Americans have just celebrated Independence Day, which leads Etiquetteer, albeit belatedly, to issue the annual call to include the singing of the National Anthem at the Religious Service of Your Choice closest to the Fourth of July. Because the United States of America remains a country that offers Freedom of Religion, Etiquetteer continues to believe that including the National Anthem (which has been "The Star-Spangled Banner" by Act of Congress since March 3, 1931) is a necessary Gesture of Gratitude for the said. Peacemongers who would banish it because they reject images of war in a House of Worship have no recourse but to sing "America the Beautiful" afterward AND to lobby Congress to change the National Anthem. And if you don't like that, as Etiquetteer has suggested before, you may close your eyes and think of England.
With strongly held feelings like that, readers will not be surprised at Etiquetteer's outrage over Colorado singer Rene Marie's liberties with the National Anthem last week. Invited by the mayor of Denver to sing the National Anthem at his annual State of the City address, Ms. Marie substituted the lyrics of "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" instead, generally acknowledged to be the "black" national anthem. If Ms. Marie insists on singing her own version of the National Anthem, she may do so at her own concerts, not when invited by a civic body to open a public forum. Etiquetteer is inclined to agree with Denver major John Hickenlooper, who was quoted in the Los Angeles Times saying "We all respect artistic license and support freedom of expression. But in a tradition-laden civic ceremony . . . making a personal substitution for the national anthem was not an option. We asked for 'The Star-Spangled Banner' and that's what we expected."
The Los Angeles Times has covered the story here:
At least Ms. Marie didn't grab her crotch the way crass and inexplicably popular comedienne Roseanne Barr did in 1990 when invited to sing the National Anthem at a San Diego baseball game.