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'Yes, We Have No Bananas,' and other secular songs


Date published: 6/5/2005

Editorial-page editor Paul Akers said in a recent column that the less music has to commend it, the louder it should be played ["Catholics, stay with me and I'll tell you how to grow your church," May 29].

While researching my projected two-volume work "Fredericksburg and the Cavalier Country 1900 to 2000 and Beyond: From Buggy Whips to Gridlock on the Old Plank Road" I came across a story about a preacher who in 1923 was arrested and convicted in Newport News for singing religious songs too loudly while driving through town in his car. The Virginia Supreme Court upheld the conviction.

Ain't it a great country, or what? In these modern times, people can play music in their motor machines at any decibel level they feel appropriate no matter how offensive to others.

If that poor preacher back in 1923 had just had an ACLU lawyer, he might have gotten off scot-free--except, of course, the ACLU would not approve of religious songs being sung in public and probably would have suggested that henceforth he sing "Yes, We Have No Bananas."

John Goolrick

Fredericksburg