Bellingham School Won’t Change ‘God Bless The USA’ Words After Furor

BELLINGHAM (CBS) – A presentation at an elementary school in Bellingham will go on next week following a controversy in which the words of a patriotic song were changed.

Students at Stall Brook Elementary are doing a project on the 50 states and they planned to sing two songs at an assembly April 12. One was to be a tune about the states, and the other was the popular 1984 Lee Greenwood song “God Bless The USA.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mark Katic reports

But someone changed the chorus of Greenwood’s song to “We love the USA” for the assembly.

That didn’t go over well with parents, who complained.

So, school officials decided there would be no singing at the assembly.

Lee Greenwood himself heard about the controversy and issued this statement:

“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.”

Then on Thursday, Superintendent Edward Fleury issued a statement on the school website announcing yet another change.

The songs are back in and and they will sing Greenwood’s song the way it was written.

“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,” Fleury wrote in the letter to parents.

“It’s unfortunate that a small mis-understanding has snowballed to this level,” Bellingham School Committee member Cheryl Gray told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Thursday.

“The Pledge of Allegiance is said daily in our classrooms, so, personally, I see no reason to have changed the lyrics of the song.”

Gray said she does not know why the lyrics were changed in the first place.

  • dms

    What a pathetic bunch of losers. Everybody involved in the initial decision should be relocated to Afghanistan.

  • Bill Riordan

    It’s nice to see that the school committee was forced to fold on this issue. It would have been even better to see them get sued by Lee Greenwood.

  • missy

    ““It’s unfortunate that a small mis-understanding has snowballed to this level,” Bellingham School Committee member Cheryl Gray told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Thursday.”

    She and her comrades make an idiotic decision, people react in a normal way and then she blames everyone else. Nice.

    And yes, they should ALL be relocated to Afghanistan.

  • moterhed

    Bellingham nut less wonders .. God is still here ..watching

    • Richard Chaney

      Thank Allah for that.

  • mary

    I, think………. Lee Greenwood………… should take every one of them to court and sue them who do they think they are…………. really I vote to send them to Afghanistan

  • Dawn Kaplan

    why would you sing a song that you need to change the lyrics to it was written and sung the way it is suppose to be done if you dont like it to bad … i am really tired of hearing this , and good for lee greenwood for speaking on this its his song and lyrics who are you to change them ?

    • JG

      Dawn, I agree 100% with your statement, but can you please use some capitalization and punctuation. Your intelligent post is very difficult to read. Thanks

  • sloppjohnB2

    The Superintendent sounds like a clown. If he wants to be concerned about something, let him worry about his MCAS scores. I am sick and tired of these so called do gooders trying to make the majority suffer because one oddball or two doesn’t like the words. Shame on him. Maybe the school committee should review his contract.

  • Over50Pirate

    Thank you parents for stepping up.

  • oatka

    Gray said she does not know why the lyrics were changed in the first place.

    Well, find that person, grill him/her as to where they get off being a self-appointed censor and tell them they will be fired (if union, they will be “taunted a second time”) and, at a minimum, a reprimand entered into their folder. Unless these people are slapped down, however softly (i.e. you are now being watched) they will continue to pull this crap.

  • Alexis MacLean

    What a black eye for the town

  • Newt

    Its about time they had to fold on their own decision. Always the few that ruin it for the many. God Bless the USA.. And if you don’t like, there is always another country.

  • sean

    I’m glad they changed it back, if you don’t like the USA move. I don’t hear parents complaining that they won’t cash their paychecks for dollars that say God on them. How many of these parents say bless you when someone sneezes? The song doesn’t say the catholic or christian god, it’s just a god whoever you believe in. People need to lighten up and stop being so miserable.

    • JG

      Sean, I don’t think the issue is that they don’t like the USA. The concern was that it would be insensitive to non-religious folks (I know you know that) You are right about “bless you” in sneezing but I don’t think that’s ever meant in a religious way, and neither is this to most. It’s the words in a song. Special to some and not to others.

  • Lou Lange

    I’m glad the School Committee came to its senses.

  • firemanmark

    Maybe the righteous are starting to realize that the Godless Liberals are a minority.It’s high time ALL schools tell the ACLU where to stuff their opinions when it comes to stories like these.If atheists and Socialists don’t like the words God or God Bless in our songs,pledge of allegiance,etc.then they should get out and move to Greece or Yugoslavia or China.There they will be given their opinion.

    • Richard Chaney

      Sorry Chief there are more liberals than conservative in the USA, the cons just whine more.

  • Lil

    Funny, I haven’t heard anyone from the administration wanting to change the fact that they have tomorrow (Good Friday) off!!! UGH, very disappointed in my town right now!

    • JG

      Good point Lil! I personally think it should be a regular day (and I was raised Catholic) If students want or need to take it off they shouldn’t be penalized though.

      • Richard Chaney

        We got holy thursday off too…

  • JG

    These administrators are clueless. First of all, if you choose a song to sing, don’t change the lyrics. Secondly, if you feel you have to change the lyrics, choose a different song! Thirdly, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Bible may be read in school if it is presented as a piece of literature and not in a religious way. The same sort of reasoning should apply to a song such as this that is sung as a patriotic moment, not as a religious moment.

  • MC

    I am more than embarrassed and ashamed that something like this would even go this far. I have been a lifelong resident in Bellingham for 47 years and nothing has been more embarrassing then reading these articles. We have many people in this town (and country) who have given their lives and honor to serve in the military to support what we have today. I cannot believe that “words” can change our belief of reality.
    A song was written by someone who put words to reality and brought truth and tears to all who have listened to it. To change the words of a song to satisfy the few that does not understand the true meaning of our country is. God Bless America and Lee Greenwood for writing and singing a song that means so much too many. It would be an honor to have him come and sing this song on our Memorial Day celebration we have every year to support our veterans, family and friends.

  • massman

    The song should not be sung at the school.

    • firemanmark

      Atheist or Socialist? Obama shouldn’t be warning the Supreme Court but you leftists don’t make a peep when that Godless administration does anything to garner the liberal sheeple favor!

  • Yeahisaidit

    That song is honestly terrible, with or without the assistance of God and if I were the music teacher I would’ve skipped it altogether. Just because we’ve been doing something for years doesn’t make it correct. ——stretch——-> “Slaves were good enough for our forefathers, and slaves were good enough for their forefathers so slaves our children shall have!”

    I’ve never known citizens to come from other countries motivated by blessings from the “Lord”. Usually they come for the promise of the American dream = Money, Homeownership, Freedom….

  • Sonny

    The way I see it, either you believe in God or you don’t. If you do, bless you, if you don’t, keep it to yourself. I believe in the “Freedom” of speech and opinion, but don’t try to force your beliefs, your issues or your ignorance!

    • massman

      The way I see it, if you don’t believe, good for you for not being ignorant, if you do, keep it to yourself.

      • response

        It’s a song, it has nothing to do with what you believe.
        And if you do believe in God, it certainly does not make you ignorant.

      • blackbear1

        massman, you are the ignorant one. Stay with your liberal, leftist friends and continue to try and flush the country down the toilet.

      • Richard Chaney

        Blachbear1, keep out of airport stalls while tapping your toes.

  • Stanley11

    Had they simply chose a different Patriotic song in the first place, this wouldn’t have been an issue. When one starts chaning words to a song, they, in a way, are forcing their own views on everyone else. That’s the real problem here.

    • web

      I do agree with your point, but why are we so afraid to pick a song that might offend someone? We can’t please everyone, it will never what is the point of trying? Go with the majority…and let those who don’t want to say God not say it. Seems simple. We are so aftraid to offend one person, we end up alienating the majority…that’s not right either. We should acknowledge some people will get upset in life, that’s life. Move on.

      • Yeahisaidit

        The majority of the world is NOT Christian. Get over yourselves, seriously. Stop being so Zeus-darned egocentric. Yahweh!

      • web

        YeahIsaidit, the song isn’t sung by the world. Its being sung in Bellingham, so if the majority of the people there want it…let it be…why so defensive?

    • Lil


  • D. Patrick

    I’m sorry to see that the initial decision was overturned. I am going to bring in some big hitters from the ACLU to slap everyone in Bellingham across their face with a lawsuit if they continue to fight this.
    There are three atheist children in that school who are being forced to worship your god through song.
    God has no place in our schools or in the formation of this government.

    You will not stop me. I don’t need your vote. Enjoy my smile!

  • Denise

    I don’t understand these issues where the Masses have to change for the few. If you don’t like your job – you move on – you don’t stay and make everyone go. If you don’t like your neighbors – you move – you don’t and can’t make them move. So w/ school choice – if you don’t like what your kids are taught – why not move them to anotherer school where like minded individuals are …or better yet Home School them. I’m glad I grew up when we were taught diversity and alternate views – not to make everything Vanilla so nobody questions anything or maybe gets offended! There are winners and losers in games and you had good sportsmanship too! I’m glad that I’m on the down side of the hill… I hate to see what this world is going to be like in another 20 years! Scarey…

  • firemanmark

    WBZ,Why am I being stopped from posting comments with a warning that reads “You are posting to fast…slow down”? Why the censorship? I guess all the lamestream media are alike when it comes to conservative opinion!

    • Richard Chaney

      Wow you are brainwashed by Sarah Palin’s lines, what a chumpstain! Obey and repeat the community college dropout with the fake glasses!

      • firemanmark

        I’m just tired of putting up with welfare receipients like you sponging off of the workers. Liberals like you need to get a job!

      • firemanmark

        Your comment makes no sense.”Obey and repeat the c.c. dropout with the fake glasses?” What the heck does that mean? Take another hit of acid Timothy Leary! Go suck up to your hero Nobama and his side-kick Cadill-hack Deval Hat-trick

  • Yeahisaidit

    You should NOT be forced to “MOVE” if you don’t believe in “god” and don’t want your children to be forced to “bless” him (or her, who REALLY knows) in school. Separation of church and state geniuses! FREEDOM is the value this country was founded on NOT JESUS the Jewish Carpenter who died and was reborn and died and was reborn and died and was reborn and flew. C’mon! And you’re right fireman, they censor my comments too. Typical conservative republican “christian” news-source. I say we start blessing Zeus, or Yahweh, or Buddha and see how many of these Wasps get their undergarments in a wad.

    • Stanley11

      WHERE DOES THE SONG SAY JESUS??????????? Think before you say something stupid (aka Liberal).

    • web

      But if you start blessing buddha, one person in Uzbekistan will be offended, or one person in Armenia…so you can’t offend them now, can you?

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