Religious song sung no more at California school (July 10, 2013)

Action by the Freedom From Religion Foundation ended a public school’s promotion of a religious song.

An elementary school in Rancho Cordova promoted the song “America” as their song of the month late last year. The song includes several appeals to the Christian god, including in the final verse:

“Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.
Our fathers’ God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom’s holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.”

FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel contacted Folsom Cordova Unified School District Superintendent Deborah Bettencourt in a January 8 letter asking her not to promote songs in public schools that endorse religion.

“The endorsement of the messages in this song — that god grants freedom, protects us, and is ‘Great God our King’ — by a public school amounts to a declaration of religious orthodoxy.”

Bettencourt responded in a perfunctory July 10 email that the song has not been used since the district received FFRF’s letter.

Freedom From Religion Foundation