The Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy in 1892, and read:
“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.”
After debates that immigrants would confuse the phrase "my flag" with the flag of their original country, the phrase was changed to "I pledge Allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America." This change occurred in 1923-1924. Congress did not officially recognize the Pledge of Allegiance until 1942, when it was formally included in the United States Flag Code.
The final change to the Pledge of Allegiance came on flag day in 1954. In an effort to condemn communism, Congress passed a law that officially added the phrase "Under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge now reads as follows:
"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
So now the question arises, was NBC's edit to the Pledge unpatriotic? Absolutely, for numerous reasons. What gives NBC the right to edit the Pledge of Allegiance to our country? It's one thing for an individual to say "I refuse to say 'Under God' because I don't believe in God." It's another thing to be a major Television broadcaster that's content is distributed for millions of Americans to see. NBC admitted that the edit was wrongfully permitted, and it was a poor decision by management. But why is it offensive?
Not only is the edit offensive from a religious perspective, but it also demonstrates disrespect for decisions made by congress in the early 1950's. I think it's completely fine to advocate for a change to the Pledge of Allegiance, but it's not fine to just broadcast changes a couple of people felt strongly about. My argument being: NBC is in no position to decide what changes need to be made to the Pledge of Allegiance.
Only Congress has the power to make changes to the Pledge of Allegiance; with the President's consent. These are individuals the people of America have elected to represent them. Nobody has elected NBC to do anything, so why are they making changes?
My advice to NBC: Stick to television things, and leave politics to politicians and the people. However, NBC is receiving a great deal of publicity for this. And if there's one thing I learned in my marketing courses: There's no such thing as bad publicity.