For the second year in a row, the U.S. Air Force band has surprised a crowd of Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum visitors with a "holiday flash mob," wowing an unsuspecting audience with over 100 Air Force Band instrumentalists and vocalists appearing out of nowhere and performing the most overtly religious "holiday" music possible.
Last year it was Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring and Joy to the World at the museum's Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall; this year it was What Child Is This? at the museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. The second song in this year's medley was The Carol of the Bells, which is not an overtly religious song, but the Air Force Band fixed that by adding the line "Joy! Joy, for Christ is born!" to the end of its version.
But don't go thinking that this is a government is promoting religion or anything. The Air Force Band was careful to stick a disclaimer at the beginning of this year's video that says: "No Federal endorsement is intended or authorized." Of course, that line of the disclaimer comes right after a line that says that the video is "approved by the Department of the Air Force," but we're apparently not supposed to see any contradiction at all in their saying that the video is approved by the Air Force while somehow at the same time not endorsed or authorized by the federal government.
Almost laughably, the official Air Force Band website also tries to mask the overt religiosity of this year's performance by saying that the first song is Greensleeves. Right -- it's Greensleeves -- it's not like anybody is going to notice that the words they're singing aren't:
Alas, my love, you do me wrong,
To cast me off discourteously.
For I have loved you well and long,
Delighting in your company.
Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
And who but my lady greensleeves.
Alas, my love, that you should own
A heart of wanton vanity,
So must I meditate alone
Upon your insincerity.
Yeah, that's pretty much the same as the What Child Is This? lyrics, right? "Greensleeves was all my joy" and "This, this is Christ the king" -- nobody would be able to tell those two lines apart!
So, sticking a disclaimer on the video saying it's not endorsed or authorized by the federal government (while at the same time saying it's officially approved by the Department of the Air Force), calling it a "holiday" flash mob, and listing the song as Greensleeves makes it all okey-dokey, right?
And the Air Force Band even came up with a way to make it sound like these religious flash mobs are fulfilling a part of its official mission, saying:
"An important part of the Band's mission is to have a positive impact on the global community on behalf of the U.S. Air Force and the United States of America. With each viral video, the Band garners worldwide attention from the media and on the Internet reaching millions across the globe."
Yes, that is part of the U.S. Air Force Band's official mission, which states in full:
"The U.S. Air Force Band honors those who have served, inspires American citizens to heightened patriotism and service, and positively impacts the global community on behalf of the U.S. Air Force and the United States of America."
And these Air Force Band flash mob videos certainly are inspiring some American citizens to "heightened patriotism" -- citizens like YouTube commenter "apologiamixer," who just the other day posted what is now the top comment on last year's once again very popular video: "Beautiful to see our military still giving glory to God, and not some Muslim perversion."
Yep, that's the very first comment that any of those "millions across the globe" that the Air Force is reaching on the Internet are seeing -- a comment calling Islam a "perversion." That's the way "to have a positive impact on the global community"! Did the Air Force Band not see the recent warning from the FBI telling members of the military to be careful what they post online because ISIS is big on monitoring social media? I'll bet there are some Islamic extremists out there who are also being quite "inspired" by these viral videos of mobs of uniformed U.S. military personnel belting out lines like "Joy to the world! The Lord is come. Let earth receive her King!," "Joy to the world! the Savior reigns," and "This, this is Christ the king!"
Way to go, U.S. Air Force Band!