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Ban “God Bless America” at MLB Baseball Games!

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God Bless AmericaThings have changed since September 11th. Security at airports is more of a pain in the ass in the ever. For some reason, we still have to take off our shoes, as if the terrorists are really that dumb to put C4 in their shoes anymore. The United States is set at a constant state of Orange Alert, whatever that means. Countries can be attacked even without doing anything to the U.S. Our government can spy on us without a court order. However, we’re still looking for WMDs in Iraq.

But what pisses me off almost as much as having to take my shoes off at airports is listening to the song “God Bless America” during the 7th inning stretch of Major League Baseball games. The policy was implemented the day baseball returned to the airwaves after the attacks, and that is fine. The policy continued through the playoffs and World Series. OK.

Then “God Bless America,” if memory serves, played during the 7th Inning Stretch of every MLB game in 2002. A big baseball fan, I go to a lot of games. Maybe not as many as some, but I’d say 25 games a season is more than most people go to. That’s a lot of times to hear “God Bless America,” and think of the players – they have to hear it at least 162 days a year. Sure, the National Anthem and Take Me Out to the Ballgame are played every game, but one is our national anthem, and other is a pure baseball tradition. “God Bless America” is just something Bud Selig added to appeal to patriotic sensibilities, and presumably NASCAR fans.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m patriotic. Yes, I’m liberal AND patriotic (I don’t view the two as being mutually exclusive, at all). No, I don’t wear American flag underpants or burn Dixie Chick records or take everything (or anything) our President says at face value; in fact, I question most things our government tells us, and even what the national media tells us. But I love America and am proud to be an American, despite everything we do to the world.

So, when I say I hate the song, “God Bless America,” I am not being unpatriotic; I am simply saying that it is an overly used, annoying, biased and ultimately offensive piece of music.

Why should MLB not play “God Bless America” at its baseball games anymore? Here are a few reasons:

  • As an atheist, it mildly offends me. OK, in reality, I just don’t like hearing the song, but being forced to listen to “God Bless” stuff is just nauseating.
  • On that note, though, whenever I hear, “God Bless…” I think Christian. Which is fine, except baseball is a sport for all people and all religions, not just Christians. What do Muslims think? Hindus? Buddhists? Most don’t care; they live in a country based on Christian principles. Fine. But in an age of political correctness, shouldn’t the MLB be a little more… politically correct? (see, I actually suggest being PC when it’s in my best interest)
  • Furthermore and foremost, “God Bless America?” Isn’t that a little self-centered, a little pre-globalization. Patriotism and a little bit of nationalism is fine, but how about “God Bless the World?”I’d find that a lot less offensive, as we shouldn’t be concerned about whether God blesses this country but rather the world as a whole? “America” implies the United States, but a good chunk of baseball players are from other countries.

Why this random post? It has nothing to do with movies, though arguably it has to do with entertainment. But really, I just got really annoyed when, after listening to “God Bless America” at the baseball game, the Gasworks Park fireworks show on 4th of July (the biggest show in Seattle) did their finale to Celine Dion’s version of the song. Isn’t Dion a Canadian, for starters? And two, really? That song of all songs to do your finale to? No!

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Miscellaneous
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AROUND THE WEB

  • Luke Baggins

    Wanting them to stop playing the song because it’s annoying is like saying there shouldn’t be the A-Team intro every episode. I understand the atheist point, but this is a christian nation and naturally not everyone can be pleased. Being PC is a newer concept and is taking time for everything to be PC. I mean this statement stretches out as far to say that “God Bless” and “In God We Trust” should be taken off of everything. Maybe it should, but it simply will never happen or at least take a very long time to happen. The United States is a self-centered country, but isn’t every country as self centered or even more self-centered? I understand your points and respect them, but they’re not good enough to actually get them to stop playing the song. We’ll all just have to deal with hearing it…

  • http://www.filmjabber.com Erik Samdahl

    Hi Luke,

    Thanks for the comment. The “God Bless” part really has little to do with it; since I’m an atheist, it does become an easy arguing point. I have no problem with “In God We Trust” on our money and so on and so forth; my main issue is that MLB added this song within the last decade when they should be promoting the unity of so many countries that come together to make the MLB what it is. If “God Bless America” had been around as a baseball mainstay since the Cubs last won the World Series, I’d have no problem with it; but they added it recently with seemingly little regard for people of other nations/religion/etc.

  • anon

    I agree. I miss the old days when the only song played during he 7th inning stretch was ‘take me out to the ball game’. One could argue this isn’t simply a Christian nation, but a nation of many different people, so presuming that most people want to hear ‘God Bless America’ is kind of silly. You can’t have unity without exclusion, think about it…

  • David

    I know that an atheist or agnostic mind cannot comprehend this, but without “God Blessing America”, you would not have the opportunity to debate this issue, or to even attend a professional baseball game. Sorry to all of you “liberated” folks out there.

  • Deymond Lashley

    Patriotism is a little self-centered, and pre-globalization. I’m not saying the author is anti-American, but I would suggest that they examine what it means to them to be an American.

    Patriotism means that I’m an American not just because I was born here or because it’s a good place to get a job, but because I love this country and what it means to me, and because I choose to be here (and not Canada, Israel, Sweden, etc).

    I hate to burst the post-modern bubble, but patriotic people don’t love every country equally. The song “God Bless America” is not about screwing all the other countries; it’s merely a bold declaration that the United States is a little more important than those other countries to (most of) the people living here. That may not be PC, but it is reality.

    As for the religious overtones, I think you’ve overlooked your own bias. The idea that the song makes you think specifically of Christianity is your own choice. I wouldn’t expect a liberal to be so narrow-minded. Furthermore, you say that Christians shouldn’t impose their song on Muslims and Hindus (I guess sticking up for Jews is no longer PC), while conveniently proposing a solution that provides a perfect solution for athiests and athiests alone.

  • Skip

    So, you’r problem is the allusion to God? Banning God from the public square equally offends me. Standoff. Besides, a ballpark is not a public square.

  • Reality

    Can I take batting practice during your church sermons? What God is blessing the USA anyways??? The oil thieving God of death?

  • http://www.filmjabber.com Erik Samdahl

    Hi everyone, thanks for your comments (and keeping them respectable, too). @David, you’re right, as an atheist I don’t really comprehend the statement. I believe if there is a God, he created the universe billions of years ago, but has not blessed any individual nation, world, solar system, etc. But thanks for the feedback nonetheless.

    @Deymond, you raise some good points. Time Magazine just did an interesting article on patriotism and how liberals and conservatives take a different view of the word and where they need to find compromise. Your comments reflect some of those compromises. I’m patriotic by your definition; I do love this country and think it’s more important than others; as for viewing the song as Christian because I’m an atheist, perhaps that is a valid reason – at the same time, I don’t really have issue with the song outside of MLB games (though now that I hear it so often, I do get rather sick of hearing it so often) – to me, the song was put in place as a marketing move to pander to certain sentiments. Again, that’s fine, but that was seven years ago. Isn’t the national anthem, or the game of baseball in and of itself, enough to satisfy Americanism? Ultimately, this has nothing to do with patriotism or atheism or religion; I simply want baseball back how it was.
    @Skip – I don’t care about allusions to God one way or the other, and I never said to ban God from public places. But God Bless America is a shortsided song that doesn’t embrace what MLB means to so many countries.
    @Reality and Anon – thanks for sticking up for me!

  • http://blogs.pioneerlocal.com/religion Brett

    I didn’t realize it was played at every game now. You’re right about keeping old traditions but why start new ones that might offend nonChristians. Given that, should Major League Baseball allow worship services by an Evangelical Christian group in its clubhouses? (http://blogs.pioneerlocal.com/religion)

  • http://www.filmjabber.com Erik Samdahl

    Hi Brett, now they only play it sometimes; I don’t think there’s any specific pattern, though I’m guessing it’s played more on the weekends.

    As for MLB allowing worship services, I don’t know. I always wonder with sports stars how many of them are actually religious. Josh Hamilton praised Jesus repeatedly for his Home Run Derby showing; but I can’t think everyone is religious on the team.

  • dukie

    Skip, a ball park is if it is owned by a state or local government body. Ironically, there isn’t anything remotely P.C. about this supposedly P.C. positon. Throughout the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries, proud and patriotic overwhelmingly christian Americans took the seperation of church and state very seriously, and viewed a muddling of religion and patriotism as a sin and unchristian.

    I personally like standing up and stretching during the seventh inning on Sundays. Unfortunately, I now have to wait until after this unamerican song is finished playing, as I do not sin against my God by debasing him with nationalistic references, or violate my Constitution with a cooersed tribute to God on state land. Now there is unneccessary tension between myself and my fellow baseball fans that surround me, as many may construe my refusal to participate as hostility agianst my country that I love, and my God whom I love more. The culture war has now invaded the ball park. grrrreeeeeaaaattt. Good job honoring America and God.

  • angryman1n

    Okay, so you have issues based on the pronoun “god,” but aren’t instead worried about all the little kids that will grow up not knowing the “Star Spangled Banner” is our REAL national anthem????

    That is my fear. The miseducation of all those “Little Timmys.”

  • Jim

    I recall reading that even Irving Berin hated the song. And Woody Guthrie, whom I consider the greatest American of all time, really hated it.

    I hate hearing it at baseball games, or any public event. Let me explain how offensive it is to me: if you are a Christian, and you substituted “one nation under god” with “one nation under no god,” or “god bless America” with “satan bless America”, and that offends you, well that’s about how I feel. It’s the same thing.

    For me it’s the last straw, after parking and ticket/concession prices. I will not attend another MLB game until this tradition dies. Which may be never. Which is just as well, as the Ms suck and will for the foreseeable future, and my former hometown team the Phillies are in the World Series. Go figure. If the Phils win the series, maybe I’m done with major leauge baseball.

  • http://www.filmjabber.com Erik Samdahl

    Hi Jim, well said (especially about the Ms). I’m confused, though… So you won’t watch baseball anymore if your former hometown team wins the Series?

  • http://www.filmjabber.com Erik Samdahl

    @angryman1n, also good point. Don’t confuse kids with a false national anthem!

  • Reality

    It’s the 7th INNING STRETCH. Your suppose to STRETCH, get up, walk around, go to the bathroom. Now they force you to listen to their Christian Indoctrination. Completely ANTI-AMERICAN.
    You’d expect something like that from Saudi Arabia, not the USA.

  • http://www.filmjabber.com Erik Samdahl

    Well said Reality.

  • chris

    I think if America is to start banning anything, we should begin with the likes of you. God Bless America!!!

  • BigIslandDave

    This treacly song should be banned from ballparks immediately. Not only is it annoying, it’s offensive to atheists, agnostics and freethinkers. It’s imposing religion on a captive audience in a public setting. The nonsecular “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” is the traditional ditty sung in the seventh inning; let’s leave it at that.

  • http://www.peaceisactive.com Nathan Andover

    I did a search and found this post because I also don’t want to be forced to participate in a religious/political loyalty pledge/ritual when I just want to watch some baseball.

    I’m also not a fan of flag lapel pins being a requirement for politicians.

    P.S. I love America.

  • http://www.filmjabber.com Erik Samdahl

    Hi Nathan – I agree – why should politicians feel obliged to where flag label pins? Isn’t the fact that they’re devoting their careers to public service enough to tell us that they love their country?

  • joe

    Yes! As a protest to God Bless America, Woody Guthrie wrote “This Land is Your Land” (prev known as “Did God Bless America for me?) Not only is this offensive to atheists and agnostics, but it is extremely nationalistic in nature. To think God would bless one country of the other is dangerous. To think that we are blessed when so many people in this country are so self-centered and only thinking of themselves and their own pocketbooks. We have so many homeless, poor, uninsured, p*ssed on, I fail to see how God is blessing America in that respect.

  • http://shutyoureverlovingpiehole.wordpress.com Robin

    @Luke: America may have lots of Christians living in it, but it is most assuredly NOT a Christian nation. The Constitution is deliberately a secular document. There is no mention of Jesus Christ in it. The New Testament is not the law of the land, and with good reason. The Founding Fathers knew very well where to find the Bible if they wanted to install it as the law of the land. They wrote a secular document instead. They knew the damage a theocracy could do to society, and were trying to get away from one. And don’t give me the argument about all the Founding Father being Christian. First of all, they weren’t (most self-identified as Deists); and second, they were wise enough to know they weren’t just creating a fantasy playground only for people like them, but rather an enduring institution for all their progeny, for all time. The argument that America must be a Christian nation, and by the way a white Aryan nation, is repeatedly advanced by white supremacists like Jeff Berry and the late Richard Butler. And it’s completely off base.

    I suggest you also read the text of George Washington’s letter to the congregants of Newport Synagogue.

    The decision to play this song when and where it is played was the act of a single autocrat, Bud Selig. Just because he is Jewish doesn’t make it right, or better. If anything, it’s worse. Stadiums are not churches. In fact, some of them are public property, which means being forced to hear this song is being forced to swallow someone else’s religion in a public setting. Most importantly, this kind of blind meaningless patriotism is exactly the reason the rest of the world hates us.

    “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carry a cross.” –Sinclair Lewish

  • Danielle Clavettee

    You’re pathetic, if you don’t like it move to another country. And if a terrorist can leave a car full of bombs in the middle of time squaure I’m sure they can find a way onto a plane so when they make you take off your shoes just do it! It’s for you’re safety. UGH Liberals!!!!

  • http://www.filmjabber.com Erik Samdahl

    Hi Danielle, separation of church and state and liberties are some of what define this country. Attempting to blur those lines is unpatriotic to the core.

    Erik

  • http://www.fenwayfaithful.com Christine

    Erik, I agree with you completely. It annoys me when I’m at a game and they DEMAND that we stand and remove hats for that song. IT IS NOT THE NATIONAL ANTHEM, for crying out loud!

    Most of the minor league parks we go to have done away with this, but some have not. I wish it would be done away with completely!

  • Jim

    I totally agree that this stupid song should be banned. I don’t appreciate having god shoved in my face and am appalled by the MORONS who say this is a christian nation. It is a secular nation, clearly spelled out in our Constitution. Asking people to take off their hats and having the officials stand with their hands over their hearts on the infield during God Bless America is an insult to our national anthem. Can’t sing the real anthem, boo hoo! I will never show any form of respect for this stupid showtune.

  • runawayuniverse

    Just stumbled across this searching around for the reason why they started this nonsense and I agree 100% with everything you posted here.

    I mute my TV every time they start with this junk.

  • dave

    I actually stopped going to games because of this (and the stupid monster TV’s in the outfield).

  • Jack

    I think it is great that those who do not want to hear the song can stay home or mute their tv when at home. MLB pays rent for those parks that are public and in no way imply the government entity is promoting God. But, read the entire history of the founding father’s faith base development of this country’s laws.. and read the entire 1ST amendment especially the restrict clause. It is not one man that likes the “new tradition” look around the stadiums, there are many that like it. Why all the talk about concern over kids being confused about the National anthem. I have never heard any one announce that and The Star Spangled Banner is alway sung or played before games. Just keep telling that to the kids. Traditions can change… but God does not, whether He is recognized for his blessings or not. Have a blessed playoff season and Go Giants!!

  • Buttsy

    My biggest problem with it is with the sheep putting it on equal footing with the National Anthem. I refuse to stand for GBA and this 22-yr vet can feel the eyes trying to burn me. The longer this continues, the odds increase it will stick around as long as the game itself. The right-wing nuts will never let it stop.

  • http://mikeadamsphotos.com Mike

    Great article.

    I turn my tv off when it’s stretch time. Great time to use the bathroom. I refuse to go to baseball games while they do this.

  • Mac

    I don’t believe in a Christian God, but I take no offense to public references to God. I’ll even participate in a few rituals – like the saying of graca at a friends house – because I respect their right to believe as they do. But like the some others, I just hate the song because I hate the melody, and I too wish to never hear it again. Play something I like, like Amazing Grace.

  • Dave

    Is there any petition I can sign to get this horrible, execrable song removed from Major League ballparks? The National Anthem at the beginning of the game is enough. Leave the seventh inning to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

  • Pat

    In the song God Bless America…God doesn’t necessarily have to be considered Christian. God=Allah=Yahweh(different names same God)Judaism, Islam and Christianity are all monotheistic therefore it can relate to any of those religions. The only problem who I think may have a problem with it are atheists and those who are polytheistic.

  • http://www.filmjabber.com Erik Samdahl

    Hi Pat, that’s a very good and valid argument. In fact, the song was written by a Jewish man in 1918. That being said, I’m not convinced that the term “God” as it is read today in this song is seen as extending to other religions, even though I agree that most major religions are referencing the same deity.

    But my biggest issue with the song has less to do with religion and more to do with the self-centered focus on the U.S., when baseball is such an international sport.

  • Denise

    I concur! I don’t even care that the lyrics are trite or allude to God–I just HATE the tune! I could hear “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” for every game of the season, but “God Bless America” has got to go. Sorry Irving Berlin.

  • http://Na.com Eric

    I agree 100%. Great writeup. I was wondering why they sing this at the 7th inning. It is nauseating.

  • kyle

    I was Raised Christian, eventfully educated my way to atheist and found a true love and passion for life and science. There is no religious in my life, but like many atheists I accept people for what they choose to be (or at least try hard to)

    I firmly believe 911 is more than meets the eye full of cover-up and corruption. The choke-hold on our civil liberties has gotten tighter and tighter and I’m tired of the god associations our country still makes when clearly we’re supposed to be a nation of all religions (majority Christian or not) . There is nothing wrong with the song, but its introduction to MLB epitomizes what is wrong with our country – which is to say we are blind with our patriotism and naive to think that super natural being would serve us more than anyone else. Our government used that weakness as a catalyst for two wars, think about it! I can’t stand that song in the content of post 911 wake.

    The ironic part is that is was written by a Jewish song writer who was patronized by Christians for writing it for it until it was later made popular by Kate Smith. That just shows how dumb people can be in this country.

  • Wizard

    The U.S. is NOT a Christian nation, so forget that argument.
    I’m just happy that GBA is slowly fading out of MLB. But there are still a few parks that do it every game.
    They need to STOP IT…

  • Craig

    I just went to a Memorial Day weekend game at Dodger stadium and along with all of the patriotism for supporting the troops et al, they played the “God Bless America” tune during the 7th inning stretch. Being a firm believer in the first amendment, I can understand that this particular song has a “right” to be played at any ballpark. I do, however, have a bit of a problem with it.

    I, too, am an Atheist and find the song to be a bit over its moment in relation to Baseball’s use of it since the tragedy of 9-11. I have been a long time fan of baseball and can remember watching Nolan Ryan pitch in Anaheim, and when I think upon those fine days of baseball, I can’t ever recall the song being sung at any ballpark. Today, however, I not only am forced to listen to “God Bless America” during what should only be “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, but I am continually reminded about religion when the players make religious gestures and then blow kisses to the heavens above. Religion has somehow ‘eeked’ its way into the national pastime and I don’t believe that it necessarily needs to be there. This is a game that represents America and America provides for the freedom of religion, but it would seem a tad inappropriate to drop to one’s knees, face towards Mecca and begin your prayer’s while shopping in a Wal-Mart… So, why has religion been deemed suitable in a ballpark of all places? Just play the game… go home and then pray and pay respects to your God. It seems reasonable enough to me.

  • Chris

    People like you are what is wrong with America. I suppose everyone has to stoop down to your level. You kind of people are the ones who want to take “In God we Trust off our money” “One Nation Under God” out of our pledge. A proven fact, MOST people do believe in God, 95% of the Americans are Christian, only about 7-10% are officially atheist. That is not going to pull enough weight to stop people from singing “God bless America” in ballparks. Instead of griping about things that in the end are actually very minimal, atheists feel the need to express their beliefs about the smallest of things. What people fail to realize is when this country was established, the Forefathers were deeply religious God was a way of life. To not believe in God wasn’t very common in those days. You want to talk about tradition? God was in our tradition, God was what influenced those forefathers. There is a bigger Jewish and Islamic population in the US and in the World for that matter than an atheist population. Until then, the world is not going to worry about satisfying those small amount of people when the majority believes in God. Atheists are a minority and I am not saying anyone should treat them differently. I am just saying they should keep to themselves and not try to change everything with “God” in it just because they don’t agree with it.

  • Evan

    Chris: You might want to read up on the forefathers. They were not “deeply religious”. Most of them were Deists, and the Constitution was written as a secular document *on purpose*. Atheism is a minority group but it is the government’s job to protect minority groups, especially when they exercise their right to find such ridiculous songs to be offensive. The constitution was written the way it is so that it can protect all the people of America equally. Atheism will not be suppressed by a majority.

  • drifter

    It is Nationalistic theme forced down my throat every time I watch a baseball game. Nationalism is not a good thing, leading to adherence to any philosophy, law, or policy blindly followed by the masses for the simple reason, because “they say so.”

    As a veteran I did my duty and put my life on line for the USA citizens, and these rich cats that are forcing me to listen to this every time I watch a ball game. I am fine with the Anthem but this song is just a beat down to a Nationalistic mentality that encompasses one of the largest attacks on our civil liberties by our government. “If you are not with us you are against us”, very dangerous way if thinking.

    This song being replayed repeatedly lends itself nicely to, to an ever increasing police state and lack of civility induced upon the citizenry by the state, “for our own good.” The terrorist threat is just as much from within than abroad, and it comes from the state as much as it comes from foreign entities.

    at Chris; You are attempting to link American liberties and freedom of choice with what is wrong with America. You just don’t get it and that herein lies the problem.  The writer uses his freedom of speech and you attack him, hilarious. You don’t see the paradox do you?

    To the writer, thanks for writing the article, I was wondering if I was the only that was sick and tired of it.

  • staminga

    I keep seeing these kinds of posts, but nobody mentions what to do about it. We are all so disorganized. Is their any way to action against this?

  • vinnie57

    I am a veteran also. If you don’t like it don’t go or listen, you sob. Get the he’ll out of America go to a communist country or a Muslim country. See how you fare in those countries see what kind of freedom of speech you enjoy there.

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