Religion in Society

Sorry, Religious Right: NBC Was Right About Pledge

| by Jerome McCollom

If you aren't aware, during a broadcast of the U.S. Open (golf) this past weekend, there was a recording played of children reciting the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance during an intro to their coverage.

This was supposed to be a patriotic exercise. The words under God were left out, and judging by the reaction of the religious right, this was worse than the 9/11 attack. Maybe that isn't fair, maybe to them it was only worse than a mosque being built within 300 miles of their home. Frankly, the government shouldn't be involved in promoting and endorsing religion. It should not have been changed in the first place. It would be just as wrong as if the Pledge had stated, one nation, under no God that can't possibly exist. No atheist by the way wants such a Pledge.

They simply want the government to be neutral when it comes to religion. Now, one defense of the "God" inclusion is that it doesn't promote a specific religion. That is absurd. Children in the U.S. grow up in a culture where the god referred to, is clearly the Christian deity. We are a strong majority Christian culture, when it comes to religion, so an 8-year old hearing we are under a god, will take that to mean the one of the bible.

Some people are upset that the network didn't have the official governmental version. A version that was changed less than 60 years ago, by the way. Indeed, some believe it might possibly be illegal for a non-official version to be aired, since the government can regulate networks like NBC. Again, absurd. The government cannot mandate any version of anything, and cannot regulate political content, even if most people don't like certain speech.

Now, in terms of offending those who are religiously devout, let me point out that Katie Couric and Geraldo Rivera (two supposed liberals of the media) have furthered the myth on television that there are no atheists in foxholes, even though there is an organization of atheists and humanists called aptly, The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers. 

Stating that atheist combat veterans are liars and cowards is much, much worse than simply not affirming the religious beliefs of theists. In terms of offense, they aren't even in the same category.

The fact is, the religious right is easily offended. That is why atheist or humanist billboards have been vandalized and pressure has been applied to governments to get these billboards removed. Some of them state just, Don't believe in God, you are not alone. If simply stating you are an atheist is too offensive to the religious right, than clearly atheists are expected to not say anything when it comes to religion.

Frankly, I don't know if under God was left out because of a political/ religious motivation of a producer or simply editing for time. I think it is probably the latter.

But if the former, one word, good.