The superintendent of Bellingham Public Schools released a statement Wednesday stating that students will now be allowed to sing or not sing “God Bless the USA” during an upcoming assembly at Stall Brook Elementary School.
“Political correctness is certainly a consideration in the public sector,” Superintendent Edward Fleury wrote in a statement posted on the district’s website.
“Students will be allowed to sing or not sing the words ‘God Bless the USA’ as they sing in celebration of their acquired knowledge,” he said. “No other words will be substituted.”
Fleury said there was no intent to be disrespectful and “we believe the use of the word god is acceptable in patriotic songs.”
Following is the full statement:
“Political correctness is certainly a consideration in the public sector. There are traditional parts of our culture that are sacred, and we certainly had no intent to disrespect any part of that culture. The intent of the planned event is to celebrate the knowledge gained by fourth grade students studying the 50 states in a school event with their parents next week. The students will be singing two songs at the assembly. One will be a song about the 50 states, and the other will be “God Bless the USA.” Students will be allowed to sing or not sing the words “God Bless the USA” as they sing in celebration of their acquired knowledge. No other words will be substituted. We believe the use of the word God is acceptable in patriotic songs. The district has no intent to censor any patriotic songs. We are certainly sorry if this approach was perhaps considered as disrespectful. That was never the intent.”
The original story is posted below:
Parents at a Massachusetts elementary school are furious after educators first removed the word ‘God’ from the popular Lee Greenwood song, “God Bless the U.S.A.” and then pulled the song all together from an upcoming concert.
Fox 25 in Boston is reporting that children at Stall Brook Elementary School in Bellingham were told to sing, “We love the U.S.A.” instead of “God Bless the U.S.A.”
After parents started complaining, school officials removed the song from the school assembly concert. The school’s principal released a statement to Fox 25 stating they hope 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.”
Greenwood released a statement to Fox News condemning the school’s actions.
“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. “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.”
Greenwood said the phrase “God Bless the USA” has a “very important meaning for those in the military and their families, as well as new citizens coming into our country.” He said it’s also played at every naturalization ceremony behind the national anthem.
“If the song is good enough to be played and performed in its original setting under those circumstances, it surely should be good enough for our children,” Greenwood said.
An online poll taken by the television station indicated more than 80 percent of viewers were outraged by removing God from the song.
“I don’t have a problem with the song if somebody else does I guess it’s there business,” resident Patrick Grudier said. “I mean It’s on our currency (God).”
But not everyone agreed – including parent Matthew Cote.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with changing the song,” he told the television. “It’s a public school. If you want to have the word God in the song, go to a private school.”
Reaction on Facebook has been overwhelmingly in favor of the traditional patriotic song.
“Here we go again, more war on Christianity,” wrote one Facebook user. “You can remove God all you want, but the good news — there is still a loving God and He lives.”
Another Facebook user called it sad and disgusting. “I’d like to say unbelievable — but it is so totally believable.”
LEE GREENWOOD’S STATEMENT TO TODD STARNES
“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. The most important word in the whole piece of music is the word God, which is also in the title God Bless The USA. 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. Let us also remember, the phrase God Bless the USA has a very important meaning for those in the military and their families, as well as new citizens coming to our Country. The song is played at every naturalization ceremony behind The National Anthem. If the song is good enough to played and performed in its original setting under those circumstances, it surely should be good enough for our children.” – Lee Greenwood