Vermont Methodist Church Changes ‘God Bless The USA’ To ‘God Forgive The USA’

Joshua Gill | Religion Reporter

The music minister of a Vermont church changed the lyrics of “God Bless The U.S.A.,” asking God’s forgiveness Sunday for a litany of America’s sins.

Adam Hall, minister of music for First United Methodist Church in Burlington, Vermont, sang his altered version of Lee Greenwood’s 1984 song “God Bless the U.S.A.,” which he re-titled as “God Forgive The U.S.A.,” during service on Sunday, according to The Washington Post. Instead of thanking God for America, Hall changed the lyrics to ask God’s forgiveness for the separation of migrant families at the border, the conquering of Native Americans, and the internment of Japanese Americans, among other events.

“It takes the original song’s bravado and bluster and turns it into humility and reflection, but not in a disrespectful way, I hope,” Hall said, according to WaPo.

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Hall said that he was “inspired by a power greater than myself, so I scrapped the anthem I had planned and created this new version.”

Hall’s parody of “God Bless The U.S.A.” garnered praise from the congregation and from several other churches, some of whom have asked for a copy of the lyrics. The song proved to be divisive, however, as many churchgoers and some of those who watched online expressed offense at the song, especially in the comments sections on the video’s social media posts, claiming that it was disrespectful toward the U.S. and promoted a particular political agenda.

“A hymn to white guilt,” wrote one YouTube user. “When did Methodists get so dumb?”

One Facebook user commented in sarcasm, “Making Disciples of popular culture for the transformation of the Church… way to go!”

“That is why my father left the Methodist church–politics, politics and more politics. Maybe this dude could start his own apology tour,” wrote another Facebook viewer.

Hall acknowledged the divided reaction to his lyrics, but said that he hoped it would inspire Christians to engage in corporate confession.

“Some are very offended by the song, and others feel it expresses how they are feeling today,” Hall said, according to WaPo.

“What I hope people take away from the song is our need for corporate confession and forgiveness, but also the deep love and respect for our country that is also expressed,” he added.

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