Goshen Will Start Use of National Anthem at Some Events

February 22, 2010

Goshen College announced last week that its board has affirmed a recent decision by the college's president to start playing an instrumental version of the national anthem before some athletic events. The decision has been controversial with some students and alumni, but the statement said that the new policy would stand, and would be reviewed in June 2011. Goshen is a Mennonite institution and while practice has varied at Mennonite institutions, at Goshen some have historically feared that playing the anthem suggests a commitment to nation above God or would align the college with specific policies of the U.S. government that many on the campus don't back or see as consistent with their faith. In a statement last month announcing the resumption of playing the anthem, Jim Brenneman, the president, said "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." And a statement from the council at Goshen the reviewed the decision said that "playing the anthem opens up new possibilities for members of the Goshen College community to publicly offer prophetic critique – if need be – as citizens in the loyal opposition on issues of deepest moral conviction, such as war, racism and human rights abuses."

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