Andy Alexis-Baker — friend here in the program at Marquette — has a great post over at Jesus Radicals concerning a recent turn at Goshen. Frankly, the turn really surprised me. You know, “WTF?!” Whats the change you ask? Oh, in case you haven’t seen the announcement, heres a good summarizing quote:
Goshen College announced today it will play an instrumental version of the Star-Spangled Banner before select sports events on campus, followed by prayer.
While the reasons for playing the anthem have been posted online, Goshen’s President has put forward a public letter in response to those shocked. His logic is this:
I believe all of us who are citizens of the United States love and honor our country profoundly and are grateful for the blessings of U.S. citizenship. We fly the U.S. flag on campus, annually read the Constitution, honor the Fourth of July as a national holiday by not working, pray for our leaders, and, many of us vote. Some of us pledge allegiance to the flag, sing the national anthem and are veterans of war. Others choose to be conscientious objectors to war, stand silently when the flag is saluted and choose not to sing the national anthem. In honoring the differences, we honor the best of our country.
Two hundred and fifty years before modern democracies enshrined the ideal of separation of church and state in their constitutions, people of strong religious conviction – including Mennonites – were killed for holding fast to that ideal in feudal Europe. They paid a heavy price for their belief. It is this very principle enshrined in the U.S. Constitution that now allows people of faith in the United States to express their differences freely and without coercion. Far from disrespecting our country, Mennonites pay homage to it and love it, precisely because of the freedoms enshrined in its founding documents paid for by those who died to preserve that freedom of faith and conscience. Early Mennonites arrived on these shores in 1683 to help establish early America as a beacon of hope.
Wow. And I thought The Light and the Glory was only for Wheaton, Trinity, Moody, and Dallas.
While I have plenty to say, I’m not actually a Mennonite, so go read the response of one.