Bears Throwing Fans Out
AOL today hilited a story about three teen boys being ejected from Bears & Eagles Stadium for not standing for the song God Bless America. Imagine that! Some idiot in charge of a minor-league baseball team that had to be sold to Californians because it went bankrupt is throwing fans out of the stadium! That is unbearable stupidity.
God Bless America is not the national anthem of the United States, for the good and sufficient reason that it is religious, and compelling religious conscience is forbidden by the Constitution. The moron who is alleged in the lawsuit to have expelled these boys, "Bears' president and co-owner Thomas Cetnar", is of course entitled to antagonize existing and potential fans, as long as he refunds their money. But the City of Newark built that stadium, and should step in to rebuke Mr. Cetnar for endangering the City's investment. Pay us back every penny we spent to build the stadium, and you can ruin the Bears again, and ruin your own investment. But don't play stupid games with our money. This is not Afghanistan under the Taliban, and people don't have to stand for a religious song, nor accept the right of anyone to force religion on them.
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As I passed the stadium yesterday, I saw the changing-text lite sign announcing a "LADIES NIGHT", and I was thinking of publicizing that. Now I won't say what that nite is. I don't want to encourage anyone to go to a Bears game, ever, until Mr. Cetnar apologizes to the people of Newark for his religious intolerance, and the Bears organization makes plain that no one has to stand forGod Bless America. If Cetnar refuses to apologize and the Bears refuse to pledge never to do that again, then the Bears should go bankrupt again, and some other team should be found to use the stadium, or it should be reserved for the city's public school baseball and other teams, for concerts, etc.
In fact, I saw again today, on some street or other, a poster about Reggae Fest next Sunday, September 20th (60 bucks per ticket for a daytime festival of unknown length) to be held in Bears — sorry: Riverfront — stadium. Should the organizers of that festival require people to stand for some song honoring Rastafarianism? I don't think so. Here's that poster, from the Bears website. I don't imagine they'll mind my showing it here to give more publicity to the event, but if they do object, I will of course remove it.
If the City of Newark is the owner of Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium, it had better crack the whip over Cetnar and Bears management, lest it be named as a defendant in a wider lawsuit. A private entity is entitled to ignore the First Amendment. A government entity is not.