A semi-professional soccer team in Oklahoma will no longer play the national anthem before matches. Instead – the Tulsa Athletic will play Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.”

The Athletics are part of the National Premier Soccer League. The team says they dropped The Star Spangled Banner to create a more inclusive environment.

“From our beginning, we have developed a culture of inclusion and acceptance at Tulsa Athletic,” team owner Sonny Dalesandro said in the press release. “We live in a country that allows us to freely speak our voice. We utilize this right as a club to continually try and improve our team and community. We believe ‘This Land Is Your Land’ not only captures a powerful patriotic sentiment, but that it does so in a far more inclusive way. The song speaks to this country being built and shared by every person of every race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. It represents a future Tulsa Athletic is committed to striving for.”

It’s an interesting decision – because Woody Guthrie was reportedly a vocal supporter of Communism and was sympathetic to their causes. NPR claims that “This Land is Your Land” was written as a Marxist response to “God Bless America.”

“He was irritated by Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” sung by Kate Smith, which seemed to be endlessly playing on the radio in the late 1930s,” NPR reported in 2012. So irritated, in fact, that he wrote this song as a retort, at first sarcastically calling it “God Blessed America for Me” before renaming it “This Land Is Your Land.”

Audio Via: Todd Starnes


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