- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 30, 2016

A New York Daily News sports columnist called “God Bless America” a song that “offends everyone” and called the post 9/11 tradition of playing it at baseball games a fascist exercise honoring a god who doesn’t exist.

In a column titled “Major League Baseball must permanently retire ‘God Bless America,’ a song that offends everyone,” columnist Gersh Kuntzman denounced the practice of playing it during the seventh-inning at major-league and other parks along with “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and called the song itself silly.

He compared the patriotic ritual to a fascist rally, saying “Part of my outrage stems from ponderous Mussolini-esque introduction of the song, when fans are asked to rise, remove their caps and place them over their hearts.”

It also embodies “our worst things: self-righteousness, forced piety, earnest self-reverence, foam,” he claimed before launching into a several paragraph litany of everyone it supposedly offends. He cited a poll saying that people who dislike the song constitute only 84 percent of people who are “very liberal” and 21 percent of those who call themselves “very conservative.”

He cited “we atheists,” for obvious reasons; “believers” based on a Green Party member who said “God shows no partiality towards nations”; “foreigners!” over similar claims of divine partiality; “Woody Guthrie!” because “This Land Is Your Land” is a better song in Mr. Kuntzman’s opinion; and “Fans of the actual other National Anthem!” referring to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

Mr. Kuntzman concluded his column, timed to the Independence Day holiday, with a call for irreverence during the song.

“So this July 4, join me at the Church of Baseball by not rising and not doffing your cap for a song that is not the national anthem of a nation that is not uniquely blessed by some deity that doesn’t exist anyway,” he wrote.

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