When NBC cut the phrase “under God” for the Pledge of Allegiance during its coverage of the US Open golf tournament last weekend, it was obvious that the Religious Right would seize on it … and that is exactly what they did.
And it was equally obvious that, in reacting to this incident, they would also wildly overreact … which exactly what they are doing now, with the Family Research Council now demanding “the network play a public service announcement featuring the Pledge of Allegiance, in its entirety, daily” and produce an entire program to explaining why “under God” was added to the Pledge:
“NBC must remedy this abuse by airing a series of public service announcement(s) with the entire Pledge of Allegiance,” read an e-mail blast sent Tuesday from council President Tony Perkins.
“Please join me in contacting NBC and demanding that the network air a daily public service announcement with the entire Pledge of Allegiance.”
The Washington-based Family Research Council says its mission is to advance “faith, family and freedom in public policy and public opinion.” The group is best known for its strong objections to same-sex marriage and abortion. It’s a powerful political force among conservative evangelicals.
“This is something that people, they get and they’re upset about it,” Perkins told CNN. “We know that 15,000 people have already sent e-mails to NBC. Based on the calls I got this morning, this is something people are incensed over.”
Perkins said he did not watch the event live. He said he is not a big golf fan but was alerted to the omission quickly. He said he found the use of military images with the pledge omission particularly galling. “As a veteran I stood for the pledge and I stood for all of the pledge,” the retired Marine said.
“These types of things need to be met with significant resistance,” he said when asked if his group was leveraging this controversy for its own gain. “It’s not up to NBC to change the pledge of the United States of America.”
Perkins said in addition to the public service announcement of a daily Pledge of Allegiance he said he would also like to see NBC produce a program explaining the history of the pledge and why “under God” was inserted in the first place.