Dear every conservative getting his underwear in a twist about that Coca Cola Super Bowl commerical in which not only was the “deeply Christian patriotic anthem” sung in something other than the English that Jesus spoke, but also featured a gay couple being happy with their kid:
Dudes, you’re aware that Katharine Lee Bates, the writer of the song, was almost certainly a lesbian, right? And while undoubtedly Christian, Bates used her faith as a foundation for progressive social activism that would have given the conservatives of her time, and possibly some conservatives now, the shudders and shakes (she also nearly resigned her professorship at Wellesley when the school thought to force its faculty to profess their fealty to the Christian faith).
Bates was a pacifist with the dream of uniting people “from the Pacific to the Atlantic, around the other way… and that will include all the nations and all the people, from sea to shining sea.” Which is to say that it’s an excellent bet that Bates would be delighted to hear her song sung in as many different languages by as many different sorts of people as possible.
And as for the idea that “unity” requires all people to be the same and adhere to the same top-down political and social orthodoxy, there’s this useful quote:
In 1910, when a colleague described “free-flying spinsters” as “fringe on the garment of life”, Bates answered: “I always thought the fringe had the best of it. I don’t think I mind not being woven in.”
In their outrage about “America the Beautiful” being hijacked to represent something it does not, conservatives are perhaps missing the irony that the song has been hijacked at least once before, by them. Perhaps they’re just mad that someone had the temerity to hijack it back. I don’t think it’s entirely out of the realm of possibility that Ms. Bates would be amused by that.