Stall Brook Elementary School Removes ‘God’ from ‘God Bless the USA’
One outta two ain’t bad, we say, but many parents of students attending one Massachusetts elementary school are outraged that educators removed the ‘God’ from Lee Greenwood’s country music classic “God Bless the USA.”
According to Fox 25 Boston, officials at Stall Brook Elementary School in Bellingham, Massachusetts pulled ‘God’ from the patriotic tune and changed the lyrics to “We love the USA.” The song was scheduled to be performed during an April 12 fourth grade assembly, but the uproar caused by the lyrics switch led officials to scrap the performance altogether.
Stall Brook officials said they wish to “maintain the focus on the original objective of sharing students’ knowledge of the U.S. States, and because of logistics, will not include any songs.”
Many parents were predictably outraged by the lyrics change. But some voiced their support.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with changing the song,” Matthew Cote told Fox 25 Boston. “It’s a public school. If you want to have the word God in the song, go to a private school.”
Lee Greenwood’s 1984 classic ‘God Bless the USA’ rose to #16 on the US country music charts in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and was also very popular during the 2003 invasion of Iraq and after al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was assassinated by US forces in May, 2011.
Greenwood, who is now 69 years old, condemned the school’s action.
“The most important word in the whole piece of music is the word God, which is also in the title ‘God Bless The USA,” Greenwood said in a statement to Fox News. “Maybe the school should have asked the parents their thoughts before changing the lyrics to the song. They could have even asked the writer of the song, which I of course, would have said you can’t change the lyrics at all or any part of the song.”
He added: “We can’t take God out of the song, we can’t take God out of The Pledge of Allegiance, we can’t take God off of the American currency.”
We can’t agree with him. For one thing, the United States is not a theocracy. If you want ‘God’ everywhere, move to Iran or Saudi Arabia. Also, ‘God’ was only added to the Pledge and our currency in the 1950s as a knee-jerk reaction to the spread of godless communism. Then there’s a little thing called separation of church and state. And last, but definitely not least, is the fact that there is at least a strong possibility that ‘God’ doesn’t even exist. When I say “at least a strong possibility,” I am being extraordinarily generous. There probably is no ‘God’ in the way that American Christians envision.
It’s also disgusting that schoolchildren are being indoctrinated with religio-patriotic propaganda such as songs like “God Bless the USA” or even the Pledge of Allegiance. Observers from other democratic nations are rightfully confused when they witness scenes of American children pledging undying loyalty to flag and country, hands over hearts, like something straight out of Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia. We don’t see it because it’s so normal to us, but to outsiders, the Pledge of Allegiance is pretty much indistinguishable from North Korean schoolchildren vowing their eternal devotion to Kim Jong Un.
Removing the ‘God’ from ‘God Bless the USA’ is a very fine start. But we ought to do away with all acts of religio-patriotic masturbation. Like I said, one out of two ain’t bad. Public worship of ‘God’ and country should be consigned to the ash heap of history. The sooner, the better. Amen.
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