NBC apologizes after taking religion out of Pledge of Allegiance

The peacock network has apologized after the network omitted the words "under God" from a clip of students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance as part of its coverage of the U.S. Open on Sunday.

To begin their coverage of the final round of play from Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, NBC aired an introduction that included images from the nation TMs capital while the Pledge of Allegiance was recited by school children in the background. What was to be a touching moment of patriotism turned into a media nightmare after the words "under God" went conspicuously missing.

I pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands with liberty and justice for all.

Speaking on the air, commentator Dan Hicks issued the following apology:

We began our coverage of this final round just about three hours ago and when we did it was our intent to begin the coverage of this U.S. Open Championship with a feature that captured the patriotism of our national championship being held in our nation TMs capital for the third time. 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 TMd like to apologize to those of you who were offended by it."

The omission was immediately noted across Twitter and various blogs, with many viewers irate at NBC.

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Was this a blatant attempt by the network at separation of church and state? Many say yes. But, what if this same clip was aired even just 50 years ago?

Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister, wrote the original Pledge of Allegiance in 1892 as a way to structure flag raising in public schools. Interestingly enough, though Bellamy was himself a minister, God is never mentioned in the original Pledge. 'I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,' read the Pledge as written by Bellamy.

It wasn't until 1954 that Congress added the words "under God" to the pledge, making it both a patriotic oath and a public prayer. Congress was reacting to a campaign by the Knights of Columbus.

WNWO has received numerous calls and emails from viewers displeased with the network's omission from Saturday's clip. We contacted the network to voice our concerns, and we were issued the same apology as the one that went out to viewers.

What do you think? Was NBC's omission of the words "under God" a blatant attempt by the network at separation of church and state? Should the network offer an explanation as to why the words were left out from the Pledge? Should patriotism and patriotic oaths such as this one involve religion at all? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below or let us know on our Facebook page.