Earlier this week, commentators on the far-right cable network Newsmax went ballistic after a student at a graduation ceremony at Justice High School in Fairfax, Virginia said "Under Allah" rather than "Under God" during the Pledge of Allegiance. Even though "Allah" is just the same thing as "God" but in Arabic, they immediately assumed a sinister plot.
But after Media Matters for America highlighted the segment, Newsmax was unrepentant — and on Friday's edition, GOP strategist Mark Vargas even called for the student to be criminally investigated by the state attorney general.
"Yesterday I said it was un-American and unpatriotic. It's also illegal and in violation of federal and state laws, and I'm calling on the state attorney general to look into this," said Vargas. "You know the laws are very clear, you can respectfully decline to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, but you cannot recite it and alter the words and use — pull out God and say whatever you'd like."
Nowhere in the segment did Vargas cite any state or federal law supporting his claim that it is illegal to say "Allah" in the Pledge of Allegiance.