Ok, so before I go any farther in commenting on this let me say first and foremost that I am an atheist and though I would like to say that regardless of my own personal convictions that I am unbiased, I am truly no more unbiased by my disbelief in a higher being than any other persons belief or disbelief in a higher being. So just that I don’t get a bunch of people digging into my past and saying “well your an atheist so you don’t get” I am openly admitting I am and whole heartily telling you that that particular fact in this case makes me completely and utterly biased. Whether or not that makes my views any more or less valuable is only for you to decide.
So before I get into everything first, lets have a mini history lesson shall we. The Pledge was originally written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy. He was an American, a Baptist minister, and an active Socialist. In its original form, it read:
“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
By 1924, the National Flag Conference, under the leadership of the American Legion and the Daughters of the American Revolution, changed the Pledge’s words, ‘my Flag,’ to ‘the Flag of the United States of America.’ Francis Bellamy disliked this change, but his protest was ignored.
In 1953, the Roman Catholic men’s group, the Knights of Columbus mounted a campaign to add the words “under God" to the Pledge. The nation was suffering through the height of the cold war, and the McCarthy communist witch hunt. Partly in reaction to these factors, a reported 15 resolutions were initiated in Congress to change the pledge. They got nowhere until Rev. George Docherty preached a sermon that was attended by President Eisenhower and the national press corps on 1954. His sermon said in part:
"Apart from the mention of the phrase ‘the United States of America,’ it could be the pledge of any republic. In fact, I could hear little Muscovites repeat a similar pledge to their hammer-and-sickle flag in Moscow.”
After the service, President Eisenhower said that he agreed with the sermon. In the following weeks, the news spread, and public opinion grew. Three days later, Senator Homer Ferguson, (R-MI), sponsored a bill to add God to the Pledge. It was signed into law on Flag Day, JUN-14. President Eisenhower said at the time:
"From this day forward, the millions of our schoolchildren will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural schoolhouse, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty."
With the addition of “under God” to the Pledge, it became both “a patriotic oath and a public prayer…Bellamy’s granddaughter said he also would have resented this second change.”
The above is from religioustolerance.org and I think it gives a very thorough history of the birth of the modern day pledge of allegiance. Now I know a lot of people are up in arms over the words “under God” being left out of the pledge however, in some sense the pledge was more true to its original. The fact that “under God” wasn’t in the pledge until 1954 tell you how important it was in out history - not at all really. Those two words don’t define, nor have ever defined us as a country. The founding fathers were not particularly religious themselves and fought for us to have a country with freedom of religion which for me as an atheist or a humanist means freedom from god. I personally don’t have much problem with those words being in the pledge because I’ve grown up with them my whole life, but at the same time I resent the fact that people use those words as a way to justify their attempt at making this country a “Christian Nation”, which it is not.
Second, if anyone noticed the word “indivisible” was also omitted in that montage and to me this is more worry some or even telling than anything. I think regardless of religious, ethnic, financial, or any other background out ability to stick together is more important than us being a nation under god. But in a way it is kind of true these days. We are divisable. Look at America politically these days. We live in a time where if one party says the sky is blue the other will say its grey just to be contrary. We’re divided and angry and scared and every day becoming more so on all accounts. But that isnt really the point.
I don’t think NBC had any intention of purposely omitting either the words “under god” or “indivisable” from the pledge. I think it was an honest editing mistake. The equivilent of Christina Aguliera meesing up the lyrics to the national anthem at the Super Bowl. Not a big deal. I think the true issue here is that everyone got there panties in a bunch. To anyone who got offended, you need to understand that while you live in a country where you have the freedom to believe and practice any religion you wish, you do not live in a country that is dictated by your religion no matter how popular that religion may be in the larger society. Stop trying to turn everything into a battle against your religion. Nobody is trying to force you to stop believing in your religion, we’re just trying to stop you from forcing us to believe in your religion. And to anybody who is going to try and say “it had nothing to do with God. I would be upset if they messed up any part of the pledge” I ask then why do I feel like the only one who has even pointed out that “indivisible” is missing? Why are you not pointing that out? And why are you not equally upset at people misquoting the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution or the national anthem?
Was it fuck up that probably shouldn’t have happened? Yes. Was it telling of some larger conspiracy on the part of the main stream media to get rid of God in America? No.
If you would like to see the actual montage click here!