Kindergarten students at a New York City elementary school were banned from performing the song “God Bless the USA” at their graduation ceremony.
PS 90 principal Greta Hawkins said the song was not age appropriate and could end up “offending other cultures.”
But the song’s author, country music artist Lee Greenwood, said that as a man of faith he was offended by the principal’s decision.
“I wrote ‘God Bless the USA’ about the love I have for this country and the struggle we have gone through to remain free. Our country was founded on the principle that it welcomes people of all cultures and gives them the same rights we have as citizens,” he said.
“However, I feel compelled to echo the faith of our forefathers, who all believed in God and a respect of a higher authority,” he added.
“Personally, denying the children of PS 90 to sing ‘God Bless the USA’ offends me as a Christian,” he said. “My song is about hope, faith, spirit and pride. How could that be wrong on any level?”
Meanwhile, the American Center for Law and Justice is working to have the song ban reversed, saying banning the song tramples First Amendment free speech rights.
More than 23,000 people signed a petition in favor of the song being performed.
The petition, along with a letter from the ACLJ, was sent to the school superintendent, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and several other school officials.
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