Today Show Anchors Applaud Elementary School Students Pledging Allegiance to God

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.

Co-anchor: Yes.

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:


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.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1739947677 Liz Zimmerman

    I witnessed this segment this morning and immediately sent an email to the show informing them that I would no longer watch the Today show, I also added that I was deeply offended. Thanks for sharing this.

    • dubd
      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

        Fuck Off!

        • Tobias2772

          Really Kevin. That’s the best you’ve got. Fuck Off ?? Brilliant !

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

            If you had watched the youtube video you would have understood.

            • dubd

              If you had read the comment that stated she was “deeply offended” that a TV show contained content that she didn’t agree with while most likely owning a remote, you would have understood, too.

    • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

      Did you lie to them for effect? Or do you genuinely intend to cease watching the show because of a single offensive incident?

      • Sam Sonite

        Well, we are talking the TODAY show here. Does one really need much more of reason than this to not watch such tripe?

        • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

          I don’t watch television, and haven’t seen the show. I can’t offer any opinion regarding its value, though Liz Zimmerman

          obviously find it worth watching until now.

          I’m merely curious about such a reaction because it seems extreme to me.

          • Anna

            I agree, and I think that kind of extreme reaction doesn’t do our side any favors. It’s typically the fundies who scream about canceling their subscriptions or boycotting this or that because someone made a comment they didn’t like. A simple letter noting our disappointment seems to me like it would suffice in this case.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    And Al’s parents grew up not saying “Under God”. I wonder if they felt great relief at finally being allowed to proclaim their fealty to God in school every morning.

    • Rain

      In fairness, Al is just a yes-man kind of a guy. The anchorperson is the one who said the “under god” thing. He would say “you betcha” to anything. When the anchor lady said that everything we know, we know from kindergarten, Al said “Absolutely!”. Really he probably had no idea what the hell she was talking about. He’s just an amiable yes-man friendly type of a dude.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        True. Picking on Al was mostly based of it being easy to look up his date of birth because I knew his name. I didn’t know who the other two were. aka, lazy me.

  • ortcutt

    I find the Pledge offensive because pledging your allegiance presumes that your political allegiance is in question. When I was 5 years old, nobody had any reason to doubt my political allegiance, and I resent that schools do it every day for years. The “under God” addition just adds another reason to oppose the Pledge.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

      After we said the pledge we also sang a song. It was either My country tis of thee or God bless America. I remember it was always an honor to get picked to stand in front of the class and lead them along.

      • allein

        In high school they played the pledge over the PA system with the Star Spangled Banner as background music. I used to stand but I didn’t bother with the hand over the heart or even mouthing the words by then. Not for any political reasons or anything, it just seemed pointless after having done it for a decade by then.

    • Free

      The problem here is that it sounds as if you have no appreciation for the lives that were sacrificed to provide the freedom for you to oppose the Pledge. Allegiance to the flag is another way to state that I identify with my nation, its roots and it is my home and its people are my people. Its intent is to help us get off the selfish roller coaster we love to ride and consider that we are actually a part of something great. Something amazing happened when America was built by selfless, hardworking, believing folks.
      Let’s just oppose what the Pledge really is saying and spit on their graves.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        Nobody is spitting on anyone’s graves. Our various arguments against the pledge have nothing to do with our respective level of ‘isms’ or love and appreciation for our country.

        • Free

          Really? Honestly, the Pledge is not a magic mantra that dispels and overrides freedom. Rather, it reminds us, like the Declaration of Independence, of who we are to the rest of the world. That we have a collective identity? What really is the argument against this reminder? Because it says “god”? It is hard to separate the facts that this nation was established for religious freedom. You can’t take the water out of the iced tea. Appreciation for our country must at least acknowledge the irrefutable reality that faith played a major role in defining every area of our establishment. To ignore it seems rather ignorant and non-appreciative.

          • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

            Yea but True you don’t seem to get that a Purist Ideal doesn’t ever work. Americans are Pluralists in our Ideologies. E pluribus unim, can mean from many Ideas we get one. It’s not from one idea we get many. You keep saying over and over that we are all under gawd but yet a million or more American Atheist don’t feel that way. You keep arguing that this is how it’s always been but it hasn’t. Our nation was founded on Enlightenment Principles which Atheism was very much a central tenet. I’m not ignoring that “faith” has played a role in our society but this has been a very recent manifestation and not one that “our founding fathers” subscribed to. Our nation was established for Ideological Freedom and to which theological freedom is just one part of the many.

            • Free

              Please read the quotes of the Founding Fathers above. They certainly ascribed to the principles in which they established the government on. Let’s keep stretching the line of our roots and then sit back and be surprised when it snaps. We certainly may exist but how will we and who will we be. Murder rates up, children killing children, international influence in education dropping, ecconomics failing, suicide, depression and obesity, laziness and lack of direction on the rise. (By the way, these were taken from national liberal headlines). Ignore reality folks. We are not the same people we once were. We all want our cake and eat it too and that is not the recipe for national success.

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                I wonder if we took all those daily robotic recitations of the pledge, and replaced it with a single showing of something like http://video.pbs.org/video/2315729403 (not perfect, but not too bad), we might actually teach kids something about the meaning of religious freedom in America.

              • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

                The only difference between now and 50 – 100 -150 – 250 years ago or longer is the quickness in which information is disseminated and redistributed. There is nothing new under the sun. We only know it much faster and that makes it seem like there is more of it, but in reality murder is on the decline, along with suicide, depression, obesity, laziness etc. As for a lack of direction well that really depends on how you see the world or more specifically what your politics are. The reality you are ignoring is the point I made earlier, we are getting our information quicker and faster and it is an illusion that there is more bad in the world. So you ascribe to End
                Times theology well that explains a lot about your posts.

              • godlessveteran

                Again, some of your “quotes” are outright frauds, thoroughly debunked.

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            Distillation

        • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

          Free obviously stands for traditionalism. He supports the idea that ancient wisdom. albeit only a few hundred years old, was true to the times back then and thus that wisdom can and should apply today. He could never be more wrong.

      • ortcutt

        If you think that not making a ritualistic pledge means that you oppose freedom and you’re spitting on graves, then you’re an colossal ass.

      • Leiningen’s Ants

        Pro-tip, if the first sentence harkens to 200+ year old farmers shooting muskets, you lose about 95% of your readers. The 5% who are left reading just to see how long you’ll beat that dead horse on the other hand are laughing it up.

        So, what the fuck have those slaveholders we call founding fathers done for me lately, dim bulb? Or could it be that events that happened more than two centuries ago don’t really have much actual effect on what happens day to day?

        I don’t know why I bother to talk to authoritarians, it’s not like you’re going to question why you’re reciting loyalty oaths.

        • Free

          Still missing it. The principles on what made this country great are the fiber of civilization. Please don’t flatter yourself in thinking that the core values of america are ancient fodder. They still stand as bedrock principles. Slavery was morally wrong. Agreed. Men and women to this day raise their hand and Pledge to support your freedom. The very freedom you exercise in sharing your thoughts here. The very freedom granted by our Founding Fathers. A loyalty oath is not necessary. Agreed. What is necessary is to think outside of own little world of “rights” and see a bigger more national picture. “What have the founding fathers, done for me lately?” Really? Please think long and hard on that and then pull out your “gratitude” meter and measure.

  • Stev84

    Repetitive and forced loyalty pledges are a hallmark of totalitarian countries.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

      welcome to amerikkka, my friend.

    • Free

      I agree that reciting a creed does nothing to manifest it’s intent in reality. The Christian church is proof of that. Many recite the prayers and mantras but their hearts are far from it. It does nothing however to disprove the sentiment of its content in helping us identify ourselves as Americans.

      • SeekerLancer

        Pledging blind nationalism isn’t what identifies an American to me. Especially not when that pledge defines the nation as being under the rule of a deity.

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    As if kids need to pledge allegiance.

    Time to sing, boys and girls!

    There was a kid who pledged allegiance to his God and country!
    J – I – N – G – O !
    J – I – N – G – O !
    J – I – N – G – O !
    And jingo was his name-o.!

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Would it be too much to ask for a shot of the kids all learning about how vertebrate eyes differ from caphalopod eyes?

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

      Noah was only interested in the vertebrate ones, so, yes.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        Ray Comfort did recently enlighten us to the fact that snails aren’t animals.

  • Katwise

    I was 11 years old when “under God” was added to the pledge; that’s when I realized that I didn’t believe in god(s) – couldn’t choke the words out.

    • baal

      I moved a bit but in the schools where we had the pledge, even the younger me didn’t like it so I said, “Under frog.”

  • LesterBallard

    If this was the Today Show, imagine what this segment would have been like on the Fox morning show . . .

  • Miss_Beara

    I said the pledge because when I was young I thought nothing of it. Then when I started high school and began to question the whole god thing and the pledge in general, I stopped saying it. I didn’t have the guts to sit down during it but I refused to say it aloud.

  • Free

    It’s called Patriotism. It’s being part of a society that has an identity and is seeking to move somewhere together. Allegiance means that you have an investment in seeing the country stand together tomorrow and support it. The students are only stating in the Pledge, including “under God”, the irrefutable sentiment of the founding fathers of this country. Unfortunately, it is hard to remove a person from their beliefs and ideals when taking pride in your national identity. Atheists are hard to remove from their beliefs and ideals when commenting on their blogs and view of our country. Separation of Church and State is wise however you will never separate what makes a person tick. Your blog is proof of that. Children saying “under God” can be simply construed as a historical sentiment to the ideals and philosophical leanings of those that founded this nation. No they were not all religious etc… but the clear majority were deists, theists, or religious and our national identity was shaped by their understanding of reality. Saying the Pledge is just one way to remember where we came from and you know what they say about forgetting it.

    • kaydenpat

      “The students are only stating in the Pledge, including ‘under God’, the
      irrefutable sentiment of the founding fathers of this country.”

      My understanding is that the phrase “under God” was added in the 1950′s and not by the Founding Fathers. I didn’t grow up in this country and I don’t recall any such pledge of allegiance in Canada. I guess if it’s voluntary, a pledge of allegiance is alright although I don’t see the necessity.

      • allein

        Correct. “Under God” was added to ward off the godless commies. But the pledge itself was written in 1892 – the Founding Fathers had nothing to do with it.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pledge_of_Allegiance

        • sunburned

          What is even more brilliant…..the “Under God” was added to ward off the commies to a Pledge that was written by a socialist.

      • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

        the irrefutable principles underlying all the tenets of our nation were derived from The Enlightenment. which included theistic (not the modern definition) , Deistic and Atheistic concepts. The theists have been fighting a long protracted war on history to redefine theism’s role in the founding of this nation. Atheism in it’s modern form is the new enemy of the theists.

    • Willy Occam

      Being patriotic shouldn’t require forcing kids to recite some chant like a bunch of robots to show their loyalty to country. It reminds me too much of those “patriotic” Germans during the Third Reich or Kim Jung Eun’s “patriotic” citizens, all in lockstep like a bunch of brainwashed automatons. Patriotism is much better reinforced by studying history, discussing the Constitution… things that make citizens *think* rather than condition them to behave.

      As for “under God,” you do realize that was added during the Red Scare of the 50s, when politicians had to rally its citizens together against the “Godless Commies.” Just because the majority of citizens in Revolutionary-era America believed in a god (in one form or another) does not mean that we owe it to them to follow suit 200+ years later… any more than we need to justify slavery or deny women the right to vote.

      It’s called Progress.

      • Free

        Of course I am aware that “under God” was added much later. It was added to remind ourselves of what we often forget. Our roots. The allusion to the Founding Fathers was that they would have agreed with the sentiment of the Pledge. Or at least it could be easily surmised by their quotes. Jesus even said, “Out of the mouth the heart speaks” Take a look:

        “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this – that it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” – John Quincy Adams
        *****************************
        “The Bible is the cornerstone of liberty. A student’s perusal of the sacred volume will make him a better citizen, a better father, a better husband.” – Thomas Jefferson
        *****************************
        “The Bible is the rock on which our Republic rests.” – Andrew Jackson
        *****************************
        “In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed.” – Noah Webster
        *****************************
        (UC) “We have staked the future of American civilization upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” – James Madison
        *****************************
        (UC) “He who shall introduce into public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world.” – Benjamin Franklin
        *****************************
        (UC) “It can not be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.” – Patrick Henry

        You have confused the manifestation of principle and practice. Principle is the rooted bedrock of a national identity and morality. They are very secure maxims and precepts such as, “Love your neighbor”, “Respect one another”, ” “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”, etc… They get metted out by the cultural trends in practice – how we define these principles. Slavery was a practice that in it’s case fell very short of the intended principle. Same goes with many of the other slights of culture and it’s people. We do not throw out founding principles that define civilization or have defined America as the greatest nation due to it’s poor practices at times. The baby needs not be thrown out. A closer look at what made us great should be honestly looked at and then practiced from that vantage point lest we forget what got us here in the first place.

        • DavidMHart

          You have cherry-picked some pro-Christian quotes from some of the founding fathers, forgetting that some of them were not Christians but deists – people who believed in a god so nebulous that it wouldn’t make any sense for a nation to be ‘under’ that god – and some of whom were so near to what we would now call atheism that they would almost certainly have been atheists if they had lived in our day.

          But either way, what they were certainly keen on was keeping government separate from religion. Inserting a god of any kind into the pledge of allegiance is utterly contrary to the spirit of the 1st amendment, even if it has not been possible yet to convene a Supreme Court line-up to recognise that rather obvious fact.

          • Free

            David, I did not speak for these men. These are quotes from both deists, theist, and Christians- all of whom are the bedrock founders of this nation. Forbid I quoted Washington – he pulled no punches. Take a look again- they said what they said. Jefferson was not a Christian but he was wise. They said it because they believed it and saw the value in a nation who’s government was effected by the transcendent. They sought to have no establishment of a national religion. Separation of Church and State, while i agree with it, was a concept but never written into our founding documents. Based on what they said, as I have shown their quotes, though to make no establishment of a national religion, was certainly not to have ones spiritual/non spiritual identity quelled by the government either.

            • Willy Occam

              “… to make no establishment of a national religion, was certainly not to
              have ones spiritual/non spiritual identity quelled by the government
              either.”

              Whose spiritual identity is being quelled? There is a huge difference between forbidding people to express their personal religious beliefs and not wanting a government endorsement (establishment?) of a particular belief system (i.e., through state-sponsored prayer, pledges, etc.). Please don’t pull the persecution card for not receiving special privileges, though this is a common bait-and-switch tactic for many theists. Or perhaps they don’t truly understand the difference between real persecution and lack of privilege.

              I have never met an atheist who wants to take away anybody’s right to believe as they wish, or even express that belief in public. What we don’t want is government endorsement of religion. And neither did the founders, as clearly evidenced by the establishment clause.

              • Free

                This is not persecution. That will happen though later on more clearly. I do not need special privileges but i am very grateful for us all to express ourselves without fear even as we care on this forum. Not sure if you want to stand behind your statement, “…or even express that belief in public.” That is what this blog feeds on – drawing attention to the display of faith based, namely Christian expression.

                • Willy Occam

                  It’s a subtle distinction between a personal expression in public and a public (i.e., government endorsed) expression of religion. I will readily admit that I find it annoying when people wear their religion on their sleeves by invoking Jesus, or praying overtly (disregarding Matthew 6:6, by the way), etc… but that’s my problem, and most of us atheists would agree that those people have every right to do so (just like I have the right to be annoyed by it). I might roll my eyes, but I would never think to force them to stop. That’s what living in a free country is all about. But *please* tell me you can distinguish between that public behavior by an individual (or individuals) and a government institution endorsement of religion. They are different!

            • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

              David, he does not speak for those men…but he clearly thinks he does.
              ” while i agree with it, was a concept but never written into our founding documents.
              Are you saying that the Bill of Rights is not a founding document?

              • Free

                Tanner. The Bill of Rights has no such language. You can not find it anywhere in our Founding Documents. If you find “Separation of Church and State” and expressly where it is stated please show the world. It does leave the impression that the government shall not set up a national religion. Duh! Thats why our founders left England. It does not however infer that faith will not play a role in the culture or that God has no place in public expression. It just does not say it. Sorry.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Thats why our founders left England.

                  You are conflating the puritans who left Europe for religious reasons, with those who orchestrated the USA’s independence. The former left Europe so they could set up their own theocracy. They wanted freedom FROM (relative) religious freedom.

                  It does not however infer that faith will not play a role in the culture or that God has no place in public expression.

                  Agreed. You can talk about God all you want in public. But if government is involved in the question, it infringes our rights as citizens to hold a different view.

                  When the government espouses monotheism, it doesn’t feel like an infringement to you because you’re a monotheist.

                  Would it bother you to say “Under Gods?” And if so, why would it bother you? Is it because you assume there is exactly one God? Not zero, as I believe, or many, as Hindus believe? So then, why should government be telling us how many gods there are?

                  We can’t have a state religion, but it’s ok to tell people how many gods there are? Doesn’t seem consistent to me.

                • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

                  Bingo! We are mincing words here though and you can argue until you are blue in the face that your deity has some role to play in our nation but to me a thing that does not exist can not have influence over that which does exist. “One nation under gawd is meaningless garble” Totally nonsensical.

                • DavidMHart

                  The phrase ‘separation of church and state’ is a description of the principle articulated in the first amendment. Just like the word ‘trinity’ does not appear appear in the Bible, but is a description of the three-in-one deity that most Christians interpret the god of the bible to be. The first amendment says the government cannot establish a religion or prohibit the free exercise of a religion. That is to say, the government can neither encourage nor discourage religion – it must keep itself separate from religion.

                  You may think that ‘under God’ is too vague to constitute establishing a religion. I disagree, and you will too once you realise how, if the pledge of allegiance were modified to say ‘one nation under no gods’, that would feel like government discouragement of religion, and you wouldn’t like it. Far better for the pledge of allegiance to not mention gods at all, thus guaranteeing that everyone who believes in zero gods, everyone who believes in one god, and everyone who believes in two or more gods can feel equally included in the pledge.

          • godlessveteran

            - Contrary to the LETTER of the First Amendment, you mean. (1) Congress made a (2) law (3) respecting an establishment of religion. Three strikes.

            • DavidMHart

              You’re right – contrary to the letter of the 1st amendment, contrary to the spirit of the constitution as a whole (since the constitution means, in reality, whatever the supreme court says it means, even if they rule that something that flagrantly violates the 1st amendment is actually okay). Either way, though, it’s still not fair play in a secular republic, a point which Free appears to be no longer disputing.

        • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

          Our roots, do you mean our evolutionary roots, which for the most part seem to be devoid of any gawds altogether.

          • Free

            Our roots, as far as this nation goes, are clearly not evolutionary as it was not in the pulse of the culture then. Your roots, yes.

            • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

              So you mean the Enlightenment roots?

        • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

          Except the founding fathers would most likely argue that your definition of gawd, christianity and religion is far different than theirs.

        • godlessveteran

          Your Madison and Henry citations are frauds spewed directly from the ass of David Barton. If you’re going to quote-mine, then use legitimate quotes.

        • http://www.dougberger.net Doug B.

          If the founders meant for God to be worshiped by the government they would have put it in the Constitution. If they were as strong believers as you claim they had the opportunity to put God in the government officially from day one but they didn’t.

    • Anna

      If we have to have a loyalty pledge, then why don’t we go with the completely secular version that Francis Bellamy composed in 1892? Better yet, why don’t we go with the version he originally wanted, but that was considered too revolutionary at the time?

      Bellamy’s original Pledge read as follows: I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. The Pledge was supposed to be quick and to the point. Bellamy designed it to be recited in 15 seconds. As a socialist, he had initially also considered using the words equality and fraternity but
      decided against it – knowing that the state superintendents of education on his committee were against equality for women and African Americans.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pledge_of_Allegiance

    • Sweetredtele

      Should we go back to the Bellamy salute too?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellamy_salute

    • Carmelita Spats

      “A society that has an IDENTITY and is seeking to move somewhere TOGETHER”…as in Nazi Germany? Grow up.

      • Free

        So, you are an island? No, you are part of many things. You play a valuable part. You share a perspective identity rather you perceive it or not. America was never supportive of theNazi regime and fought against it. We, and our Allies were granted favor and it was because we as a majority stood together against communism and prevailed. I have grown past your accusation and hope you see yourself as an important part of this nation.

        • Leiningen’s Ants

          Google American Bund, you historically illiterate fuckwit.

          • Free

            That means nothing but it hit a nerve. Please dialogue instead of crass 1 liners.

        • Mihangel apYrs

          you overlook the many millions of Red Army soldiers and Soviet citizens who died fighting the Nazis. Had there not been an eastern front then western Europe would probably been speaking German

        • godlessveteran

          We had better toys and more motivated people, not “favor”.

      • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

        An invocation of reductio ad hitlerum or Godwin’s Law has been instituted. This conversation is over.

    • Anat

      Not everyone believes patriotism is a positive value. Patriotism can easily be misused by the powerful and influential to lead masses into unthinking immoral acts. Public displays of ‘patriotism’ (real or pretended) in a group situation are acts of indoctrination.

    • Leiningen’s Ants

      They were also slave holders, so why the fuck should I care what they thought about the supernatural. Better find another leg to stand on.

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

      The irrefutable sentiment of the founding fathers was, and still is, the principles of the enlightenment. I’m beginning to think that Mr. True desires the establishment of a Theocracy.

    • godlessveteran

      There’s nothing patriotic about forced statements of fealty to non-existent beings.

  • Anna

    Problems with loyalty pledges aside, I don’t think Al Roker’s the one at fault here. It seems to have been either Guthrie or Morales who mentioned “under God,” and Roker could hardly have said anything in disagreement on air, even if he had wanted to.

    I actually wonder if the interjection of “under God” was a spontaneous comment reflecting the anchor’s own beliefs, or if she was trying to express that all the tweets and e-mails they were getting were religious in nature. She may not have been trying to cause controversy or talking about her own beliefs at all.
    Just to give them all the benefit of the doubt. I don’t know anything about Morales or Guthrie, but Roker at least doesn’t appear to be super religious. He even upset the Catholic League!
    http://www.catholicleague.org/al-rokers-brand-of-humor-offends-catholics/

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=628665833 Bill Santagata

    Who are all the knuckleheads tweeting about how great it is to see the Pledge of Allegiance being recited in schools, as if it disappeared somehow? I know it is the law in my state—and I imagine it’s the same in every other state—that the school must have the Pledge of Allegiance read at the start of each school day.

    Is not reciting the Pledge somehow the norm in most parts of the country and I missed that memo??

  • Amy moore

    Thanks for pointing this out…I was shocked when I heard it and wrote to the Today show right away. My kids go to that school. This was the only reason I was watching this otherwise unwatchable show.

  • Amy moore

    It wasn’t Al…he just stumbled around after that weirdo comment from Natalie Morales. I don’t think he knew what to do.

  • Tobias2772

    I have always found the idea of a mandatory pledge of allegiance rather oxymoronic.

    • Free

      Good point. But we forget too easily. We assume to much. Good intentions can’t secure progress.

  • Liberty Aloud

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by THEIR CREATOR with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…” If we are not “one nation under God” – then the Declaration of Independence is a lie and our nation is built on a lie. However, we ARE one nation under God, whether you believe in God or not.

    • indorri

      I’m not actually from the US, so I don’t have a direct dog in this fight, but I don’t think “something these guys said 200 years ago isn’t strictly true, so everything we know will fall apart” is a good argument. If you’re worried about the second part (inalienable rights), there are atheists who hold to Natural Law moral philosophy, but you’d have to ask them about it.

    • SeekerLancer

      And that’s from the Declaration of Independence which is not a legal document and was written before the ratification of the government so what’s your point?

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

      Caps lock is cruse control for cool. Your credibility is lost, If you have to use it to emphasize your point.

      • Free

        Making keyboard politics your focus reveals something very amiss. Credibility of Liberty Aloud has no bearing on the documents and their meaning. The point does not need to be made as it stands on it’s own.

        • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

          My mom and dad created me and they instilled in me the values of life, liberty and sent me on my way to pursue happiness, as I see fit for myself, so far I am not happy with the theists trying to convince me that god must and will be a part of my life. I am quite happy that I am not convinced by any argument they have tried to make.

    • godlessveteran

      Creator = double helix of deoxyribonucleic acid. Troll elsewhere.

  • Free

    “Under god” should not be a controversial term. In fact, it incapsulates the most accurate display of humanity. We all, rather we like it or not, have a god. “it” is defined by religion, science, humanism, or other ideals and core attitudes and motivators. For the Christian, it is the One true and living God, for others more spiritual and metaphysical. For some it is science, and what we can know and touch and seek to possibly prove. For many of us it is simply ourselves. We love, adore, worship, and protect ourselves above all else and hold the highest regard and esteem to our own opinions. So, “under God” fits right in with how we all see ourselves, our country, and our world. Maybe you quibble over using the word “god” but lets face it, there is no real autonomy in true reality – we all have to pay taxes.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      One Nation, Under Something, Indivisible (except when discussing what that ‘something’ is), with Liberty and Justice for Most.

    • indorri

      If you want to declare “god” to be “whatever is most important to you”, you get into semantic traps very quickly. To illustrate, plug in the value “slavery” or “genocide” or “racism”.

      If, as I suspect, you instead meant “the highest good”, the semantic trap disappears. On the other hand, if you want to go that route, could you substitute in any other word that has positive connotations to act as a synecdoche and still maintain it would be uncontroversial?

    • Anna

      That’s ridiculous. “Under God” is referring to a supernatural entity, and not just any supernatural entity, but the one from America’s most popular religion. It’s not referring to Hindu gods or pagan gods, and it’s certainly not referring to any goddesses. This is a clear example of Western monotheism.

      I don’t believe in the supernatural, and I don’t believe in any gods. “God” does not denote something that is secular, not in the context of the Pledge, and not in American society as a whole.

      • Free

        Why quibble over terms. You are your own “God” Thats how you roll.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          Because obviously terms can be very important. I am not my own ‘God’. That’s not how I roll. If you think the terms are so unimportant, then why are you trying to hard to convince us of how important they are?

        • Anna

          Like I said, that’s ridiculous. Gods and goddesses are supernatural entities. I’m not a god, and I don’t believe my country is under a god.

        • DavidMHart

          If the term ‘god’ can mean anything you want it to mean, then it is effectively meaningless. One might as well invent a nonsense word and say ‘One nation, under glurbleblurble’, and if anyone asked what glurbleblurble was, you’d say it means anything you want it to mean. If you think that would be a pointless thing to put in a pledge of allegiance, then you would have to agree that putting ‘god’ in it is equally pointless if ‘god’ is actually a placeholder term for anything at all.

          No. The ‘god’ in ‘one nation under God’ was obviously intended to be understood as the god of Abrahamic monotheism, (which, as I pointed out, is totally contrary to the spirit of the First Amendment) and it is dishonest to pretend otherwise.

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

      So is your all inclusive and metaphysical stance an appeal to traditionalism?

    • Mihangel apYrs

      “one nation under Allah”

      does that do it for you as well?

      As a Briton, I can say that the older western nations (well, the ones that weren’t playing with dictatorships) discarded jingoism after WW2, we saw what it could lead to, and we didn’t need reassurance of our nations’ values

    • godlessveteran

      Free – free of rational thought, apparently. Just another troll.

  • http://www.facebook.com/janice.clanfield Janice Clanfield

    It’s just -so- confusing here in Canada. We don’t have a pledge to our flag and country every day and we just don’t know WHO’S side we’re supposed to be on. Help us, ‘merika, help us!!!1!11!1!

    • SeekerLancer

      But you do have loads of taxpayer money going to Catholic schools in Ottowa so you’re doing fine without our help.

  • http://www.dougberger.net Doug B.

    It wouldn’t have been so bad if NBC hadn’t edited that video to highlight the praise for “Under God”. It was a cheap pander

  • rwlawoffice

    So all of your talk about not wanting to silence people and that they have the right to talk about God in public is really bunk. Two journalists mention God in banter and the call is to tell them that you don’t appreciate it in an effort to have them stop doing it in the future; i.e. silence them. It is apparent that you think tolerance only goes one way, people of faith must tolerate your non believe by being silent when you are around so as not to offend you or make you feel not included. Almost every time someone mentions God or faith in a public setting the cry from atheists is “what about us?” A person expressing their own beliefs is not automatically a poke in your eye nor is it being non inclusive. It is that person expressing their beliefs. You really should get over persecution syndrome.

    • DavidMHart

      Do you understand the difference between

      a) Saying to someone “I think what you said is wrong and harmful, and it would be better if you stopped saying it?” and

      b) Advocating changes in the law so that someone can be subject to civil or criminal penalties for saying something you disagree with?

      All disagreements are about ‘silencing’ people in that sense – if you say in public that you think Jesus was the son of god and here’s why, then you are by definition saying that people who claim that Jesus wasn’t the son of god (or didn’t even exist at all) are wrong and should stop making those claims. This is very different from having the government decide what one may or may not say about Jesus, or any other subject.

      But this is not really about persons expressing their own beliefs. This is about a country which is supposed to be a secular republic, and yet has an official pledge of allegiance that implicitly suggests everyone who doesn’t believe in any gods (or who believe in two or more gods) are not quite full citizens, or at least makes them feel excluded.

      If the pledge said ‘One nation under no gods’, that would be the same problem with the boot on the other foot. If you wouldn’t be happy to have that in the pledge, then you logically must agree that non-religious people shouldn’t have to put up with ‘under God’.

      The only way of having a genuinely inclusive pledge is to have it not mention gods at all.

      • rwlawoffice

        My comments dealt with Hemant’s call for athiests to call the Today show and tell them not to have their anchors mention their faith or God on the air. I do understand this would be a private action and not a governmental action. However, the goal is the same- to silence any mention of God in public. That is why I claim that the call for tolerance is only one direction.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          It’s not the mention of God that upsets us. It’s the presumption that saying “Under God” in the pledge is important to everyone. It’s exactly why we oppose that language in the pledge in the first place. It unnecessarily excludes people. I don’t expect you to understand the difference, but there are many mentions of God on-air that don’t bother us in the slightest.

        • DavidMHart

          They were not just ‘mentioning god in public’. They were approving of the fact that children are reciting a pledge of allegiance that excludes or alienates people who don’t believe in gods.

          Once again, if the pledge were changed to ‘One nation under no gods’, and the conversation had gone on about how great it was that kids were saying a pledge of allegiance that explicitly excluded gods, you’d feel left out by that – and you’d have no problem saying that news anchors shouldn’t be saying how great it is that the kids are saying a pledge of allegiance that excludes religious people. So why should it be different if the signs are changed?

  • Blaffles Blaffles

    The real irony here is that if you truly believe in God, then why are you pledging “allegiance” to any flag at all? That is clearly idolatry and blasphemous. The author of this article is concerned about offending atheists by the mentioning of God, when in truth, Christians should be offended that they are asked to pledge their allegiance to anything or anyone other than God.

    Mr. Mehta seems concerned about this pledge being somehow connected to God worship when in reality, the Pledge is obviously an attempt to hijack Christian ritual and symbolism towards state worship. This is much more dangerous than an individual sincere belief in God or no God. Christians and Atheists should be uniting to eliminate all forms of state worship from society. When the State pretends to be the Divine, all other beliefs will become subservient and inferior. To allow true Freedom of Religion and tolerance for all viewpoints, the state and all of its symbols like the flag must pledge allegiance to the people, not the other way around.

    The fact that this “Pledge” issue can easily be used to divide people into Theists and Atheists is just another benefit to the State and its quest for more power over all of us. Whilst we argue endlessly about God/no God, and all our other petty differences, we look to the State to rule over us and “settle” these arguments, generation after generation, while the State becomes huge and overpowering and we are separated into ever smaller and smaller units of “common” interests.

    Very sad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gwen.mclean1 Gwen McLean

    I am very disappointed in the anchors. They shouldn’t be taking sides on this anyway. However, as educated – and I assume – well-read people, they should understand the separation of church and state. “Under God” should not be in the pledge – it never should have been put there in the first place. Take it out.

  • brian

    “I pledge allegiance, to the flag, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” I believe this is the original pledge.

  • http://www.facebook.com/francis.a.scott.5 Francis Aubrey Scott

CLOSE | X

HIDE | X