NEW YORK (BP) — 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 altogether from an upcoming concert.
Fox 25 in Boston reported 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 criticizing 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 naturalization ceremonies 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. … ” 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.”
Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard daily on Fox News Radio stations around the nation. He is the author of “Dispatches From Bitter America” and “They Popped My Hood and Found Gravy on the Dipstick.” This article first appeared at www.toddstarnes.com.  Used by permission.