Goshen College and those bloody anthems

Dateline: Mon 01 Mar 2010

The Mennonites of Goshen College, whose ancestors chose to leave Europe rather than be conscripted into the armies of the German Kaiser or the Russian Czar, have now compromised 500 years of tradition separating church from state and agreed to play -- under some pressure --  "The National Anthem" at school athletic events.

The decision is a compromise: only the music will be permitted; the lyrics will not be sung, at least not universally, by the college, although guests may certainly join in. (The issue became one after a parent of an opposing team member complained).

This is a tasty tidbit of a story  for Indiana, which prizes independence in such matters -- it's not for no reason we have the largest home-school population in the nation. Although some may wonder, what in Heaven's name is the big deal? In fact, the president of Goshen College, Jim Brenneman, in a way downplayed the historic change, which was announced recently after a year of study:

 "...we believe playing the anthem in no way displaces any higher allegiances, including to the expansive understanding of Jesus – the ultimate peacemaker – loving all people of the world," he is quoted as saying in the college's official press release of Jan. 22.

Also, the task force which studied the issue said playing the anthem "opens up new possibilities for members of the Goshen College community to publicly offer prophetic critique..." if need be on war, racism, etc.

I say they caved.

The truth is, our anthem, like most other nationalistic songs, is bloddy and single-minded: kill the enemy, splash in his blood and enjoy life in your own back yard. F--- the rest of the world, or at least, cut it to bits.

Check out the lyrics:

Besides the "bombs bursting in air" -- the verse everyone cites for being war-like and sings -- you've got (speaking of foes of the U.S.)

"Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:"

OK, nobody sings that, but in France everyone who pounds out La Marseillaise sings about "the blood (of the enemy) running in the streets, or furrows, etc."

Grotty. Well, intensely bloody, for sure.

The American Spectator recently reported on tiny (1,000 students) Goshen College in northern Indiana, and observed that:

"Introducing the anthem at a traditionally pacifist school is a fascinating development when growing numbers of non-Mennonite evangelicals are increasingly adopting often radical Anabaptist stances against war and the America 'empire.' Opposing flags and the National Anthem has become de rigueur for some on the Evangelical Left, anxious to prove their loyalty to God's Kingdom over the earthly United States."

The Spectator also reports that an anti-National Anthem backlash has arisen on Goshen's behalf in the form of a Procolamation of Resistance, with most of the signers apparently non-Mennonites and mostly Roman Catholics -- those papists.

How odd that others are standing up where Goshen failed to do so. How odd that Goshen so easily capitulated on its history -- and in fact, its reasons for coming to the United States to begin with -- which was to enjoy religious freedom and tolerance of its unique Gospel-binding Christian principles.

But not odd that national anthems are bloody. For fun, check out the lyrics of some and send them this way...there will be a prize for the reader who finds the most truly disturbing and self-righteously patriotic.





Tell The Truth [Member] said:

I have a nephew who teaches at Goshen. He's Catholic, but has always remarked at the wide berth his faith is given. In fact, he feels the small northern college is remarkably open-minded.

Odd outposts of pacifism exist in Indiana. Consider Earlham. Quaker beliefs in Richmond. For almost two centuries.

This post coincides nicely with my current reading--treatises of our Founders on faith and government. Remarkable stuff. Sarah Palin would be shocked to learn that Washington himself decried the "bitterly brutal history of Christianity," and his warning to "not ever allow our religion to govern our government."

(Sigh) In God We Trust. It's true because our license plates and money say it's so. And there's nothing I believe in more than my car and my dollars.

Well, cheesecake with strawberries...now I believe in that. For God's sake not Atkins, tho.
Is cheesecake on your forbidden list Ruthie? If so, ditch the list. Immediately.

Oh yeah, for violent lyrics, try Hungary, which has 12 or 13 verses. here's one:
"But no freedom’s flowers return
From the spilt blood of the dead,
And the tears of slavery burn,
Which the eyes of orphans shed."

Palestine's is no flower trian either.

2010-03-01 07:59:59

Seneca [unverified] said:

"In God We Trust" on license plates is religion promoted by the state (in this case, Indiana). I have one of these because I like the color combination.

If memory serves, the tune of our national anthem is from an English drinking song by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a men's social club in London.

Ever hear of "Battle Hymn of the Republic"? Or "Onward Christian Soldiers, Marching as to War"?

2010-03-01 09:10:54

Seneca [unverified] said:

"With the cross of Jesus, going on before."

2010-03-01 09:12:43

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Seneca: you're entitled to the pretty plates. But we're entitrled to a govt. free of sponsored religion.

This came to us courtesy of State Rep. Woody Burton, the brother of US Rep. Dan.

Build your own joke.

As oft-stated elsewhere, depending on the day:

"It's Monday, so it must be Woody's turn to use the Burton peabrain."

2010-03-01 09:13:53

Seneca [unverified] said:

Yes, the plate is "pretty." As stated, that is why I have it. And since the BMV wants $10.00 for a new plate, I'll keep the one I have, thank you very much.

How you read that I support state-sponsored religion in that comment is beyond me. In fact, I think that there should be much greateer separation between church and state.

But then, perhaps your statement says more about you than about me.

As for "trust," trust in one hand and shit in the other. See which fills up faster.

2010-03-01 09:21:02

Seneca [unverified] said:

". . . greater separation." Much greater.

2010-03-01 09:22:41

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Seneca, baby, you bought it. You ponied up the cash. Knowing the implications.

If you disagree with the concept as much as I do, then vote with your feet. Or checkbook (or lack thereof)
Plain plates are "free."

Your money validates goofy Woody's plan, and his beleif that we are indeed "One Nation under God." Officially.

2010-03-01 10:02:02

varangianguard [unverified] said:

Now I'm pulling these memories from my nether regions (but then, who here might expect anything else? rofl), but if I remember correctly (IIRC) the "In God We Trust" (IGWT) plates were pushed hard by the InBMV right before we went to the new plates because in three or four counties they were almost completely out of sequence numbers utilized by the old numbering system. In fact, the fee was waived on the IGWT plates for a period of time, until the new/current numbering system was deployed.

So, perhaps Seneca didn't pony up extra money for anything. Many people I asked said that they chose the plate mainly for the two aforementioned reasons.

2010-03-01 10:56:17

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

The BMV push was not true, Varan. They didn't want this. Woody Burton and the evangelicals pushed this, against BMV's wishes.

And where does that extra plate fee go, anyway?

2010-03-01 13:32:16

varangianguard [unverified] said:

The "push" was when the plates were already "in stock". The IGWT plates were plentiful, while the old numbering style plates weren't anymore. As far as I can tell on the BMV website, there is still no additional fee for acquiring a IGWT plate.

I didn't mean to imply that the InBMV was in any way behind the concept of the plates themselves.

2010-03-01 14:14:19

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Good, Varan. Good.

2010-03-02 05:23:41

Seneca [unverified] said:

varangianguard, you're right. I didn't pay extra money for anything. IGWT plates were "free" the first time; because the non-IGWT plate was rather bland (perhaps by design), I chose the more colorful plate. White, red and blue make a nice color combination. Online renewal charges $10.00 for a "new" plate. And the $5.00 discount for online renewal has been discontinued.

We've been one nation under "god" for a very long time. The "god" is Mammon, with two symbols, $ and %, hopefully with a plus sign (+) preceding them.

ttt, what's with the "baby"? You trying to sound "hip" (or is it "hep"?) or something?

2010-03-02 09:14:42

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

"Baby" ? You lost me

2010-03-02 17:26:31

Seneca [unverified] said:

"Seneca, baby, you bought it." That "baby." Don't you remember what you've written?

2010-03-03 08:09:38

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