Monday, June 27, 2011

A Little History For The Uninformed

The Family Research Council, a conservative Christian advocacy group, has its ideological knickers in a wad over the fact that NBC cut short the Pledge of Allegiance during final round coverage of the U.S. Open Golf Championship. The television station inadvertently omitted the phrase, "One Nation Under God". NBC apologized for the unintentional cut. The Family Research Council, in huffy response, is demanding that NBC air the Pledge in its entirety every day as a public service announcement and that the station create a patriotic special about the Pledge.

The Family Research Council, through its lack of historical perspective, may not want a special program about the Pledge aired. The phrase, "One Nation Under God" was not added until 1942 in response to the Cold War and to, naively, distinguish pious Americans from god-abandoning communists. However, the Pledge of Allegiance was written by, wait for it; a liberal Christian Socialist named Francis Julius Bellamy. This Baptist minister believed in the right of workers to unionize, the equal distribution of wealth, and a government that provided care for its citizens. He also believed in equality for women and African-Americans. This world view informed Bellamy's Pledge,

"I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all."

Francis Bellamy wanted to add the word "equality" for his views on women and race but decided that would have been too controversial at the time.

I would like to see a documentary on the Pledge of Allegiance. The program would put the Family Research Council and other conservatives into deep shame about their ignorance and hubris.

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