In a bit of a twist, a Christian school has banned the National Anthem. “As a result of a thoughtful, thorough, prayerful period of listening, learning and discerning,” the Goshen College Board of Directors said, “it is the board’s judgment that continuing to play the national anthem compromises our ability to advance the vision (of Goshen College) together.”

What? None of the usual insistence that not wearing a flag pin makes you a traitor and not placing your hand over your heart is tantamount of crappingon Old Glory? Nope, because Goshen is a Mennonite college, a religion that is vehemently pacifistic and probably more devout than your run of the mill spaghetti dinner fund-raising crowd.

Many Americans conflate flag waving and God-fearing so I suspect many of them will look at Goshen’s decision as “politically correct” or an attempt to inflame the delicate sensibilities of the “true Christian” majority of conservative Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, et al.

(In fairness, that hasn’t happened on a wide scale yet even though one Catholic athelete seems a put off by it as are several of Goshen’s city council members. However, I suspect the story will gain traction soon.)

This is as a legitimate decision based on strong Mennonite religious beliefs, applied to their religion’s school, and in line with the belief that not singing about rockets glaring and flags still being there is a choice. In this case, a choice that doesn’t impinge on anyone else, secular or non-secular. The school even supports the ball player’s right to speak his mind.

It’s also in line with another important American value: Freedom. Being forced to sing the national ditty doesn’t perfectly symbolize respect for the country, nor does it diss the sacrifices of others. It exercises the free speech to say no and celebrates that freedom.

I’m an atheist and a veteran who does sing the anthem and put my hand over my heart, but I’m with these Christians on this one.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

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Comment by amanda alexander on June 18, 2011 at 1:12am
I always thought that pledging allegience to a flag and singing a song of praise to it was worshipping a false idol myself, atleast that's what I would tell the teachers when I was younger.
Comment by Grace Fitzpatrick on June 16, 2011 at 9:04pm
I agree.  This is in line with their long standing religious faith.  No one has to go to their games.

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