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Pledge of Allegiance revisionism

NBC-TV tried to revise the Pledge of Allegiance yesterday. This kind of revisionism is now all too typical.

How does the Pledge of Allegiance read?

Francis Bellamy, in 1892, wrote the first version of the Pledge of Allegiance. This Pledge has seen four revisions since then. The most recent was by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who in 1954 added the phrase “under God.”

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Another attempt at revision happened on this Father’s Day at the U.S. Golf Open. NBC television edited out the words “under God” that Eisenhower included. Twice it played its edited version of school children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. This was no error. The children did not omit the words by mistake. NBC deliberately cut the words out, and then had to apologize after an onslaught of protests throughout all social media venues.

Is this an isolated case?

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Sadly, no. This kind of historical revisionism, or trying to remove “God” from all things American, has been going on for years. In September 2010, and then again in October 2010, President Obama omitted the words “by our Creator” when reciting the Preamble of our Declaration of Independence. And MSNBC, a cable news channel established to augment the content from NBC and its partners, ran a patriotically themed ad that excluded the words as well, but it did include a quick segment of a gay marriage ceremony during the mention of “unalienable rights.” They had to pull this ad very quickly.

What should we do about it?

To be sure, NBC and MSNBC have a right to free speech and to broadcast whatever philosophies they like. To be sure, I also have a right not to watch anything they broadcast – and I intend to exercise that right. Some things you do not mess with. The Pledge of Allegiance is one of them.

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You can read more about this nation’s Christian heritage in our article entitled “Is America a Christian Nation?”

Featured image: the American flag.

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RoseAnn Salanitri is a published author and Acquisition Editor for the New Jersey Family Policy Council. She is a community activist who has founded the Sussex County Tea Party in her home state and launched a recall movement against Senator Robert Menendez. RoseAnn is also the founder of Veritas Christian Academy, as well as co-founder of Creation Science Alive, and a national creation science speaker.

constitutional law, media

Comments (14)

  • I don’t see why we have a pledge of allegiance in the first place. As a child, I was made to say it everyday. What for, loyalty? Loyalty is a social construct used to make people agree with poor decisions.
    I align my actions with what’s right. If the US does right, I support that. If the US does wrong, I do not.

    I won’t vote for someone just because I voted for them before, or because they’ve done something right once before.

    Merit is fleeting.

    To try and make people reaffirm themselves by constantly saying the pledge is a practice I find fascistic in nature. Indoctrination should not be necessary to maintain a free society, and indeed, indoctrination contradicts freedom.

    Furthermore, the use of “under God” in the pledge is particularly egregious. Is belief in God a prerequisite to being a citizen? What about people that believe in multiple deities, or a single female deity? A free nation must include religious freedom as a core concept (as ours does- or at least started doing so under the fourteenth amendment).

    • You’re absolutely right. The Founding Fathers would be horrified at the idea that blind obedience should be built into the fabric of America. The pledge of allegiance is bad enough as it was originally without adding a bronze age entity into it.

      “My country right or wrong” and “Dulce et ducorum est pro patria mori” have been proved wrong several times, and it’s rather sad that people are falling for the old lies.

  • “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

    Is the ORIGINAL pledge, changed in the 1950’s to include “under god”. The fathers of this nation roll in their graves.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pledge_of_Allegiance#Addition_of_the_words_.22under_God.22

      • Founding fathers aside, if the original text did not include “under god,” then perhaps accusing NBC of revisionism is a little disingenuous. Rather than accusing them of propaganda, you could accuse them of misunderstanding the meaning of the pledge or something.
        Anyways, I stand by my above point that we shouldn’t have a pledge period, for the reasons elaborated above.

        Also, “the founding fathers are rolling in their graves” is not a particularly convincing argument. They were not saints, they were not infallible. I’m sure there are lots of things we’ve no objection to today (on both sides of the aisle) that the “founding fathers” would lash out at us for. Let us not forget the 3/5 compromise, or the lack of woman’s suffrage.

  • So basically, the pledge was more or less recited like its earlier, 1924 version and the historical revisionists are trying to pretend that a conspiracy took place.

  • The pledge is not about blind loyalty to any party or politician. It is about swearing your allegiance to your country. Although the founders asserted that we had the right to petition and disagree with the government, they would have supported the pledge. They took treason seriously, as it was punishable by death. The fact that someone refuses to say the pledge, no matter their beliefs, can only mean they lack respect for this country. As for NBC rewritting it, they most certainly did. Like it or not, the pledge was changed to have “under God, indivisible” in it and that is now the official form. If you look back you tend to see the words “God” and “Creator” a whole lot throughout this country’s history. The Christian faith was very important to the founders and to the American public. It was here first. No one complained then of discrimination, even though there were still a variety of beliefs back then. These antireligious bigots are simply trying to remove something that has been in place for over two hundred years with no one complaining. Don’t you just love it when you disagree with a liberal, you’re a conspiracy theorist?

    • “These antireligious bigots are simply trying to remove something that has been in place for over two hundred years with no one complaining.”

      I would hardly call Jehovah’s Witnesses anti-religious bigots. And they are against the pledge. http://www.towerwatch.com/Witnesses/Beliefs/their_beliefs.htm

      “The fact that someone refuses to say the pledge, no matter their beliefs, can only mean they lack respect for this country.”

      Or perhaps because it goes against their beliefs. See above.

    • “These antireligious (sic) bigots are simply trying to remove something that has been in place for over two hundred years with no one complaining.”

      This is true historical revisionism. Not only is the pledge not two hundred years old, the “Under God” part was added in only sixty years ago because at the time it was thought that communists couldn’t say the word “God”. I so wish that I was making that up, but I’m not.

      Furthermore, “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

      This isn’t just some out of context quote, this is part of the Treaty of Tripoli. Due to Article 6 of the Constitution, that means this is law. Legally, the United States is explicitly NOT a Christian nation. It was submitted to the Senate by President John Adams, receiving ratification unanimously from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797 and signed by Adams, taking effect as the law of the land on June 10, 1797.

      There have always been atheists in America, and there have always been Americans who are atheists. They are citizens of this country, with the same rights, responsibilities and entitlements as any religious person, be they Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, Shintoist, Muslim or Christian. Many of the people who ended up in America early did so to escape religious persecution in Europe. Many of these people were some type of Christian, and they were being persecuted in Europe by OTHER Christians. The founding fathers in NO way, shape or form intended to found a government on any religious principles. Wars were fought across Europe over what type of Christian was acceptable, and many of the first American colonists left Europe to get away from that insanity. The Founding Fathers were very, very well aware of this and wrote our Constitution to specifically prevent that sort of thing from happening in this country.

      Joseph, your claim that the Christian religion has some higher status in this country, is not only wrong, provably beyond the shadow of a doubt, but is also distinctly Anti-American, for reasons that by now should be obvious. Also, it wasn’t here first. Native Americans had their own religions well before the white man arrived.

      Do you have any idea what an actual theocracy looks like? They look like Saudi Arabia and Iran. This is the antithesis of what it is to be an American.

    • >>The fact that someone refuses to say the pledge, no matter their beliefs, can only mean they lack respect for this country.

      Seeing as this is a secular nation, with a wide variety of cultures and religions (and lack thereof) which all have the same protection under law, it would not be the case that one who refuses the pledge is disrespectful. Quite the contrary, since the 1950s change made the pledge sectarian, it is the case that you disrespected all those other cultures and they may not want to swear allegiance to a god they do not worship.

      >>As for NBC rewritting it, they most certainly did. Like it or not, the pledge was changed to have “under God, indivisible” in it and that is now the official form.

      Which is strictly unconstitutional. Why aren’t you defending the constitution here? Conservatives and the religious often claim to want to see our law changed to reflect that document, but are blind to it here.

      >>If you look back you tend to see the words “God” and “Creator” a whole lot throughout this country’s history. The Christian faith was very important to the founders and to the American public.

      No one disputes that Christianity was the major religion of the early nation. What is important is that this is a SECULAR nation. That means on matters of religion, the church (all of them) are forbidden from using the state to their benefit, and vice versa. For the same reason that no government officials or public-funded businesses may advertise Allah, they may not advertise the Jewish or Christian brand of god.

      You are NOT prohibited from private exercise of religion, only public, state-funded exercise.

      >>These antireligious bigots are simply trying to remove something that has been in place for over two hundred years with no one complaining.

      It’s not bigotry to demand that the law be adhered to. Why would you want something as vulgar as the state touching your religion anyway? Isn’t it supposed to be a private, personal, “not of this world” experience? What part of government is holy?

  • First you point out that the Pledge of Allegiance has been changed four times, most recently by Eisenhower to add the phrase, “under God”. Then you say, “Some things you do not mess with. The Pledge of Allegiance is one of them.” There’s a contradiction here: which way do you want it? “Messed about with” with “under God”? Or the original, non-messed-about-with version, which doesn’t say “under God”?

  • John’s reply to Joseph sums up my sentiments eloquently so there’s not much for me to add aside from seconding them.

    Too many people who claim that the U.S. was explicitly founded as a Christian nation are ignorant of U.S. history, particularly our colonial roots. Many early settlements, and several colonies themselves, were founded by Christians seeking to escape persecution by other Christians.

    Joseph, if you want to take a real stand against revisionist behavior meant to score cheap political points, then petition your representatives to roll back the words added as a Cold War barb and return the pledge to the version that actually represented the founding principles of our country.

  • As a school teacher, I’m called on to recite the Pledge every day of school. One day I pointed out to my students there is something I leave out when I recite the Pledge…. they immediately jumped to the mention of God. Nope…. that’s not it. I decline to pledge my allegiance to a piece of cloth, so the words I leave out are “the flag of.”

    As a 12.5 year military veteran, I’ve paid my dues on this one. We do not take an oath to defend the flag and I will not do so now.

    Oh yeah… on the (related) matter of flag burning… I’m opposed to a constitutional ammendment to ban the practice as I see it to be an expression of political opinion. Freedom of speech has no value unless it protects speech that makes your blood boil in rage.

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