Tuesday, 07 June 2011

In Passing

No Anthem at Goshen

Insty links to a blast from the 70s, eminating from (of all places) Goshen, Indiana:

The Goshen College Board of Directors announced today that it has asked President James E. Brenneman to find an alternative to playing the Star-Spangled Banner that fits with sports tradition, that honors country and that resonates with Goshen College’s core values and respects the views of diverse constituencies...

The Board expressed a strong commitment to advancing with President Brenneman the vision for Goshen College to be an influential leader in liberal arts education with a growing capacity to serve a theologically, politically, racially and ethnically diverse constituency both within and beyond the Mennonite church.  The Board concluded that continuing to play the national anthem compromised the ability of college constituents to advance the vision together...

"Goshen College has been and remains a ministry of Mennonite Church USA with an enduring peace tradition,” Romero [Carlos Romero, executive director, Mennonite Education Agency] said.  "The Board’s decision reflects a belief that faith and honoring country can co-exist without disturbing higher allegiances to God and that Goshen College will become increasingly diverse and will welcome diverse viewpoints.”
Because some of those "constituents” may feel uncomfortable celebrating America?

There’s a bit more to this story than what’s in the headlines: Goshen hadn’t performed the anthem at sporting events until 2010; the board’s request to look for a substitute is the outcome of a year-long consultation.  And the Mennonites who operate Goshen have a long tradition of pacifism, so it’s not a surprise that some might be uncomfortable lending their imprimatur to words that, at least at the outset, celebrate a successful military action.

But the 70s-vintage "diversity” language in the College’s statement leaves me suspecting that this is as much about pandering to the campus’ racial nationalists/seperatists as it is about pacifism:  Not "give peace a chance,” but the Nation of Islam and La Raza.

Because if their concerns stem from "higher allegiances to God” and the Anthem’s "warlike” opening, they could go a long way toward addressing them not by doing away with the Anthem, but by singing (and understanding) its fourth verse:

Oh! thus be it ever, when free men shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Goshen College:  National Anthem Decision Background - links to press coverage, discussions, on-line groups pro and con. (Give ’em credit for this one!)
USAToday:  National Anthem Splits Indiana’s Goshen College (2010 story about Goshen’s decision to begin playing the Anthem)
Goshen News:  National Anthem muted again on Goshen College campus

Posted by: Old Grouch in In Passing at 17:11:35 GMT | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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1 Just as a bit of trivia, Freemasons in Indiana traditionally sing both the first and fourth verses.

Posted by: Nathan at 06/08/11 11:05:02 (cBrDo)

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