcast of the Pledge of Allegiance during the U.S. Open.

In what was billed as a patriotic expression to celebrate the final day of the U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club near our nation’s Capital, NBC opened their coverage with a montage of military personnel, American flags, great golfing moments and children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The problem is that, for some inexplicable reason, NBC – or at the very least an NBC Sports producer – omitted the phrase “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. Twice!

This cannot be chalked up to an editorial decision made for timing purposes. It was clearly intentional. The montage included the (partial) recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance twice.

The first time, NBC omitted the phrased “under God, indivisible,” and the second time, they cut the phrase, “one nation under God, indivisible.” There is no excuse for this kind of selective patriotism. What makes it even worse is that after the Pledge of Allegiance, the NBC Sports announcer said that those words “are the virtues that have been passed down through generations.”

The entire Pledge of Allegiance has been proudly passed down from generation to generation. But recently, it has been under attack. A few months ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid omitted the words “under God” from the Pledge on the floor of the U.S. Senate. The Pledge has repeatedly come under attack in the courts, each time being upheld as a constitutional expression of America’s Judeo-Christian heritage.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals summed it up best:

Yet, NBC believes that they can cut, edit and sanitize patriotic expression. What they did not expect was the immediate outpouring of disgust and outrage by Americans on blogs, Facebook and Twitter.

Within three hours, an NBC Sports announcer read a sort-of apology on air: “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.”

I was at the U.S. Open on Sunday and, like everyone else who attended, had to leave my most trusted device at the phone-check. When I got my iPhone back and started going through my messages, I noticed a text that a fellow ACLJ attorney sent me about the incident. Instead of being angry for a day and moving on, the ACLJ decided to respond.

To those who did not realize the Pledge of Allegiance was under attack before, this is a wakeup call. The Pledge stands as a tribute to our heritage, our ideals and the sacrifice of those who have fought to protect our freedoms. We must not allow the desecration of our heritage. The ACLJ will continue to fight to protect our symbols of patriotism from lawsuits, from attacks by politicians and from direct assaults by the media. The words of our Pledge are sacrosanct – all of them.

About

Jordan Sekulow and Matthew Clark Jordan Sekulow is executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). Matthew Clark is an attorney at the ACLJ. Follow them on Twitter: @JordanSekulow and @_MatthewClark.
  • cr8oncsu

    NBC is not sorry. They are only sorry they got caught. The actions by NBC were and continue to be part of deliberate editorial policy to eliminate God from the conversation.

  • Carstonio

    Sekulow didn’t disappoint. Once again he wrongly frames government’s secularism as an attack on Christianity. Once again he invokes the deceptive phrase “Judeo-Christian heritage” to claim that Christianity is America’s unofficial religion. Once again he treats criticism of that claim as unpatriotic and anti-American. Even a cursory reading of the Pledge would have shown Sekulow that “under God” had nothing to do with heritage and everything to do with the Cold War. One of the things that made us different from the communist nations was freedom of religion, and endorsing a specific religious belief in the Pledge undermines that principle.

  • Carstonio

    I meant “a cursory reading of the Pledge’s history.” The point here is that “God” is a sectarian concept because only some religions believe in a single god. The name has nothing to do with polytheistic or spirit religions, or even with religions that may seem atheistic to Westerners like Confucianism and Buddhism.

  • ltcoldon

    NBC does’t need me and I sure as hell don’t them including Bob Costus.

  • mindytanner463

    Dear Sirs/ Madams,

    Respectfully, I am requesting a formal apology for the offensive mis use and mis representation of our country’s Pledge of Allegiance.
    It is amazing to me that a company which proudly represents its self as without bias too any group, race, creed or ethnicity would offend so many, so obviously purposefully and overtly. It is a travesty and injustice to attempt to align you company with seemingly patriotic rhetoric such a the pledge of Allegiance to stab a heart of the nation’s Christian citizens.
    If as a company, your opinion is that the phrase “under God” be omitted, rather than pointedly using your influential media power to discriminate against one particular sector of citizens, a fair and balanced investigative piece on the subject would be more in order. Unfortunately, the method chosen by NBC, under cuts at the very fiber of news, equality, patriotism and citizenship of this great nation.

    Until a retraction or other suitable restitution is made by NBC’s parent company management, I will use my freedom of speech to call for a boycott of all NBC Universal companies and their advertisers.

    Sincerely,

    Melinda (Mindy) Tanner

  • samdman95

    Dear Mindy,
    You really need to catch up on your bible reading. If you were a true Christian you would know that what the verse Timothy 2:12 states:
    “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.
    As a man, I disagree with you as I think it is important to keep the secular values on which this nation was founded.
    You are going against the bible and I will pray for you.

  • thatch777

    Excellent response Carstonio I could not have said it better!

  • DCotter1

    Thank you Washington Post and ACLJ for posting and responding to this obvious attack on our Pledge of Allegiance. We must continue to press on without rest to bring Light to the injustice and lack of respect for our Freedom. Thank you!

  • ThomasBaum

    I didn’t see the “patriotic expression” but it seems to me that the “Pledge” the way it is now, is the way it is now, so from what has been reported, what NBC showed was a blatant misrepresentation of what the “Pledge” happens to say now.

    Whether one is for or against the “wording” of the Pledge seems to be immaterial in regards to what NBC did, seems that instead of a “patriotic expression” as some put it, it was an “editorial expression”.

    Rather than an “apology” as some seem to have called for, what just might be refreshing is for someone at NBC come out and say the truth of why they did it this way, I would not recommend anyone holding their breath for something such as this to happen.

  • papamckie

    Go get them! Keep the hammer down on these unpatriotic gools.

  • Carstonio

    Speaking of “editorial expressions,” the fundamentalist Christian variation of the Pledge is unnerving. Written to be spoken to the Christian flag, it ends with “life and liberty for all who believe.” That could easily and justifiably be interpreted as endorsing imprisonment or death for unbelievers.

  • Carstonio

    Speaking of “editorial expressions,” the fundamentalist Christian variation on the Pledge is unnerving. Written to be spoken to the Christian flag, it ends with “life and liberty for all who believe.” That could very easily and justifiably be interpreted to call for imprisonment or death for unbelievers.

  • Bluefish2012

    sandman, that was Timothy’s opinion, not God’s. Timothy was applying a standard for that era, the way, you go along with the secularization of today’s society–it’s very “in” right now, no? Plucking this or that statement out of the Bible and making a point with it is a poor way to interpret the Bible.

  • Carstonio

    What’s wrong with a secular society? It doesn’t mean that religion disappears. It means that it isn’t up to society or government to decide what religions its citizens join. It’s almost a prerequisite for having a religiously pluralistic society with any degree of freedom.

  • fordmaniac

    An extremely wise quotation; “All that it takes for evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing.” Friends, the 80+% of EVERYONE in the United States of America who state and claim to be Jewish or Christian were the hate targets of NBC at that golf presentation by an individual or a group of individuals working for NBC, WITHOUT A DOUBT. Now, do these folks consider themselves “evil”, or, “haters” … maybe, but I’d doubt it. They believe they are wise and noble and of course too smart to believe in any creator or “god”. Friends, that’s O.K. … God gives them and all of us the right to choose. High road or low road … each of us must choose. Jesus is who He claimed to be … or He is not … YOU DECIDE. Hope you have all the facts when you do! Determines where you will spend eternity, I promise you that for sure! Now as to NBC, they are either a terrorist organization, or they are not, RIGHT? They will identify the culprits here or they will not … tiime will tell. You see, as we all know, “terrorists hide behind little children, in the shadows, under cover of night…RIGHT? Let’s wait and see how NBC BEHAVES … TERRORIST, OR, RESPONSIBLE ADUILT???
    “IN GOD WE TRUST” …one nation under God…

  • Blackflagon

    NBC has every right to edit this out, but I think it’s foolishness. One cannot rewrite history when the physical documents of that history are still around. You all really need to read up @ wallbuilders(dot)com to see the original documents from our original founders to see how morality, a Judeo-Christian law system, and faith in our Creator truly shaped our nation. Educate thyself!

  • seniorsource

    Carstonio I believe Mr Sekulow just hit the ball out of the park-grand slam! FACT: 29 of the 56 signers of Constitution held seminary degrees. FACT: 1st bible printed in America was sanctioned by US Congress and declared to be used in PUBLIC schools. FACT: US Congress has 4 paintings in great dome that recapture the Christian heritage of America…Columbus “praying” with men…Baptism of Pochanhantus…Pigrims praying…and one other…FACT: Thomas Jefferson made US Capitol the first large mega church by holding Sunday services within. This lasted for over 100 years; plus had the Marine Corp band do “praise & worship.” Yes thank the God of Abraham, Issac & Jacob that our country was founded in His roots & the ACLU & you can’t rob us of that fact…

  • jeffkrotts

    Greetings friends,
    I’m not surprised!!! Neither by the purposeful omission nor some of the rhetoric posted. The fact that The United States of America was founded by devoutly religious men is easily ignored by those trying to forget where we come from or rewrite history. The fact is most of the freedoms being threatened today were derived straight from the Bible. In either case you’re wrong and if you had any scene of history or decency you would leave certain things as they were/are. Being secular doesn’t mean that all religion is stifled and that our freedom of speech ends when we choose to talk, sing or display religion. As a matter of fact those who believe in secularism should be the first to cry “LET THEM SPEAK” when it comes to freedom of speech as once you step out onto the slippery slope of censorship its not far to limiting everyone’s free speech. Have a great day Jeff K.

  • Carstonio

    Seniorsource, you’re wrongly framing the issue as though it was a referendum on Christianity. Jefferson had it right – America is not any religion’s nation, and people of all religious persuasions are patriotic Americans. Congress was violating the Constitution when it authorized Bibles for public schools. And anyone familiar with the mistreatment of Native Americans is not likely to view the Columbus and Pocahontas paintings favorably, and is likely to consider them whitewashing of history. I must stress this is NOT about the merits or faults of Christianity, and neutrality among religions doesn’t equate to hostility to any particular religion. When anyone equates a particular religion with patriotism, one is saying that people who belong to different religions are unpatriotic, and that’s deeply wrong.

  • gmcft

    The Judeo- Christian religion is the foundation of our nation. 52 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were either Theologians, Ministers or were at one time.

    Thomas Jefferson, one of the least religious Founding Fathers bulit a church in the White House grounds and attendede servivces every week.

    The Holy Bible was used as standard reading/ memorization throughout the public school system into the 1900s.

    Countless government documents encourage Godly service and/or include Scripture from the Holy Bible.

    The Pledge of Allegiance does not endorse any “one” religion; it simply says “under God” not “under this God”

    There are countless references to the Christian God from many polticians for the first 200 hundred years of this nation.

    You need to read and study our nation’s Christian heritage more.

  • libertymeanslife

    NBC really screwed up. They forgot that God watches all of us, even NBC!!!

  • montanan-man

    It really does not matter what religion you are. I can say for certain to be a true American you must believe in God. Our forefathers came from places where men where under the control of terrible governments. They believed that their were certain things that are given by God to each man and that no government could take them way. This was describe in our Declaration. If there is no God there are no immutable rights. So to say there is no God, brings the whole foundation of what America is to nothing, and reduces us to a nation that has no fundamental difference from other nations as we once enjoyed.

    As a side note, the first amendment has been used against what it was suppose to preserve. If we change one word we would understand the meaning it was suppose to have. “Congress shall make know law respecting an establishment of manufacturing”. We would never come to the conclusion that the government could not promote manufacturing. We would know they could promote manufacturing just as long as the government did not give advantage to one manufacture over another. Religion and God is not an establishment. Baptist, Muslim, Buddhist, Catholics etc. are establishments.

  • mohammadakhan

    Pity that god and flag don’t care what people say and don’t say.

    It is best to honor symbols through action then talk.

  • montanan-man

    It really does not matter what religion you are. I can say for certain to be a true American you must believe in God. Our forefathers came from places where men where under the control of terrible governments. They believed that their were certain things that are given by God to each man and that no government could take them way. This was describe in our Declaration. If there is no God there are no immutable rights. So to say there is no God, brings the whole foundation of what America is to nothing, and reduces us to a nation that has no fundamental difference from other nations as we once enjoyed.

    As a side note, the first amendment has been used against what it was suppose to preserve. If we change one word we would understand the meaning it was suppose to have. “Congress shall make know law respecting an establishment of manufacturing”. We would never come to the conclusion that the government could not promote manufacturing. We would know they could promote manufacturing just as long as the government did not give advantage to one manufacture over another. Religion and God is not an establishment. Baptist, Muslim, Buddhist, Catholics etc. are establishments.

  • Baffled6

    Is anyone so naive as to believe that our nation will continue to be great without subscribing to Christian values and beliefs?

  • TopTurtle

    Sure, I’m that “naive”. Other countries that are less religious than the US have higher standards of living. Why do you think subscribing to specifically Christian beliefs keeps the US great?

  • TopTurtle

    Funny thing about those god given immutable rights: they didn’t apply to everyone. Just goes to show that men defined the rights, regardless of to whom they were attributed.

  • TopTurtle

    But only if you say so in the pledge of allegiance!

  • TopTurtle

    Wow. Leaving a few words out of the pledge of allegiance is an act of hate?

  • TopTurtle

    Just what injustice and lack of respect are you talking about? And what freedom has been harmed?

  • ThomasBaum

    Seems as if a lot of “fundamentalists” of all persuasions, including atheists, are in for quite a surprise.

    Jesus forced Himself on no one and He did not ask us or tell us to force Him on anyone either.

    Seeing as Jesus said, “Give to God what is God’s and to Caesar what is Caesar’s”, and the absolute corruption that coincided with the attempted joining of church and state in the past, have we not learned anything?

    One thing that I point out, and it is not the only thing concerning this in the bible, is that in the Beatitudes there is no “if they believe” as a prerequisite concerning the “Blessed are they…”.

  • cprferry

    TopTurtle, the language of rights did apply to everyone, the human actors did not see fit to enact them into practice. Read some Frederick Douglass already.

  • TopTurtle

    cprferry,

    Did you read the comment I was responding to? I guess you agree with montanan-man that one must believe in god to be truly American, since Frederick Douglass wrote that the Constitution was anti-slavery, huh?

    How does what you posted and what Douglass wrote conflict with what I posted? The people who failed to apply the god given rights of men to all men believed in god.

  • DavidFalconer

    In Australia where I’m from we have no mention of God in our national anthem. We have no pledge, and national pride and fervour appear to be toned down a bit compared to that which see we from America. We do not have any national aims. We now have a godless leader who it would appear is a leader is name only. It is written that God has put eternity into the hearts of man. Looking into this fact, and I’l call it a fact. We can llok for God who is eternal for all sorts of answers pertaining to life. I could if I wished pretend there is no God. I could also put a bag over my head and attempt to cross a six lane highway. If I happened to make it across should I then tell others to do the same, or should I remain silent and abandon foolishness. The removal of God, and with Him so much that is good, from our language, and our lives by stealth, is not a neutral thing, but an evil act. We should be brave and fight and resist the devil and be happy knowing God is looking after us. God has us in His will, but He will not die, our inheritance is now. Don’t waste your inheritance either from God or your nations fathers.

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