September 11, 2001 brought a new “tradition” in Major League Baseball. During the 7th inning stretch, someone sings “God Bless America”. I don’t have any particular issue with the song or teams including it in the festivities. It’s a private event and I know it’s included going in, so even though it’s patriotism that’s more than a bit forced, whatever. There’s no mandate to sing.
Tonight, however, I got peeved. I went to RFK Stadium to watch the Phillies
play lose to the Nationals. In the middle of the 7th, I remembered what was coming. Fine, it’s the Nationals, so I’m not interested in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” anyway. But I’m on the 3rd base side close to the Nationals dugout. This is what I see:
The man singing “God Bless America” is a Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force. I know because I could read it on the Jumbotron. Also, he is wearing a United States Air Force uniform. And singing “God Bless America”.
I don’t think I’m being too picky when I cite the Establishment Clause and how inappropriate this is. Only Justice Scalia could find this anything but an unequivocal co-mingling of the United States government and a specific religion. No, the government isn’t making any law, but the uniform implies an endorsement. That is unacceptable. I was not happy and I intend to contact the Nationals to let them know.
My question for you: am I overreacting?