Is Barack Obama really trying to remove the phrase “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance?
According to a news story going viral online this week, the president bowed to pressure from Muslim and atheist groups and ordered the phrase to be taken out of the pledge and also banned from all government buildings. But it’s not true, instead just the latest in a long line of online hoaxes painting the president as un-American.
The story about Obama removing “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance came from a website called TD Alliance, which billed itself as Fox News the FB Page. In the report, it claims Obama snuck the change in through an executive order, citing “religious freedom regulations.”
The report also included a fabricated quote.
“‘The separation of church and state outlined in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution is an important founding principle of our nation. Our nation’s Bill of Rights guarantees not only that the government cannot establish an official religion, but also guarantees citizens’ rights to practice the religion of their choosing or no religion at all.’ White House spokesman Josh Earnest told Fox News.”
There was no executive order, of course, but the story appears to have achieved its intended purpose, riling up anger against Obama and drawing thousands of readers to share the story online.
Barack Obama has been surrounded by shadowy rumors since long before he became president. When he was still campaigning against Hillary Clinton in 2007, a now-famous email circulated claiming that Obama was secretly a Muslim with a deep hatred of the United States.
The email, titled “Who is Barack Obama,” originally started spreading in political circles in South Carolina but later spread nationwide.
“When Obama was two years old, his parents divorced. His father returned to Kenya. His mother then married Lolo Soetoro, a RADICAL Muslim from Indonesia. When Obama was 6 years old, the family relocated to Indonesia. Obama attended a MUSLIM school in Jakarta. He also spent two years in a Catholic school.
“Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim. He is quick to point out that, ‘He was once a Muslim, but that he also attended Catholic school.’ Obama’s political handlers are attempting to make it appear that he is not a radical.”
The email went on to claim that Obama used a Koran when being sworn into office (this did happen, but it was Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, a Muslim, who actually did it).
The email was debunked almost immediately, but it stuck in the minds of many voters. A CBS News poll (via Poliltico) from 2007 found that 7 percent of Americans thought Obama was Muslim. Only 6 percent though he was Protestant, the correct answer.
— MiJay (@rmirod) January 26, 2016
— Lead Stories (@LeadStoriesCom) January 31, 2016
Obama has faced a number of other rumors during his presidency, including a widely circulated report that he was preparing FEMA concentration camps for political enemies. This one actually reached the mainstream, with conservative radio host Glenn Beck one of its biggest proponents. But it too was debunked, with Popular Mechanics picking apart each of the claims.
Then there were the reports that Obama was actually born in Kenya, making him ineligible to become president. The most famous proponent of this theory was Donald Trump, who actually got Obama to release his long-form birth certificate as a result of the real estate mogul’s pressure.
For anyone who may have caught up with the latest viral hoax, there is no need to worry — Barack Obama is not removing the phrase “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.
[Photo by Shawn Thew/Getty Images]