This morning on NBC’s Today, weatherman Al Roker visited Silver Spring, Maryland’s Forest Knolls Elementary School as part of his “Wake Up With Al” tour.
It starts off all well and good and cute. Roker even helps with the morning announcements. Then, at the 1:37 mark, they all say the Pledge of Allegiance together — even the Today show anchors join in via satellite:
That by itself wouldn’t bother me. Most schools say the Pledge and that’s really not the point of the segment.
But then they discussed what just happened and things got weird:
Al Roker: I have gotten so many twitters and emails [from] people saying how great it is to see the Pledge of Allegiance being said in school.
Al Roker: You know, growing up, we said it…
Co-anchor: And saying “Under God”!
Al Roker: That’s right, that’s right… So a lot of folks are very excited about that.
I’m not sure which co-host — Savannah Guthrie or Natalie Morales — made that comment, but to see that sort of banter on air is disheartening.
As if kids need to pledge that they’re religious in school. At that age.
As if we’d have a crisis on our hands if those kids didn’t say “Under God” in the Pledge.
As if there would be some problem if they didn’t believe in God.
I’m not calling for a boycott or for anyone to be fired — that banter was unscripted and those things happen — but you can certainly let the Today show know that we don’t appreciate their comments and there’s nothing wrong with those of us who don’t believe in God.
Take a cue from American Atheists and let the anchors and show producers hear it on Twitter:
— American Atheists (@AmericanAtheist) May 10, 2013
Or send the show an email here. It may not seem like a big deal, but it’s small things like this that give off the impression that everyone in America wants to see more God in our public schools.