Bill mandates English for Pledge, anthem

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) introduced a resolution yesterday calling for “The Star-Spangled Banner” and other traditional patriotic compositions to be recited or sung solely in English.

The resolution states that the national anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance and other “statements or songs that symbolize the unity of the nation … should be recited or sung in English, the common language of the United States.”

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) co-sponsored the bill, as did Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) and Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

The legislation is a response to a Spanish-language version of the national anthem, “Nuestro Himno,” which was released Friday.

Alexander said on the chamber floor, “I worry, Mr. President, that translating our national anthem will actually have the effect of dividing us. It adds to the celebration of multiculturalism in our society, which has eroded our understanding of our common American culture.

“We wouldn’t recite the Pledge in French, or German, or Russian, or Hindi, or even Chinese ... and we shouldn’t sing the national anthem in Spanish, or any other foreign language.”

President Bush weighed in during a briefing with reporters Friday, stating, “I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English, and I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English.”

The legislation was introduced as hundreds of thousands of Americans participated in a nationwide rally and economic boycott to protest recent immigration initiatives by Congress.

More in Healthcare

GOP lawmaker pledges 'no' vote on spending bill without boost in mental health

Read more »