It’s Out of the Question: God bless a Fourth of July debate about Kate Smith’s favorite song

You ever get a chance to hear the late George Carlin dissect some of the problems he had with the phrase, “God Bless America”? Such as:

“Is that a request? Is that a demand? Is that a suggestion? Does God care any more about America than he does Mongolia, Transylvania, Pittsburgh, the Suez Canal or the North Pole? Why would God have a favorite country? And why would it be America out of all the countries? Because He likes our national anthem?”

== If we may continue that line of questioning, from the mountains to the prairie to the oceans foaming at the mouth: Why is “God Bless America” become a live performance during the seventh inning stretch at all Dodgers’ home sweet home games this season? And during Sunday Angels’ games, as well as those on the Fourth of July and Memorial Day?

Should we have a problem with this?

== No one has forgotten how the New York Yankees and Mets felt it needed to be done in the context of their games after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, but then it kind of was discontinued, and now . . . it’s making some kind of a comeback?

Because? What’s the proper decorum here?

== As far as the pace and rhythm of a game goes, does the extra couple of minutes spent having the song sung, bringing both teams out to the top step of the dugout to remove their caps and acknowledge the singer, kinda sorta maybe change the emotion and flow of the athletic event just a bit?

== Are you among the voices who contend that it’s a bit of a stretch to have it during the seventh inning – it actually kinda cheapens the tone of the song a little, having it right before “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”? Would it not be more meaningful to play it before the contest starts?

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== Did you know that when the New York Yankees do it, there’s a rule in place that prohibits any fan movement during the playing of “God Bless America”? And that last season, one person (Bradford Campeau-Laurion, pictured here) who got up from his seat to go to the restroom during the playing of the song was apprehended by a NYPD officer and removed from the stadium? And this past April, that person filed suit against the team and the police, claiming he was the victim of religious and political discrimination, which makes him look all the more un-American by having to go to court to have his civil liberties protected? Doesn’t all that, ironically, seem to devalue our freedom?

== If you knew that Jose Lima would be belting out “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch tonight at the Long Beach Armada minor-league game at Blair Field in Long Beach — and it’s true — would that give you any incentive to attend?

== If you’re one of the fans free to express his or her right not to sing along, are you OK if the person next to you is belting it very loudly? Even if it’s Kate Smith?

== And don’t you appreciate the fact that in this country, on this weekend, we can actually debate the merits of playing “God Bless America” at a sporting event without getting into some kind of name-calling, spit-slinging, physical confrontation about it? We can, can’t we?

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