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My Faith: Why I don't sing the 'Star Spangled Banner'
June 26th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Faith: Why I don't sing the 'Star Spangled Banner'

Editor's Note: Mark Schloneger is pastor of Springdale Mennonite Church in Waynesboro, Virginia.

By Mark Schloneger, Special to CNN

I choose to belong to a strange tribe. Goshen College, my alma mater, made national news this month when its board of directors decided that the “Star Spangled Banner” would not be played before athletic events.

As could be expected, the decision was met with confusion and contempt. Wasn’t this just another example of our traditional values being trampled by the unrelenting march of political correctness? What sort of ingrates object to our nation’s anthem, anyway? Fluffy-headed campus philosophers? Lazy latte-sipping liberals?

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. That, too, caught the media’s attention.

It also caused widespread concern and confusion among the college’s students, professors, alumni, supporters and, yes, donors - many of whom felt like playing the anthem compromised the college’s Christian values.

Goshen is a small school in northern Indiana that's owned and operated as a ministry of Mennonite Church USA. I am a Goshen graduate, a longtime member of the Mennonite Church and the pastor of a Mennonite congregation.

Mennonites live in countries all over the world. Though we speak many languages, have different ethnic origins, and express our faith in diverse ways, we all claim the Anabaptists in 16th century Europe as our spiritual ancestors.

The Anabaptists agreed with most of the ideas of the Protestant Reformation but felt that reformers like Martin Luther and John Calvin didn't go far enough. Anabaptists rejected the practice of infant baptism, for instance, believing that water baptism should be reserved for believers who confess a faith in Jesus.

Because they understood the exercise of state power to be inconsistent with the church’s identity and mission, Anabaptists also advocated for the strict separation of church and state. This then-radical stance was prompted by both theology and necessity: Anabaptists had the distinct notoriety of being tortured and killed by both Catholics and Protestants wielding the power of the state against them.

Instead of compromising their core convictions about what it means to follow Jesus, thousands of Anabaptist men and women adhered to their freedom of conscience even as they were mocked by neighbors, burned at stakes and drowned in rivers.

Although there certainly are diverse viewpoints among individual Mennonites today, 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.

That’s 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.

To Mennonites, a living faith in Jesus means faithfully living the way of Jesus. Jesus called his disciples to love their enemies and he loved his enemies all the way to the cross and beyond. Following Jesus and the martyrs before us, 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.

It’s a strange tribe to which I belong, and sometimes it’s hard to be strange. We struggle to be inclusive in our welcome yet passionate in our identity. Our desire for acceptance, for approval, is strong, and we don’t always live up to the convictions that we set before us.

We must repent of that, for the world cannot know of its brokenness and hopelessness without a people who show a holistic way of life. The world cannot know that there is an alternative to violence and war without a people of peace making peace. The world cannot know that the weak and the vulnerable are cared for by God without a people practicing an economy centered on sharing and mutual aid.

The world cannot know the unsurpassable worth of human life without a people who consistently work to protect it - in the fetus, in the convict, in the immigrant, in the soldier, and in the enemy.

These convictions do not reflect 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.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Schloneger.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church and state • Mennonite

soundoff (4,381 Responses)
  1. GinnyL

    I grew up about 15 miles from Goshen College and took several summer classes there when I was an undergraduate. (Man, were they tough!) My hometown was primarily Mennonite and Amish. Many of the posts here show absolutely no knowledge of or respect for their beliefs. My beliefs are not in synch with their beliefs or, for that matter, any organized religion but I did and still do have the utmost respect for them. They truly do live their beliefs without forcing them down others' throats. They are definitely not hypocritical Christians. To call them a cult, to me, shows a great deal of ignorance about the Mennonites and the Amish. I have lived all over the United state and, as a group, they are some of the most giving and non-judgmental people I have ever had the privilege to know. You don't have to be a member to show them respect.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:17 am |
    • 1nd3p3nd3nt

      I can agree with that, but the concept of violence, I find that hard to not believe in. It's in sports, in war, even in the act of love making. Life feeds off of life, wolves kill deer, bears eat salmon, fish eat other fish, etc.

      I find nothing wrong with not wanting to commit violence, but to not acknowledge it is foolishness, I think. Christ was crucified. God killed off most of the planet with the great flood. Revelations has some pretty violent imagery in it for the end of the world.

      It's just hard to make sense of arbitrary philosophies, nothing against the people, I haven't met a perfect human yet, just the reasoning behind it : )

      June 26, 2011 at 4:23 am |
    • GinnyL

      1nd3p3nd3nt, I agree with you. I don't know how one cannot believe in violence and yet believe in evil, which is why I never shared their religious beliefs. Your comments showed respect for them while still presenting the dichotomy of their beliefs. And I am a big supporter of logical thinking mixed with recognition that here are events which defy logic. You sound like the kind of person who probably also considers and appreciates that cognitive dissonance, uncomfortable as it may makes us feel. Definitely makes life tricky at times, doesn't it?

      June 26, 2011 at 4:37 am |
    • Polaris431

      For someone who lived next to them, you show a great ignorance about them. If you are an Amish and choose to leave the group, you are shunned for life. You call that loving and kind?

      June 26, 2011 at 6:58 am |
    • Joseph

      I respect everyone's beliefs, even if they don't corresponde with my own. But, I do have a problem with people who choose to live in this country, benefit from its liberties, yet seem to shun its core values.

      June 26, 2011 at 7:21 am |
    • Prometheus

      I can understand your respect for another person, and persons outside of yourself and your customs.

      However your post regarding the Mennonites lacked objectivity in regards to this article.

      I won't go into all of it, there are many here who would do a FAR better job than me.

      But PUHHHHH-LEEEEEEEEZE.

      That's all I gotta say.........

      June 26, 2011 at 8:53 am |
    • Yuri Pelham

      Well said. If everyone were pacifist we'd be in big trouble. If no group took this position we'd also be in big trouble. Too bad they can't be valued. We need more people with a peaceful demeamor.

      June 26, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • Earnán

      There's nothing "respectable" about pacifism.

      Pacifists sat on their hands while the Nazis hauled Jews to the death camps.

      Pacifists sat on their hands while the Soviet commissars put bullets in the brains of anyone who didn't accept the new order.

      Pacifists are physical and moral cowards, and deserve our contempt.

      June 26, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • JLS639

      To Polaris431: That depends on the group of Amish.

      To 1nd3p3nd3nt: Killing animals for food is not the same as acts of violence. This can and has been neurologically demonstrated. An animal killing prey to eat has changes in areas of its brain feeding centers in similar fashion to an animal eating food pellets. Except for motor cortex, the areas of the brain that change during fighting are completely different between hunting and fighting.

      June 26, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • SurRy

      Polaris431, sounds like so-called Christians who shun gay people and banish their gay children from their homes. Check out the number of homeless teens who are gay. Real loving people there as well. : (

      June 26, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • SurRy

      Earnán, the United States sat on its hands it knew the Nazis were dragging people to concentration camps and ovens.

      June 26, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • morgan painter

      Refusing to take part in violence does not mean the Mennonites don't recognize it. They simply reject it because violence is the consequence of a sin-filled world. They adhere to the character of their savior who refused to use violence to achieve His goal.

      In the past God has destroyed the lives of numerous people. WHY? Because they lived for sin, it was their favorite pastime. He had to rid the world of their behavior so the decent people could have a safe place to live. Abraham pleaded to God to save Sodom if he could find just a few decent people. There weren't any to be found. That entire city was filled with evil people. God removed that influence.

      Mennonites simply choose to avoid the violence, to not be a part of it in any form. AND, since this is a college operated by an organization funded by (GASP) donations, they have the right to enact any policy the church body deems appropriate.
      That is what freedom is about.

      AND, if any branch of government tries to force the college to allow the national anthem then it would be guilty of interfering with the separation of church and state.

      I have ancestors who died defending this country going all the way back to 1776. Surely I would have more reason to condemn the Mennonites for refusing to serve the military then the average person. But I don't. You see that is what our forefathers fought for. The right to chose, the right to be free to live ones conscience. This patriot who has served in war and whose ancestors have suffered through every war this country has ever engaged in supports the Mennonite right to refuse to serve and to reject violence in all of its forms.

      Those of you who condemn the Mennonites sound as if you would remove their right to choose. You would take away their freedom. Shame..................

      June 26, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  2. John E

    It's one thing to choose not to sing the National Anthem. it's yet another thing to say that the reason is that the school and its people don't support the country. And you also don't mind the federal monies that you receive through the pockets of students.

    You say you follow Christ. Christ was not too big on hypocrites. I remember He threw them out of the Temple, for one thing.

    If you don't like our country, that is your right.

    I have an idea. GET OUT.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:16 am |
    • Robthinksyouarewrong

      You first.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:52 am |
    • Joseph

      So, nobody finds it hypocritical that they refuse to sing the national anthem but have no problem taking federal money? I;m not say it;s not their right to do so, but if you're so strong in your belief that you don;t support our country, isn't it a little silly to take their money.

      June 26, 2011 at 7:31 am |
    • da son

      And what if through your religious faith, you don't believe in any true man made country. The Planet doesn't have any true country borders, look at a picture from space. Other than natural borders like mountains, desert, and oceans, people and animals are free to go about wherever they please, as long as they have the means to. Birds migrate long distances because they have the means, a snail may be confined to just a small area.

      The idea that you have to Leave is exactly the opposite of true freedom. I don't believe in that cool-aide you are drinking so I must leave?? Political greed has led to nothing but bloodshed in the world, always have, always will. I have no problem if a religous group choose to follow their spiritual leader/god and shun various artificial aspect of that world.

      June 26, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • Jerry

      Thank you John..... Well said.

      June 26, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Calvin

      Because that is such a viable option with modern immigration laws...

      June 26, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  3. Big D

    He's a Jesus freak. "Yawns* God Bless the US Military for protecting us from radicals who follow religion before common sense.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:15 am |
  4. Spencer

    It is ironic that sometimes the people who yell the loudest about "freedom" are the most severe critics of those who exercise that freedom by making unpopular choices.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:13 am |
    • Ralph

      We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

      June 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • life101

      You couldn't be more correct....

      June 26, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  5. batigol47

    Ironic that these anabaptists who were so forward thinking on separation of church and state fought a war and took over a city in an attempt to establish a theocracy.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:12 am |
    • PastorPJ

      You are referring to Munster...the tragic outcome of this event galvanized Anabaptist Christians to commit themselves to non-violence. We remember that event as an important call to recognizing the separation of church and state and the way that power corrupts. I don't think that you would find an Anabaptist-Mennonite who looks positively on this short-lived chapter in our history at the beginning of the movement.

      June 26, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  6. Ygg

    You don't have to sing the Star Spangled Banner, but don't complain when companies omit "Under God" form the Pledge.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:12 am |
    • Robthinksyouarewrong

      I suspect you will not find Mennonites pledging allegiance to a flag.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:53 am |
    • Prometheus

      I have no problem with people who omit "Under God" from the pledge or their beliefs regarding the pledge as long as they don't use our currency...you know..."In God We Trust" and all that. Do your business without our currency. Stand by your silly beliefs.

      June 26, 2011 at 8:47 am |
    • jen

      @Prometheus:

      Uh that is stupid - we have no alternative but to use US money - believe me, i wish 'in god we trust' was not on our money, but there is no alternative - there is an alternative to not having to say 'under god' in the pledge...why is that so hard for you to understand?

      June 26, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • ohknowudont

      @Jen
      There are plenty alternatives. I'm sure you could find plenty of other countries to live in that don't offend you with having a reference to god on their currency.

      June 26, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  7. julius ceazar

    human nature is wat we all have in common regardless of gender race belief economic stature....that being said no1 is perfect so remember that before you judge...peace mofo's lol..

    June 26, 2011 at 4:09 am |
    • dano973

      It's Caesar not ceazar... mofo

      June 26, 2011 at 6:06 am |
  8. Carissa

    Why are they unable to honor our nation's anthem AS WELL as honor their faith? And aren't they taking for granted the fact that they are NOT persecuted today in part b/c they are citizens of the United States? The National Anthem commemorates our nation's independence from a monarchy, which was, sadly, achieved through revolution that entailed violence. I strongly support the separation of church and state, am a Democrat, and was a military spouse for 8 years, and I believe that patriotism is a virtue that is underrated. The reason they can cling to their "values" is because of our history. Why can they not honor that?

    June 26, 2011 at 4:09 am |
    • Emilio Dumphuque

      Yeah, force them to ingenuously worship the state!
      That'll learn 'em!

      June 26, 2011 at 4:17 am |
    • Brian

      Sadly our nations citizens are lazy and selfish.They do not even know our countries history let alone the meaning of the anthem or what it stands for... Often in the US the LEGAL immigrants who become citizens show far more nationalism because they have fled situations of cruelty, injustice, opression and hardship in their former countries...and know how lucky they are to live here.....Meanwhile our natural born countrymen take the freedoms we have for granted and spit in the eye of those who have fallen to defend it......which is their right under our laws...however it does personally annoy me.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:40 am |
    • Tom

      The gradual development of the tradition of our national anthem is interesting as it bears on how strongly some in this forum regard its essential importance as an American icon. The Star Spangled Banner was penned around 1814 during the War of 1812 as Francis Scott Key observed the defense of Fort McHenry in Maryland some 38 years after the Declaration of Independence. The poem written by Key has four stanzas (we only sing the first), was set to the tune of a popular British drinking song and did not become the National Anthem until 1931 (117 years after being written). The fourth stanza of Key's poem contains the phrase "In God We Trust" which became an official motto of the United States in 1956.

      Schloneger's article is well written and argued. His essay exudes respect and reason and it is principled. He is not divisive nor does he insist that anyone who disagrees with him should find the door. There was no national anthem in 1776, but if there was, I doubt that the Founding Fathers would have a problem with his beliefs or their application in his context.

      June 26, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  9. 1nd3p3nd3nt

    I suppose being a citizen of a country is an offense too? How about paying taxes?
    You don't think you can pledge your support to a country and a religion at the same time, they're mutually exclusive?

    ..this is one of the reasons why theocratic schools scare me. Where's the critical thought in this article? Does it even make sense? Would you join a draft if we had one? Do you vote? It's the national anthem for the love of god

    June 26, 2011 at 4:08 am |
  10. Peikovian

    People will fight and die for his freedom to do nothing.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:07 am |
    • Tim Hawkins U.S.M.C.

      Many men and women already have.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:16 am |
    • Brian

      And they will continue to do so....

      June 26, 2011 at 4:54 am |
    • dano973

      Our soldiers fight for their own families not for these leaches. We should be the 'evil' government and take their land, kick the leaches out of our country. Give that land to someone in another country who deserves it. Clearly these people don't.

      June 26, 2011 at 6:05 am |
  11. Eddie

    Look, thats great you have an out there get attention religion, im all for anyone having there own beliefs n gods, but i can promise you one thing, i ever have ANYONE standing in front of me at a ball game wearing a cover (thats a hat for all yall redneck ignant folk) it will be removed and you will be embarresed infront of all who are showing respect. You dont like it,... Go to a lawyer and cry for some more media attention. I have no problem showing you world wide what kinda cause you represent, however.... Might wanna pack a lunch & bring someone like bruce lee, but hey.... He had more respect than you would ever have. GOD BLESS OUR UNITED STATES SPORTS AND BELIEFS!!!!

    June 26, 2011 at 4:07 am |
    • Abe

      Nice impotent rage, you must be a tough guy, you don't belong in a nuanced dialog about anything, Fox has shout forums if you need to express yourself

      June 26, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • Sunnyside1979

      When you call someone an "ignorant redneck" it is wise to use at least spell check. More preferably, reread before you post for any grammatical errors, and wait until the poison leaves your body (i.e. wait until you are sober).

      June 27, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  12. FredinVicksburg

    "The rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air" refer to rockets and bombs being fired by the British attackers, not by the defenders. The national anthem commemorates the fact that the nation survived the attack.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:06 am |
  13. Humanity

    Despite the beautiful opinion about this sect, I wonder if it is truly following Jesus teaching, or just another bigot like the mainstream religions.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:06 am |
  14. dave nelson

    Sir, whether or not i agree with your views, i will not hesitate to defend your right to express them or put them to use. How can it be wrong to eschew an anthem that clearly condones violence, a practice strictly against your religion? Once again, we shun that which we do not understand. These people, from my experience, are kind, loving, and understanding folk who merely wish to live their lives as they see fit. Who amongst you wants any less for their own lives? At least they dont try to shove their religion down your throat and then kill you when you refuse to go along with them. America was founded by those fleeing religious persecution. Seems like some of us have forgotten that. At least they gave the song a chance.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:06 am |
  15. pugs

    And CNN pushes forward anything that might generate more Christian vs Atheist web traffic to the top! Yay for sweet web traffic cash!

    June 26, 2011 at 4:05 am |
  16. LG

    If you ask me; this country needs a few shots of Civic-Nationalism in the arm.

    ...Quite a few.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:04 am |
    • Robthinksyouarewrong

      The last thing any country needs is Nationalism.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:55 am |
    • Earnán

      No, Rob, the last thing any country needs is arrogant holier-than-thou leftists such as yourself.

      June 26, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • MooseKnuckle

      Nationalism is a good thing. The USA is better than other countries. We are moral, kind, giving, compassionate, and we will kick you butt if you mess with us. Earnan, or whatever the heck your name is....Nationalism is not a Leftist belief. They would have the USA bend mover and take it in the shorts.

      June 26, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  17. steve jordan

    Only n America!..

    June 26, 2011 at 4:03 am |
    • John D

      Of course "only in America."

      Anabaptists were brutally persecuted in Europe; that's why they came here–to enjoy the liberty to practice their faith according to their own consciences.

      But I gather from the comments here that not all Americans think freedom of religion is a good idea.

      June 26, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
  18. Chris Montgomery

    I called this college a month ago when this story first broke, I spoke to the women in charge of PR and I also spoke to "Richard" who was the "Dean" for Students. They both told me that this is because they do not support the nation or what it stands for. They both said "Why would I support a national anthem of this country, I don't support the country" I then asked about their federal aid, they said that they get none. I then asked how many of their students were on scholarships and financial aid. They said most. I asked how many of those students got FEDERAL financial aid – Richard said "many" I said then is it not obvious that this school s getting funding from the federal government? He said "no" I asked if they RETURNED the money then that came from the federal student loans, and Richard said "of course not" I asked if they got deducations in their taxes or paid in any taxes as a school he said "no more than any other school" meaning no they do not. So they will TAKE from this country but not give to it. He said that they "banned" the national anthem. I asked how this is different than the Nazi Party banning books. He said "well like so many others you are calling us a Nazi" I encourage EVERYONE to call the school and tell them to GET OUT of the country that fought for their freedoms and their rights. I did – and I had over ONE HUNDRED friends also call to register complaints. Also, we called those groups who do business with the school and also called the businesses in the area and told them that if they do business with the school – or hire their students – we will not do business with them or their national companies. Stick it to them in their pocket books to get them to change or leave.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:03 am |
    • FDRwasasocialist

      Well, Chris good job you read up on Nazi's because that is where the idea came for the pledge of allegiance.
      Everyone has the right not to say the pledge or have the national anthem played. It doesn't matter if they are federally funded. This school is far from being Nazi's. Nazi's require people to say pledges and believe in the government and what the government does for the people. Hence why the pledge was created to instill nationalist pride just like the Nazi's did with their salutes and pledging the Hitler. You are ignorant and trying to take away freedom's from groups that don't think like you. You yourself are just like the Nazi's maybe you read too much about their indoctrination and have gotten yourself confused.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:13 am |
    • tik

      So are you saying his school should compromise their integrity and values, because the govenment funds the school? Think of it from their perspective, it is their right to sing the anthem or not. That is what Martin Luther King was about equality and freedom. If they don't want to sing it, they shouldn't have to. Your suggestion that money should make them sing it, is disturbing, and certainly lacks ethical and moral decision making. Our faith is with God, the leader of our lives, not with government policy.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:14 am |
    • Yuri Pelham

      Our country is a killing machine. We claim to be a Christian nation but don't behave that way. These people are doing what Jesus taught. The rest of us.. lip service. Pacifists don't sing about the rockets red glare. We are having our children killed in Afghanistan. Focus on that. Child sacrifice is frowned on by Bible.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:14 am |
    • tik

      It is also unfortunate that you would take it upon yourself to create financial damage to this group. That you would create damage to their reputation. A very sad state of affirs, you should be ashamed of yourself.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:16 am |
    • Mireland

      I can't even begin to get into all the things wrong with this comment.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:27 am |
    • Brian

      Damn right our nation is a killing machine! The most powerfull and best at it the world has ever known!....To all who whine and do your bible chatter denouncing this fact. It is this violence that stole the nation from its indigenous people. it is this war machine that has defended our borders and won multiple invasions of our soil and withstood attacks domestic and abroad. So it is the absolute fact we are a nation of violence that keeps you safe at night and your kids from being the play things of foriegn soldiers....Religion is not to keep us peacefull it is to keep us in line....without it most of the pathetic masses would be insane hedonists..or just as bad become so depressed as to be useless...So wake up you are in a nation of fighters....spoiled often lazy but blood splatered warriors none the less...You can worship whatever God you want in our borders but when the nation is in peril we fight to defend it as a unified whole...

      June 26, 2011 at 4:53 am |
    • Robthinksyouarewrong

      @Brian you are wrong. You have not seen or done violence. PS3 games do not count. Those who have seen that kind of violence do not worship it.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:57 am |
    • dano973

      I guess none of you CHRISTIANS have noticed that our country is currently at war with ISLAM. Do you think the Muslims who seek to take over this country are going to give you religious freedom? They are going to give you a choice just like they've done to every other nation they've ultimately invaded... choose Muhammed or choose death. That should be an easy decision. Unfortunately it was avoidable had you supported the country who was trying to protect you.

      June 26, 2011 at 5:59 am |
    • BG

      @ Chris Montgomery

      Good job. Very, very good job. Don't let up.

      Kudos

      June 26, 2011 at 7:13 am |
    • wantstoknow

      I'm with you! If they do not support the country/government, then why are they willing to take federal financial aid and tax breaks? They should be totally self sufficient.

      June 26, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • DENNIS

      If your going to fabricate a story to keep a flame burning, you realllllllllllllllllly need to do a better job than the one you posted. It is so lame

      June 26, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • morgan painter

      Our government does NOT fund this school.

      Student loans fund the students education. The students will owe that money to the lender when they graduate. The government gets that loan money back paid for by the students regardless of which college they attend.

      SHEESH people, that is really grasping at straws.

      June 26, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • jlapro

      What an uneducated idiot you are. The college is not receiving federal aid, but the students who attend the school are. They have every right to get the same educational loan/aid benefits that other students do.

      You've demonstrated that you have absolutely no knowledge of the history of this county and the religious sects that fled persecution in europe and other places for freedom of religion in America. Generations of Menonites and Amish has been in this county since before the Revolutionary War.

      If you want to persecute them for their beliefs you, and the other UnAmerican trolls who posted here are the ones that need to get the hell out of this country and found your own, where everyone has to salute the flag and sing the national anthem or get shot!!

      June 26, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • THINKthenTYPE

      So if I understand you correctly. You believe that anyone who enjoys the benefits of the US, benefits like freedom, should be forced to say the pledge of allegiance?

      And you call THEM a hypocrite?

      June 28, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  19. holly

    So, was it Jim Bob or Joe Bob? You kind of went back and forth between the two. Darn that corn likker.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:02 am |
  20. V Saxena

    Personally, I could careless what whether or not he sings it. In fact, why is this even up for debate? WHO CARES!? Sing what you want. And anybody who has a problem can suck on an egg.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:02 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.