The song attracted both praise and detractors
Adam Hall, the music minister of First United Methodist Church in Vermont, sang an altered version of “God Bless The USA” where he asked for God's forgiveness for a plethora of sins committed by the United States of America. The original song was written by Lee Greenwood in 1984. Hall edited the title to “God Forgive The USA” during a service held July 1. The altered version drew both fulsome praise and vitriol from many in social media.
Greenwood’s song is a popular one. Like all songs, it has its peaks and troughs in popularity. It was extremely popular during the 1991 Gulf War. It was also on the lips of many after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The song is generally sung in a few churches, especially in July. Hall was supposedly inspired by power more powerful than himself which prompted him to discard the previously planned anthem. He instead composed a new version. He said, “It takes the original song’s bravado and bluster and turns it into humility and reflection, but not in a disrespectful way, I hope.”
The church went full Methodist. Never go full Methodist. https://t.co/d1Yxujzt6S
— Michael Knowles (@michaeljknowles) July 5, 2018
Hill admitted the response to the video uploaded to Social Media was mixed. Soon after he sung the altered song, several members of the congregation requested a copy of its lyrics. The altered version's popularity pushed him to post the video on to social media. He said that like the song, the weekly services of the church are regularly online.
He said that a few were offended by this song, while others applauded the way it beautifully mirrored what they are feeling right now. Many of his church's congregation praised the altered version. The same positivity was echoed by the congregation of other churches as well. Not all, however, were happy. Many took a sharp swipe at lyrics, with the hate clearly being read in Social Media. Haters claimed the song disrespected the United States of America. Many detractors alleged that Hall had a specific political agenda.
Many comments supported the song. One commenter said, “What I hope people take away from the song is our need for corporate confession and forgiveness, but also the deep love and respect for our country that is also expressed.”