NBC’s ‘Under God’ Omission Prompts Calls for Boycott, Firing

Melanie Arter | June 20, 2011 | 1:06pm EDT
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Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, reacts to his putt on the 11th green during the final round of the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, June 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

(CNSNews.com) NBC apologized for omitting the words “under God” and “indivisible” from the Pledge of Allegiance during Sunday’s U.S. Open, but the incident has touched off calls for NBC to hold the persons for the omission accountable.

During the opening broadcast of the U.S. Open, NBC showed a montage that included children reciting the pledge, but the words “under God” and “indivisible” were omitted twice. The network received immediate backlash about the incident through social media, including tweets calling for a boycott of NBC.

“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’s capital for the third time,” announcer Dan Hicks told viewers.

“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’d like to apologize to those of you who were offended by it,” Hicks added.

Dan Gainor, vice president of Business & Culture at the Media Research Center, said the MRC would be sending letters to religious leaders nationwide, “calling on them to hold NBC’s feet to the fire and demand the network fire those responsible.”

“NBC has unquestionably committed an act of religious bigotry designed to offend Christians. Removing ‘under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance in a piece they aired yesterday during the U.S. Open – not once, but twice – was absolutely not accidental. It was brazenly deliberate,” Gainor said in a statement.

“NBC’s pathetic apology did nothing but compound the offense by refusing to admit what they had done. Either NBC identifies and fires the employee or employees responsible for this act or the network is guilty of deliberately giving aid and comfort to religious bigots,” Gainor added.

The MRC is “urging religious leaders to educate their congregations to NBC’s attack on faith and join us in publicly denouncing the network.”

Meanwhile, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which focuses on constitutional law, is sending a letter of protest to NBC and USGA.

"The fact is by trying to pay tribute to our nation and its heritage, NBC crossed a troubling line and offended millions of Americans by cutting the phrase 'under God' from the Pledge of Allegiance," Jordan Sekulow, director of Policy and International Relations at the ACLJ, said in a statement.

"The phrase 'under God' is not a throw-away line, an afterthought. It's been a critical part of the Pledge for more than half a century - a time-honored tradition. NBC admits to editing out the phrase and its brief apology hours later was too little, too late,” Sekulow added.

“NBC and the USGA spent a great deal of time and money chronicling the history and heritage of America's most prestigious golf event. You'd think they'd get it - that America's history and heritage must be chronicled correctly - and that includes keeping the phrase - 'under God' - in the Pledge of Allegiance," Sekulow said.

The Media Research Center is the parent company of CNSNews.com.

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