Lee Greenwood’s classic patriotic anthem “God Bless the USA” had a resurgence in its popularity after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City. The song was a the perfect soundtrack for a wave of patriotism and national pride that swept the country as people came together to denounce what had happened on America’s soil. That’s why a group of kindergarten kids in New York decided to sing the song in choir format as part of their graduation ceremony. After all, they lived in the very backdrop of New York and no doubt had learned the history of that horrific day just before they were born since they could talk. After spending over five months practicing to get it just right, Greta Hawkins, the principal of Edna Cohen School on Coney Island, walked in on the practice and pulled the plug on the emotional finale for the graduation ceremony.
The kids were all set to sing the song last while waving American flags. Well, it’s not going to happen. Ms. Hawkins said no way no how, cautioning that singing the song, that does include the controversial word God in it, might “offend other cultures.” Needless to say, the kids were crushed to find out their big moment was getting quashed. After appealing to the Department of Education, they were rebuffed again. Jessica Scaperotti, the Department of Education spokesperson, said that the department had come to the decision that the lyrics of the song were not “age-appropriate.” Which is a nice way of saying “That’s grown-up talk.”
Well, singing a song about being proud your country and for God to bless it doesn’t sound much more “grown-up” than “Jesus Loves You” in Bible school. But here’s the real head-scratcher… the kids are allowed to perform the song “Baby” by Justin Bieber. Let’s have a look at a selection from the song “Baby”:
Are we an item? Girl quit playing
We’re just friends, what are you saying
Say there’s another and look right in my eyes
My first love broke my heart for the first time
Or how about:
For you, I would have done whatever
And I just can’t believe we ain’t together
And I wanna play it cool, ’cause I’m losin’ you
I’ll buy you anything, I’ll buy you any ring
‘Cause I’m in pieces, baby fix me
And just shake me till you wake me from this bad dream
Okay, now we’re not going on record here as saying we have a real problem with the kids singing the “Baby” song if that’s what they want to do. It’s not exactly indecent or anything like that, but to say that “God Bless the USA” is too “grown-up” for kids to sing at their graduation ceremony but “Baby” by Justin Bieber is perfectly acceptable is just a contradiction in terms.
It’s amazing how America has become so concerned about words like “God” in public and offending other cultures. Can you imagine if you went to a Muslim nation and complained because they stopped to pray at their certain times or were offended by them saying Allah or something about Mohammed in a song? Not only would they refuse to bend their own ideas to fit your mood, but they might very well kill you and make it easier for everyone. In America, we are supposed to have freedom of religion, speech, and all of these things, but where in the Constitution does it say that you only have these freedoms if no one else is around?
And pardon our language here, but, really, seriously, who the hell is offended by “God Bless the USA?” Maybe you don’t believe in God. Okay, but offended by the song? Maybe you are a Muslim. But offended by it? There are tons and tons of songs in America’s popular culture these days that probably should be offensive to other cultures (or actually our own, for that matter) that would never be subjected to such censorship.
Seriously, if “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood, of all people, offends you down to the bones, maybe you should seriously find another country to live in. Just saying…