The TV network NBC apologized for omitting the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance during its coverage leading up to the U.S. Open championship.
The June 19 program featured a group of children saying the pledge before the sports event at the Congressional Country Club, but the network edited out the words “under God” from the pledge twice.
Reacting to immediate criticism, NBC issued an on-air statement saying the intent was cover the U.S. Open “with a feature that captured the patriotism of our national championship.”
“Regrettably, a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance that was in that feature was edited out,” network officials said. “It was not done to upset anyone and we would like to apologize to those of you who were offended by it.”
The controversy comes as the Supreme Court ruled on June 13 against atheist activist Michael Newdow's latest attempt to remove the words “under God” from the pledge.
In March, the Supreme Court also rejected Newdow's appeal from a loss in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
In both cases, the non-profit Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and the global Catholic fraternal organization the Knights of Columbus intervened in the lawsuits to help school children who want to recite the pledge.
The Knights of Columbus led the effort to add the phrase “under God” to the pledge 55 years ago.
“The Knights of Columbus is proud to have played a major role in successfully defending the constitutionality of the words ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said on June 14.