WASHINGTON, June 12, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A conservative legal group is demanding that a New York City school officials and Mayor Michael Bloomberg reverse a decision banning “God Bless the USA” at a kindergarten graduation ceremony, because they deemed it potentially offensive to other cultures.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) today sent a letter to New York school officials – including Mayor Michael Bloomberg – urging that the ban be reversed.
Principal Greta Hawkins of P.S. 90 in Brooklyn reportedly pulled Lee Greenwood’s patriotic ballad from the June 20 graduation program saying the song is not “age appropriate” and could end up “offending other cultures.”
The ban caught national attention after the New York Post reported that while the patriotic song was banned, the children would be hearing Justin Bieber’s teenage romance ballad “Baby.” In a press conference Monday, Bloomberg announced that the Bieber song would also be nixed from the program.
The decision drew outrage from Congressman Michael Grimm (R-NY), who condemned the “anti-American message,” and from singer Greenwood himself. “I’ve been singing my song for 30 years. I sing it everywhere — Carnegie Hall, grammar schools,” Greenwood told The Post. “To say it’s inappropriate for a 5-year-old is absolutely ridiculous.”
Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ, called the school’s decision against the patriotic song “not only ridiculous, but offensive to the many parents and students in the school who want to express their patriotism at the graduation ceremony.”
“In less than one day, we have heard from many concerned Americans – including New York City residents – who find this decision deeply troubling. It appears this principal doesn’t mind punishing patriotism for the sake of political correctness.”
The ACLJ letter, posted here, argues that “a student performance of ‘God Bless the USA’ at a graduation ceremony is no different than a teacher leading students in a voluntarily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Both are secular activities permissible in public schools, and both serve the important purpose of furthering the principles of patriotism and self-sacrifice in a group setting.”
The letter was sent today to Superintendent Isabel DiMola of CEC District 21, as well as Mayor Bloomberg, Chancellor Dennis Walcott, and Principal Hawkins.
Within hours, more than one thousand people have expressed their support for “God Bless the USA” at a petition launched on the ACLJ website.