The Star-Spangled Banner

by MJSmith

            Recently there has been debate over the fact that certain football players have refused to stand for the National Anthem.  I am not going to comment upon this topic, whether it is unpatriotic or patriotic.  What I am going to comment upon is the fact that perhaps our National Anthem should be changed.  It has been less than 100 years since “The Star-Spangled Banner” became the United States’ National Anthem.  What most Americans may not know today is that there were many people who did not like Key’s poem for the song because of the words he used.  One such person was Augusta E. Stetson, student of Mary Baker Eddy.  In one place she comments:

            As the result of my recent appearance before a representative of the City of New York, Deputy Commissioner of Accounts, Wood D. Loudoun, to give my testimony regarding my opposition to the sentiments expressed in Francis Scott Key’s poem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” I have received a large number of letters and inquiries, many expressing gratitude for my resistance to the evil suggestions of hatred, revenge, and the continued contemplation of the horrors of war, with its “rockets’ red glare,” “bombs bursting in air,” “the gloom of the grave,” and “their foul footsteps’ pollution,” the mental and audible expression of which has perpetuated war, until the evil elements, or thoughts, which compose the so-called material man, culminated in the war of 1914-1918.  Mortals are to-day suffering from the dire effects of hatred of their brother man.
            Other letters, which I have received, evidently from writers who entertained these warring elements of the carnal man, are in bitter opposition to my plea for the brotherhood of man, and they inquire why I spent $16,000 of my resources to advertise my resistance to the words of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which they seem to think expresses the sentiments of Americans.  God forbid that America, or any nation should ever be ruled by qualities of the carnal mind, which have governed Europe, and have resulted in her present ruin and devastation. (SERMONS Which Spiritually Interpret the Scriptures AND OTHE WRITINGS on Christian Science – IN DEFENSE OF THE BIBLE, p. 1036; by Augusta E. Stetson, C.S.D.)

            Today Americans think very little about the words and what they mean, they just assume that there was no objection to the use of the poem and give it little thought.  I know that I never really thought much about the message of the song; I just sang it, thinking that the melody was pretty, and I enjoyed singing it.  Should we, as a country, stand for words that promote war, violence, and hatred?  Maybe it is time to think about changing our National Anthem?  I don’t know.  I just thought I should put the idea out there and let people think about it.  Perhaps we could make “God Bless America” our National Anthem?