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Mennonite Pastor Backs College Ban of 'Star Spangled Banner'
Christian Post ^ | 2 Jul 2011 | R leigh coleman

Posted on 07/17/2011 1:53:52 AM PDT by Cronos

They want to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave, but they will not sing about it

A Mennonite pastor from Waynesboro, Va., is catching the media’s attention this week by reviving his religion’s belief to ban the “Star Spangled Banner” from athletic events – or anywhere else for that matter.

Mark Schloneger , pastor of Springdale Mennonite Church, wrote a letter this week voicing his objections to America’s national anthem and to explain why a college in Indiana has banned the song.

Mennonites firmly believe the lyrics in the Star Spangled Banner violate their pacifist ideals. They firmly believe that an individual’s allegiance should be to Christ rather than country.

Schloneger was interviewed by CNN on Thursday, just as our nation is gearing up to celebrate Independence Day with fireworks, parades, barbecues, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, political speeches and of course, the Star Spangled Banner.

After much debate, Goshen College, a Mennonite college in Indiana and Schloneger’s alma mater, banned the national anthem from all sporting events for a second time this week.

Schloneger writes about the fact that Goshen College began playing the Star-Spangled Banner only last year, but after a “thoughtful, thorough, prayerful period of listening, learning and discerning."

The college board said this week that playing the song “compromises our ability” to pursue the school’s vision, according to the order issued by the college board.

Goshen, which is operated as a ministry of Mennonite Church USA, had banned the anthem for decades, but in February 2010 approved the playing of an instrumental version.

“The decision not to play the national anthem reversed last year’s decision to play it for the first time in Goshen College’s 116-year history,” Schloneger wrote in his letter.

“We continue to advocate for the strict separation of church and state. Most Mennonite churches do not have flags inside them, and many Mennonites are uncomfortable with the ritual embedded in the singing of the national anthem," the letter states.

Schloneger basically goes on to explain and promote the college’s decision because “we recognize only one Christian nation, the church, the holy nation that is bound together by a living faith in Jesus rather than by man-made, blood-soaked borders.”

Mennonites are a branch of the Christian church, with roots going back to the 16th century Protestant Reformation.

The Mennonite church emphasizes service to others as an important way of expressing one's faith. A large number of Mennonites spend part of their lives working as missionaries or volunteers helping those in need.

John Roth, a Goshen College history professor, said in a recent interview that Mennonites have historically avoided the song because its lyrics describe using war and military might to defend the country.

"The link between the national anthem and the military identity of the nation is made very explicit," Roth said.

Schloneger’s comments in the letter about the national anthem are rather straight forward, according to analysts and others who have listened to his beliefs.

“I am not sure why this pastor or the Mennonites in general would continue to object to a historical song that promotes celebration and freedom,” said Dr. Landry Nichols, a retired pastor from New Orleans, La.

“It is that freedom we are blessed with that allows us to worship in the way we believe. The song, to me, is about inspiration.”

Schloneger is specific about the actual lyrics in the song as he comments that, “We testify with our lives that freedom is not a right that is granted or defended with rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air. True freedom is given by God, and it is indeed not free. It comes with a cost, and it looks like a cross.”

The pastor admits in the letter that the Mennonites or “tribe” is “strange and sometimes it’s hard to be strange.”

His commentary ends with some convictions about the country. “…we have no ingratitude or hatred for our country. Rather, they reflect a deep love for the church and a passionate desire for the church to be the church.”

“Mennonite beliefs and practices seem bizarre to some and offensive to others. But it’s life in this strange tribe that keeps me faithful to what I believe. I love my country, but I sing my loyalty and pledge my allegiance to Jesus alone," he wrote.

Today large Mennonite populations can be found in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Kansas, although Mennonites live in all parts of the United States and the world.

Did you know?

At 7 a.m. on September 13, 1814, the British bombardment of Ft. McHenry began. The bombardment continued for 25 hours, with the British firing rockets across the sky.

Francis Scott Key, Col. Skinner, and Dr. Beanes watched the battle with apprehension. They knew that as long as the shelling continued, Fort McHenry had not surrendered. But, long before daylight there came a sudden and mysterious silence. Judging Baltimore as being too costly a prize, the British officers ordered a retreat.

In the predawn darkness, Key waited for the sight that would end his anxiety: the joyous sight of Gen. Armistead's great flag blowing in the breeze. When daylight came, Key spotted the huge flag waving above the Ft. McHenry.

Thrilled by the sight of the flag and the knowledge that the fort had not fallen, Key took a letter from his pocket, and began to write some verses on the back of it. Later, after the British fleet had withdrawn, Key checked into a Baltimore hotel, and completed his poem on the defense of Fort McHenry. He then sent it to a printer for duplication on handbills, and within a few days the poem was put to the music of an old English song. Both the new song and the flag became known as "The Star-Spangled Banner."

In October of that year, a Baltimore actor sang Key's new song in a public performance and called it "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Although the song was immediately popular, it remained just one of several patriotic airs until it was officially named our national anthem by Congress in 1931.

Source: U.S. Department of Education

Here are the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner:

O! say can you see by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
’Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
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:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry 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!


TOPICS: Current Events; Evangelical Christian; Mainline Protestant
KEYWORDS:
I don't really see the national anthem as in any way being anti-Christian. But they have their beliefs.
1 posted on 07/17/2011 1:53:55 AM PDT by Cronos
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To: Cronos
I don't really see the national anthem as in any way being anti-Christian. But they have their beliefs.

It comes down to this:

Mennonites firmly believe the lyrics in the Star Spangled Banner violate their pacifist ideals. They firmly believe that an individual’s allegiance should be to Christ rather than country.

I know a few people who don't like the Pledge of Allegiance because they believe you should only pledge yourself to Christ or God. They aren't fun people to have at a party.
2 posted on 07/17/2011 1:57:17 AM PDT by af_vet_rr
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To: af_vet_rr

these same people really cringe when you quote”Render unto Caesar,things that are Caesar’s.Render unto GOD things that are GOD’s”Drives them nuts.


3 posted on 07/17/2011 2:25:16 AM PDT by screaming eagle2 (no matter what you call it,a pre-owned vehicle,IS STILL A USED CAR!)
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To: af_vet_rr

these same people really cringe when you quote”Render unto Caesar,things that are Caesar’s.Render unto GOD things that are GOD’s”Drives them nuts.


4 posted on 07/17/2011 2:25:16 AM PDT by screaming eagle2 (no matter what you call it,a pre-owned vehicle,IS STILL A USED CAR!)
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To: Cronos
Later, after the British fleet had withdrawn, Key checked into a Baltimore hotel, and completed his poem on the defense of Fort McHenry. He then sent it to a printer for duplication on handbills, and within a few days the poem was put to the music of an old English song.

A drinking song, actually, and a good one, at that:

To Anachreon In Heaven. (CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO)

To Anacreon in heaven where he sat in full glee,
A few sons of harmony sent a petition,
That he their inspirer and patron would be,
When this answer arrived from the jolly old Grecian:
Voice, fiddle aud flute, no longer be mute,
I'll lend you my name and inspire you to boot!
And besides I'll instruct you like me to entwine
The myrtle of Venus and Bacchus's vine.

The news through Olympus immediately flew,
When old Thunder pretended to give himself airs,
If these mortals are suffered their scheme to pursue,
The devil a goddess will stay above stairs,
Hark! already they cry, in transports of joy,
A fig for Parnassus, to Rowley’s we'll fly,
And there my good fellows, we'll learn to entwine
The myrtle of Venus and Bacchus's vine.

The yellow-haired god, and his nine fusty maids,
To the hill of old Lud will incontinent flee,
Idalia will boast but of tenantless shades,
And the biforked hill a mere desert will be,
My thunder, no fear on’t, will soon do its errand,
And, damn me I'll swinge the ringleaders, I warrant
I'll trim the young dogs, for thus daring to twine
The myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's vine.

Apollo rose up and said, “Prythee ne'er quarrel,
Good king of the gods, with my votaries below
Your thunder is useless - then showing his laurel,
Cried, Sic evitabile fulmen, you know!
Then over each head my laurels I'll spread,
So my sons from your crackers no mischief shall dread
Whilst snug in their club-room, they jovially twine
The myrtle of Venus and Bacchus's vine.

5 posted on 07/17/2011 2:32:48 AM PDT by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: Cronos

I grew up in the Evangelical Congregational Church, which
was an off shoot of the Mennonite church, the only real difference being that the EC church was not plain. The Evangelical United Brethren broke off at the same time, but wanted a more formal construction with a board that directed the individual churches, the EC church wanted each church to be separate, except that they did rotate ministers occasionally.

We opened Sunday school every Sunday by saluting the American flag and the Christian flag and we sang Onward Christian Soldiers, often. There was no talk of being anti-military like the Quaker meeting down the street.

The EC, EUB and the Mennonites were not a politically involved group. Occasionally, young men attended service in their military uniform when they were home. This anti-military stuff is a recent transformation due to the fact that so many suburbanites have taken advantage of the Mennonite schools.


6 posted on 07/17/2011 2:59:55 AM PDT by Eva
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To: Eva

The Mennonites in this country are free,because other people fought and died to keep them that way.

Unlike the Peace Movement they don’t take to the streets and violate their own principles.


7 posted on 07/17/2011 3:36:51 AM PDT by Venturer
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To: Cronos

The Mennonites have a unique view of citizenship. They say you (and they) should obey the law, and pay taxes, but they do not run for public office or vote, and are conscientous (sp?) objectors to military service.

My source: a brochure published by the Mennonite Church on “The Christian and Citizenship.” (I may have that title wrong).


8 posted on 07/17/2011 4:04:35 AM PDT by ixtl (You live and learn. Or you don't live long.)
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To: af_vet_rr

Mennonites violate my beliefs in using the sword to defend the plowshare. If it wasnt for millions of Americans like me they’d all be listening to “God Save the Queen” and speaking British. Or German. Maybe Japanese.

They are free to practice silence while I pledge my beliefs.


9 posted on 07/17/2011 4:13:06 AM PDT by silverleaf (All that is necessary for evil to succeed, is that good men do nothing)
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To: ixtl
The Mennonite leaders have been politically involved with Iran since at least 2009. I lost all respect for them when I heard about the meeting with Ahmadinejad. Besides meeting with him, below they take the position that he should be treated with respect as head of state, but they can't respect the Star Spangled Banner. The current leaders of the Mennonites are hypocrites.

http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=7&x_issue=24&x_article=1686

June 15, 2009 by Dexter Van Zile

SECOND UPDATE: Mennonite Central Committee Silent on Iran (JUNE 30)

Please note: This article, originally published on June 15, 2009, was updated on June 24 and again on June 30. These updates appear below.

When it comes to rehabilitating his image in the United States, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can count on the Mennonite Central Committee for assistance.
The organization has sponsored two dinners and an interfaith pilgrimage to Tehran during which Christian leaders have met with the Iranian President and offered kind words about the man afterwards.

Now that events demonstrate that Ahmadinejad is the public face of a brutal regime willing to suppress the people it governs, the organization has fallen silent.

After more than two days of protests and violence in Iran, the MCC has not published any statement about the regime on its website, nor does it have any plans to.

On the morning of June 15, 2009, CAMERA sent an email to Ed Nyce, the MCC’s Media and Education Coordinator asking whether or not the organization was going to issue any statement about Iran.

Nyce’s response, which came on the afternoon of June 15, was succinct and direct:
“We have no plans to issue a statement.”

When asked in subsequent communications (email and a voice message) why the MCC had nothing to say, Nyce reiterated in an email that the MCC has “no plans to issue a statement.”

The MCC’s silence about the events in Iran is remarkable given its highly visible campaign to legitimize Ahmadinejad in the U.S. This campaign began in February 2007 when the MCC organized a meeting of Christian leaders with the Iranian President in Teheran. The delegation held a press conference in Washington, D.C. upon its return to the U.S. Christian leaders reportedly challenged Ahmadinejad about his anti-Semitic statements, but their complaints had little apparent effect. Four days after the delegation's meeting Ahmadinejad appeared in Sudan, where according to Islamic Republic News Agency (Iran's official news service), he said “Zionists are the true manifestation of Satan.”

In September 2007, the MCC organized an ecumenical dinner attended by Ahmadinejad and numerous Christian leaders in New York City.

The leaders met with the Iranian president after he addressed the United Nations on September 26, 2007. According to The New York Times, Albert Lobe, executive director of the Mennonite Central committee told Ahmadinejad “We meant to extend to you the hospitality which a head of state deserves.”

Lobe's obsequiousness was apparently a response to the treatment Ahmadinejad received at Columbia University on Sept. 24, when the school's president Lee Bollinger called him “a petty and cruel dictator.”

10 posted on 07/17/2011 4:14:51 AM PDT by FR_addict
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To: Venturer

Yes they do. At least around here. There is a large group who has been protesting forever. They got quite nasty during President Bush’s (II) terms.


11 posted on 07/17/2011 4:15:30 AM PDT by CH3CN
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To: CH3CN
I'm not surprised after hearing about their support for Iran. They used to be famous for Christian acts of kindness. They often helped with natural disasters in our country. I was in a flood many years ago and was a recipent of their kindness. I used to send their charity for disasters a check, but not after I learned they were sponsoring a dinner for Ahmadinejad when he came to the United States.

'In September 2007, the MCC organized an ecumenical dinner attended by Ahmadinejad and numerous Christian leaders in New York City.

The leaders met with the Iranian president after he addressed the United Nations on September 26, 2007. According to The New York Times, Albert Lobe, executive director of the Mennonite Central committee told Ahmadinejad “We meant to extend to you the hospitality which a head of state deserves.”'

12 posted on 07/17/2011 4:25:52 AM PDT by FR_addict
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To: Cronos

there are other countries. go to them, @ssholes.


13 posted on 07/17/2011 4:31:12 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand ("America will cease to be great when America ceases to be good." -- Welcome to deToqueville.)
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To: Cronos

The same folks who refused to sell food to American troops at Valley Forge, but sold it to the British. Or was that the Quakers?

I have no use for either.


14 posted on 07/17/2011 4:37:16 AM PDT by ZULU (Lindsey Graham is a nanometrical pustule of pusillanimous putrescence)
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To: Cronos

There are different types of Mennonites, too. As I understand it, there’s yer basic type with the women in long dresses and head coverings and sturdy clothes for the men. I believe these are the traditional Mennonites. Odd, but peaceful, folks looking to live their lives as they see fit (under the unbrella of protection of the heathen, of course).

Then you’ve got yer communist Mennonites - reformed - that are all about social gospel and activism. No problem there intermingling with the heathen and messing with our laws and governmental system - for the common good, of course. I have in-laws that are the latter type. Pacifists when it comes to the country’s call, but more than willing to do their part in any political way. As far as I can tell, none of the other kinds of traditional restrictions apply. Religious communists sums it up.


15 posted on 07/17/2011 4:42:06 AM PDT by WorkingClassFilth
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To: CH3CN

We have Mennonites around here as well as Amish, I never saw one of them protest anything.


16 posted on 07/17/2011 4:47:39 AM PDT by Venturer
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To: Cronos

I have difficulty complaining about folks that are consistent in their beliefs and intellectually honest. Bless them.


17 posted on 07/17/2011 5:11:20 AM PDT by jimfree (In 2012 Sarah Palin will have more quality executive experience than Barack Obama.)
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To: Cronos

The Mennonites around here will remove you from membership if you participate in league sports. (Pickup games are OK.)


18 posted on 07/17/2011 5:29:30 AM PDT by Shanty Shaker
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To: Cronos

Mennonites firmly believe the lyrics in the Star Spangled Banner violate their pacifist ideals.

Since this is America they have a right to believe that.
They also have a right to ignore the Star Spangled Banner
But they have NO Right to prohibit Americans from using hearing or enjoying it.


19 posted on 07/17/2011 5:35:37 AM PDT by SECURE AMERICA (Where can I sign up for the New American Revolution and the Crusades 2012?)
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To: Cronos
NP policy regarding support of the nation that protects your religious freedom:

You can remain respectfully quiet while your fellow countrymen voice their support of the military that gave you that right, or

You can be exported to China, where you can shoot off your mouth all you want.

20 posted on 07/17/2011 5:52:54 AM PDT by Navy Patriot (Holy flippin' crap, Sarah rocks the world!)
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To: Cronos

The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life.

Wars are, of course, as a rule to be avoided; but they are far better than certain kinds of peace.

The pacifist is as surely a traitor to his country and to humanity as is the most brutal wrongdoer.

- Theodore Roosevelt


21 posted on 07/17/2011 6:49:29 AM PDT by magslinger (Zombies make up much of the Democrat's base.)
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To: Cronos

I heard a Mennonite pastor, now teaching in a Seminary (!)(but at least not Theology) say, in a lecture hall, “What kind of Father would let His Son die on a cross?” — and then blithely blather on. I about jumped out of my seat, raised my hand to challenge him, but he continued on, lecturing to all these young people.


22 posted on 07/17/2011 7:00:32 AM PDT by bboop (Stealth Tutor)
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To: Cronos
The college board said this week that playing the song “compromises our ability” to pursue the school’s vision

They're so single minded they obviously can't walk and chew gum at the same time. Scary.

23 posted on 07/17/2011 7:20:16 AM PDT by bgill
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To: screaming eagle2
Matt 22:19-22 Show me the coin that pays the census tax." Then they handed him the Roman coin.
He said to them, "Whose image is this and whose inscription?"
They replied, "Caesar's."
At that he said to them, "Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God."
When they heard this they were amazed, and leaving him they went away.
24 posted on 07/17/2011 9:07:45 AM PDT by mc5cents (Noli nothis permittere te terere)
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To: Venturer

If the Mennonites are not plain, they have no business claiming to be anti-military. The anti-military was part of the whole “plain” ideology. They dressed like the Amish. You couldn’t tell the difference. None of these sects took part in the Revolution, yet they benefited from it.

It seems to me that today’s Mennonites, the non-plain ones, pick and choose which beliefs to adhere to, choose only those that are politically convenient. They don’t take to the streets, they let their church membership act as their protest, but I bet that they drink alcohol and drive a car.


25 posted on 07/17/2011 9:51:14 AM PDT by Eva
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To: Cronos
Germans have always been pretty stupid.

Mennonites are just Amish who use electricity.
26 posted on 07/17/2011 10:03:33 AM PDT by Minus_The_Bear
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To: Shanty Shaker

you are kidding, aren’t you?


27 posted on 07/17/2011 12:38:28 PM PDT by Cronos ( W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie I Szczebrzeszyn z tego slynie.)
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To: Cronos

Not kidding at all. One of the local bishop’s Grandsons has left his church so he could continue to play.


28 posted on 07/17/2011 3:29:56 PM PDT by Shanty Shaker
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To: Cronos

Not kidding at all. One of the local bishop’s Grandsons has left his church so he could continue to play.


29 posted on 07/17/2011 3:30:11 PM PDT by Shanty Shaker
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To: silverleaf
Mennonites violate my beliefs in using the sword to defend the plowshare. If it wasnt for millions of Americans like me they’d all be listening to “God Save the Queen” and speaking British. Or German. Maybe Japanese.

Exactly. For a people who claim we should only be loyal to God and should ignore a lot of things about politics and nations, they sure do try and get themselves involved in international or political matters.
30 posted on 07/17/2011 5:20:05 PM PDT by af_vet_rr
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