Donald Trump spreads false claim

Democrats dropped God from Pledge of Allegiance

Claim first spread on Facebook, which flagged it as untrue Pledge was recited in entirety on three nights of DNC Trump to attend Republican convention in person

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US PRESS GROUP

Before playing golf on Saturday, Donald Trump took time to spread a false claim about God on Twitter.

“The Democrats took the word GOD out of the Pledge of Allegiance at the Democrat [sic] National Convention,” the president wrote.

“At first I thought they made a mistake, but it wasn’t. It was done on purpose. Remember Evangelical Christians, and ALL, this is where they are coming from – it’s done. Vote Nov[ember] 3!”

Though Trump’s own religious convictions have often been called into question, evangelical Christians form a key bloc of support as he seeks re-election against Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

As the website Politifact pointed out, the claim about the Democrats and the Pledge of Allegiance spread online after Peggy Hubbard, an unsuccessful Republican senatorial candidate in Illinois, made it in a Facebook post on 20 August.

The social media giant, which partners with Politifact, flagged the post as untrue.

“Some Democratic caucus members omitted ‘one nation under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance during [convention] meetings,” the fact-checking website wrote. “But the line was not excluded from any of the convention’s primetime televised spots.

“On the first night … participants sang the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ instead of saying the Pledge of Allegiance. On the second, third and fourth nights, ‘under God’ was included in the pledge.”

Under the first amendment to the US constitution, church and state are formally separate.

The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a Baptist minister in 1892, but it did not then include the words “under God”. They were formally added in 1954, when President Dwight D Eisenhower signed them into law.

The mention of God in the pledge has survived numerous legal challenges, some from atheists and humanists and some reaching the supreme court.

The pledge is widely, though not universally, recited in American public schools, which under a 1943 supreme court ruling cannot force students to say it.

In 2019, an 11-year-old student in Lakeland, Florida was arrested after refusing to stand for the pledge at the start of his sixth-grade day, because he believed the US flag symbolised the oppression of African Americans.

Police said the boy was arrested because he caused a disturbance. The case was eventually dropped.

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