AHA News |  

In Defense of the Original Pledge: An Open Letter to NBC

June 27, 2011, Washington D.C.

To: Chris McCloskey
Vice President, Communications
National Broadcasting Company, Inc.
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112

 

Dear Mr. McCloskey,

I am writing regarding the controversy over your network airing a version of the Pledge of Allegiance that did not include the wording "under God." Based on news accounts, it appears that certain religious conservatives are overreacting to your network's actions, bombarding your network with telephone and email complaints even though your network has already apologized for the incident. I would like to convey the sentiments of millions of other Americans who, while less vocal about the issue, should be heard.

Your network did nothing wrong by airing the "God-free" version of the Pledge. In fact, a strong argument can be made that this version is the most patriotic. As you no doubt know, the "under God" wording was added to the Pledge only in 1954, at the height of the McCarthy era, after much lobbying by religious organizations. In many ways this was a dark period in American history, with good people being blacklisted and unfairly scrutinized for so-called "un-American" activities. It is not surprising that divisive religious language would have been added during this period (ironically, making a mockery of the "indivisible" language).

Since the religious language was not added until 1954, please be mindful that any soldiers who landed at Normandy would have said the God-free Pledge before taking to the beach in defense of democracy and freedom. So would any soldiers fighting in the Pacific, in Korea, or in the First World War. There is nothing unpatriotic about the beautiful wording "one nation indivisible."

Please rest assured that many Secular Americans long for a return to the truly unifying Pledge that was aired by your network. We thank you for airing it, and we only regret that you apologized for doing so. We hope that you won't be intimidated by the Religious Right bullies who are trying to give the appearance that the entire nation is offended by your actions. They are a small but vocal group, and they do not speak for America. This is a teachable moment, and we hope that your actions will initiate a serious discussion of this issue.

Very truly yours,

David Niose
President
American Humanist Association

 

##

The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.

Humanism is the idea that you can be good without a belief in God.

American Humanist Association

Hey, take a breather and complete this puzzle! You work so hard. You really do d...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

It is unfortunate and far from fair when humanist celebrants are considered unof...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Here is a break down of how religious beliefs affect political choices.

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

We are all familiar with this case. It may have been played out a bit in the med...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

It is likely many of you will prefer this quote over the last. Enjoy!

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

What is your opinion on the United States' level of cooperation with the ICC? T...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

The Ethical Dilemma: Advice for an Isolated Teenage Atheist Get TheHumanist.co...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

The AHA is mentioned in this article about Humanist of the Year Barney Frank.

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

Check out the latest Humanist Hour Podcast with Muhammad Syed and Hiba Krisht on...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

The NY Daily News reports on our recent congressional briefing

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

Carroll County: A Small Maryland Community Gets Big Attention for All the Wrong...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

Matthew Bulger, the AHA's legislative associate, reports on our first congressio...

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

We're happy to welcome a new chapter, Washington DC, Atheists, Humanists and Agn...

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

Check out some photos from yesterday's congressional briefing on humanist celebr...

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

Our first congressional briefing was a success! The room was completely packed w...

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

Wonder Works Day Camp in Moscow, Idaho has begun! The first day was a huge succe...

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

The briefing on military chaplaincy has begun.

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

Today, the American Humanist Association will be hosting our first Congressional...

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

Here is a video from Harvard's Making Caring Common Project. 5 Ways to Raise M...

11 days ago

American Humanist Association

Why the Way We Live is More Important. Get TheHumanist.com by email once a week...

11 days ago

American Humanist Association

Hey, have a laugh! http://hmn.st/1sFRZ33 Get TheHumanist.com by email once a we...

11 days ago

American Humanist Association

No matter how right or how wrong, religion can not establish morality for the ma...

11 days ago

American Humanist Association

I have come across this many times. While this topic may not be important to all...

11 days ago

American Humanist Association

Jesus Cones! A new way to violate church-state separation, in Gwinnett County, G...

13 days ago

American Humanist Association

Well this is rad! AHA Board Member Herb Silverman is featured in this short (10...

14 days ago

American Humanist Association

It may seem silly, maybe even a blatant mockery, but if you really think about i...

14 days ago