Choir Chastised for Singing National Anthem in US Capitol!

Alabama youth choir gets hand slapped for impromptu rendition of the national anthem.

Via WSFA:  Montgomery choir chastised for singing national anthem in U.S. Capitol

Most Americans would agree that singing the national anthem is a symbol of patriotism, but what could possibly be the problem with singing it in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol?

A Montgomery, Ala. church choir found out the hard way during a trip to the nation’s capital.

The youth choir at Frazer United Methodist Church was on its way to a mission trip in New York when students and their chaperons decided to take a quick stop in Washington, D.C. for a tour.

While in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol building, the students broke out in song and shared the national anthem with other tourists viewing the historic building.

Security, then told the the students it was against the law to sing without a permit in the building, and that if they sang again they would be asked to leave.

Here’s the deal:  while the emphasis here is on the “Oh my gosh!  How can anyone object to singing the national anthem at the US Capitol?!” the real emphasis should be on “it [is] against the law to sing without a permit in the building.”

The purpose of said law is, at a minimum, to allow visitors and workers in the building to enjoy their visit/work in relative peace.  What would it be like if anyone could decide to sing in the building whenever they wanted?  This would hardly be conducive to the general public being able to enjoy visiting the Capitol.  For goodness sake, what if Roseanne Barr decided she wanted to since the national anthem in the rotunda?

James Joyner noted a similar story last year at the Lincoln Memorial:  Singing National Anthem Illegal?! and had a similar reaction:

If the Park Police allowed YAF kids to sing the Star Spangled Banner, they’d pretty much have to allow anyone to sing or say anything.   And the Memorial would be a cacophony of protesters rather than a national treasure.

Indeed.

FILED UNDER: US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Boyd says:

    Not to mention that, upon hearing a choir singing the National Anthem, one should stop, cover one’s heart with the right hand, and face a US flag, if visible, or the source of the music if not, until the completion of the song.

    I get the “time, manner and place” stuff, but I still don’t have to like it!

  2. CourageMan says:

    “If the Park Police allowed YAF kids to sing the Star Spangled Banner, they’d pretty much have to allow anyone to sing or say anything.”

    And that’s the problem in a nutshell — the absurd belief that TPM restrictions and other forms of censorship should be (or can ever be) content-neutral.

  3. Bleev K says:

    Slow news day…

  4. Tano says:

    the absurd belief that TPM restrictions and other forms of censorship should be (or can ever be) content-neutral.

    Its called the equal application of the laws, and is a fundamental principle, not an absurdity.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    Courageman, I think your comment pre-supposes that people with the same values as you will choose what is “good” content and what is “bad”. My own philosophy is that it is best to keep the government out of those decisions as much as is practical.

  6. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Well, if it had been a flag-burning group then the Internet left would be OK with it, regardless whether the proper permitting were in place. The irony of course is that Internet leftists would not be able even to grasp that irony.

    That said, as for this particular item, it’s really much ado about nothing. The adults in charge of the choir group should have been more aware of their surroundings. The Capitol security people temporarily should have flicked on their common sense switches and been more lenient. In any event the rest of us should not blow gaskets about it.

  7. michael reynolds says:

    I love the way Tsar argues with straw men of his own imagination. So much easier to win that way.

  8. Doubter says:

    Michael – Exactly. I looked at that comment and was WTF?
    Do people not thing making comments like that just not see that it makes them look like an ass?
    It’s frustrating – and if one is trolling at least do it well.