Gersh Kuntzman is a reporter that has gained some media attention recently and is calling for the retirement of the patriotic song “God Bless America” from Major League Baseball games.
According to Kuntzman’s article for the New York Daily News, Major League Baseball “ordered all teams to play the patriotic jingle” following the 9/11 attacks in 2001. It is played during the Seventh Inning Stretch, after “Take Me Out To The Ball Game”.
After 15 years, Kuntzman believes it’s time to end this tradition, especially since the stadiums ask for patrons to stand and remove their hats while the song is played.
There have been instances where fans who refused to stand were removed from the facility, which has ultimately ended in several lawsuits.
In Kuntzman’s eyes, the song has become over played and unnecessary. In a poll conducted by Sheryl Kaskowitz for her book God Bless America: The Surprising History of an Iconic Song, she finds out a few surprising statistics.
“God Bless America” was originally written by legendary songwriter Irving Berlin in 1918. He later revised it in 1938 for singer Kate Smith, and it went on to become the popular song it is today.
Kuntzman admits that his outrage is mainly due to the “Mussolini-esque introduction of the song, when fans are asked to rise, remove their caps and place them over their hearts.”
“Reality check, friends: “God Bless America” is not the National Anthem,” he writes. “The only songs Americans should stand for are ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ and ‘Here Comes the Bride.'”
His frustration is also caused by the meaning of the song.
“The song still embodies great things about America. But also our worst things: self-righteousness, forced piety, earnest self-reverence, foam,” he says.
He is not alone in his campaign to ban “God Bless America”. A café owner in Penfield, New York has been asked repeatedly to remove the banner outside her establishment that reads, “God Bless America”.
Although her town has a strict rule about how often you can hang banners outside, and she had gone over her limit, after the Orlando shooting, she decided to hang her banner outside.
She has been asked to remove it several times and has been fined. The owner, Jennifer Aquino, believes she can hang the sign because of her First Amendment rights.
Aquino doesn’t understand why authorities are persistent about her taking the banner down, even though it is a patriotic banner and she feels she should be allowed to hang it during the nation’s time of mourning.
Do you agree with Kuntzman? Let us know in the comments below.
Take a listen to Berlin singing “God Bless America” below.