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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. Gonzo

    There are a few key points in this article that I believe need to be addressed and even expanded upon so that we may somehow help this misunderstood Christian sect to fully achieve what the author has enlightened us to.

    "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."
    -Name one religion that has not at one time or another been the focus of genocide, torture, or government oppression... I also ask when was the last time one of the humble Anabaptists has been killed for his or her personal beliefs?

    "Although there certainly are diverse viewpoints among individual Mennonites today, we continue to advocate for the strict separation of church and state."
    -I completely agree. That being said I also believe that since the Anabaptists feel so strongly about this separation that they should not only start paying taxes "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." but should have to back pay all taxes that the organization has been exempt from.

    "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."
    -This one really gets me. If this was truly a core value of the Anabaptist then why are they even in this glorious Country of ours. The only reason that this article exist is due to the men and woman who have sacrificed their time, families, health, and oftentimes life. I will believe this statement when the Anabaptist give up all the luxuries, privileges, and rights of this Great Nation... Walk the walk.

    "The world cannot know that there is an alternative to violence and war without a people of peace making peace."
    -I'm not really sure if this quote is a hint for the legalization of marijuana or merely naivety. The concept of peace on earth is very appealing but fundamentally absurd. There will always be greed, violence, and those who revel in destruction for the sake of destroying. If one group were to allow another to kill them at will then that group would cease to exist. Once again I reference the American military. It is because of these fine individuals that the Anabaptist even exist. Do you really think an organization that is bent on killing all of those who do not believe the way they do would just allow a peaceful community to exist?

    I respect your beliefs and have no problem with the Anabaptist way of life... BUT... If an organization, religion, or individual really has a problem with America, to the extent that they refuse to acknowledge their duty as a citizen to someday defend it... well go over to one of the more sandy / mountainous parts of the world and see how long your pacifism and beliefs sustain you when you don't have others who are willing to kill "bad guys" and break their stuff.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:31 am |
    • telloh

      The fundamental ideal of America is freedom, and that includes freedom to "have a problem" with America.

      Not a bad concept at all.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:37 am |
    • Open Mind

      "Name one religion that has not at one time or another been the focus of genocide, torture, or government oppression... I also ask when was the last time one of the humble Anabaptists has been killed for his or her personal beliefs?"

      I believe the author's point was not that they alone we persecuted, but that this past persecution helped to characterize the movement as one willing to take unpopular views ... even to the point of being killed for them. By this example, he showed that they are historically non-conformist.

      "I completely agree. That being said I also believe that since the Anabaptists feel so strongly about this separation that they should not only start paying taxes "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." but should have to back pay all taxes that the organization has been exempt from."

      This argument seems superfluous and a straw-man argument, because even if you mean to argue that all relgions should pay taxes, that really doesn't have much bearing on the author's points at all.

      "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."
      "This one really gets me. If this was truly a core value of the Anabaptist then why are they even in this glorious Country of ours. The only reason that this article exist is due to the men and woman who have sacrificed their time, families, health, and oftentimes life. I will believe this statement when the Anabaptist give up all the luxuries, privileges, and rights of this Great Nation... Walk the walk."

      This "Great Nation" is great for many reasons, one of which is the freedom to act and believe whatever one wishes to believe, including a very pointed notion of religious freedom. You may not like what the Mennonites believe, but if you truly uphold the values and principles of the United States, then you cannot expect to compel them to give up their beliefs. Until a relgious belief causes harm to the rights of another (e.g. honor killings), it is and should be immune to such charges.

      "I'm not really sure if this quote is a hint for the legalization of marijuana or merely naivety. The concept of peace on earth is very appealing but fundamentally absurd. There will always be greed, violence, and those who revel in destruction for the sake of destroying. If one group were to allow another to kill them at will then that group would cease to exist. Once again I reference the American military. It is because of these fine individuals that the Anabaptist even exist. Do you really think an organization that is bent on killing all of those who do not believe the way they do would just allow a peaceful community to exist? "

      The misconception of "peace" as having something to do with the legalization of marijuana is a pretty transparent attempt to saddle the author's argument with unrelated issues. If the author wished to legalize marijuana, he made no actual attempt (or even mention of the subject). Religious groups have often advocated for peace in the face of nationalist and patriotic pressures. Those who object to violence on relgious grounds are thus exempt from the draft, because the United States does not compel it's citizens to break their religious beliefs.

      "I respect your beliefs and have no problem with the Anabaptist way of life... BUT... If an organization, religion, or individual really has a problem with America, to the extent that they refuse to acknowledge their duty as a citizen to someday defend it... well go over to one of the more sandy / mountainous parts of the world and see how long your pacifism and beliefs sustain you when you don't have others who are willing to kill "bad guys" and break their stuff."

      This is a sore misreading of the author's intent and statements. His belief that his faith in god is the first and highest calling, is in keeping with the teachings of his, and most (probably yours as well), religions. By his stated beliefs, he would not go out into the world and kill or fight others, so your suggestion will likely have little impact.

      In many regards, your reply only serves to reinforce the author's main argument: The mennonites made a decision based on faith, knowing full well that it would fly in the face of patriotic and nationalist sentiments, causing them to be viewed negatively by those who held such beliefs.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:54 am |
    • Mighty7

      You neo-fascist imbecile: There is NO LAW or REQUIREMENT for a person to "sing the national anthem" at a sporting game. You are just like the Iranian Republican Guard that has "morality police" running around telling people how to dress, cut ther hair and honor their nation....or else.

      In honor of your idiocy, next baseball game I am singing "Yellow Submarine". And there is not ONE THING you can do about it.

      June 26, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • ohiogb

      The author doesn't suggest that other religious groups haven't been persecuted, simply a truth about anabaptist experience.
      I'm an anabapist – I do pay taxes.
      I would think most American's would agree that freedom is not free.
      I think you are confusing the Anabaptist movement with your understanding of Christianity throughout history. This author appears to be pretty honest about the short falls of Christians not always living out our faith perfectly.
      The author doesn't say he "has a problem with America". Anabaptist would advocate a Russian, English, or Uganda citizen also maintaining separation of church and state for the benefit of both "church" and "state".

      June 26, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • JSpinner

      Working for peace is defending this country. Look at all the crying over family values and the Christina heritage that is screeching out of the Right. You certainly won't get more biblically based values than you will find here. There are many ways of defending our freedom without hold a gun. Yes, we know if we drive ambulances it frees up that driver to go shoot, but who do you think the medics of the wars are? Who is supplying the food the soldiers eat? Who is moving all that stuff from one place to another so people can fight? There is compromise for many. This is NOT a mindless or even easy position. The fact that they changed the policy then changed it back speaks to the diversity of opinion within the policy making body of the college. This is not anti-american but anti nation at all, any nation.

      June 26, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  2. Xavier

    LOL! Man. I feel sorry for some of you non-believers. The way you guys and gals choose to believe God is just some regular nobody who you can talk poorly about and not suffer some repercussions!He loves each and every one of us. He's already forgiven you for sins you havnt even commited. But none off us should tempt the Lord thy God. WOW! We are all in for a rude awakening. I know many of you wanna believe that science is the reason we are here or we evolved from primates...cmon you're just lying to yourself. There are so many things that happen or have happened in our worlds history that cannot be explained. I'm a retired SSG US Army. Four combat tours to Iraq. That Anthem is a symbol of our nations struggle for freedom and independance. In a time when people believed highly in the church and still do today. Something my brothers and sisters are still fighting for in Iraq and Afganistan...singing it is a reminder of how lucky we are to be Americans. Just because God was used in its inspiration..doesn't mean we should turn this into a religious war. Everyone of you are selfish..let it go. There are men and women as young as 18 dying out there on the battle field and whether they believe in God or not they believe in that flag and its anthem. Its not about your school or your stupid opinions on folks religion is about the people who have died before you fighting for those freedoms that allow us to have these stupid arguments about each other.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:30 am |
    • telloh

      Shrug, sorry dude, I appreciate your service, but some people believe in an invisible man who lives in the sky and can read our minds and some don't.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:33 am |
    • john

      human beings created the idea of a man in the sky. god never mentioned it. so you are biased against god because of man.. which is werid

      June 26, 2011 at 4:36 am |
    • telloh

      John, god never mentioned anything!

      June 26, 2011 at 4:38 am |
    • john

      cant hear a radio if you dont tune in. simple as that

      June 26, 2011 at 4:41 am |
    • telloh

      Mental hospitals are full of people who hear voices. That is an interesting argument.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:44 am |
    • john

      who said anything about voices? goes to show how limited your mind is. you subscribe to too many man made practices. got you filtered. plus sarcasm is the first sign of fear, and that no healthy

      June 26, 2011 at 4:50 am |
    • telloh

      So .... when you said "tuning in to a radio" you did not mean a voice?

      Interesting radio.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:52 am |
    • A soldier

      I'm currently serving in the Army and I find no faults in this article. I myself choose not to say the pledge of allegiance and not to sing the national anthem. I respect what they were originally meant for, but I do not believe that pledge nor the anthem hold the same meaning they did. People are so ignoorant to see the greater picture of things. They would rather stay in their dogmatic minds and not open their eyes. It shouldn't be about america and some song. Why are we celebrating this country instead of celebrating humanity. Why is anyone concerned about people who dont sing a song or recite a pledge that doesn't speak for everyone. I think this college has the right idea. If we truly are going to be a country that represents everyone, as it was originally intended, then either take out the national anthem and the pledge of allegiance, or rewrite thhem altogether.

      June 26, 2011 at 5:02 am |
  3. mmi16

    I believe in myself.

    That is all the religion I need.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:29 am |
    • john

      you will let yourself down. you have a tendency to compare yourself with those who suffer less, so you will never grow. you have a bad religion

      June 26, 2011 at 4:32 am |
    • Magic

      If you are stranded naked and hungry in a rainstorm and have the philosophy that "God will provide", you will be standing there naked and hungry. The only way that you will survive or be "saved" is through your own ingenuity and actions or by the help of others. No fantasy "God" will parachute you down an umbrella, a set of clothes and a cheeseburger. Any inner strength or ideas that you come up with are from your own brain.

      We are on our own... sorry if that is a harsh reality to accept.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:53 am |
  4. Brent

    The bible says the world belongs to Satan, that includes US. Here's a ultimatum, no division between countries, just love and spirit and a perfect paradise earth that Jesus bought for us that will soon be.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:28 am |
    • telloh

      Maybe the USA needs a little satanic influence ... the christian god certainly has done nothing to help this country!

      June 26, 2011 at 4:30 am |
    • john

      telloh. the fact that you are confused with god, and what man has done in spite of god is enough to show you that there is already satanic influence. dont be naive

      June 26, 2011 at 4:34 am |
    • telloh

      John, john allegedly created us, so we are doing god's work. He also created evil, suffering, sickness, torture, etc. God is all knowing, all powerful, and omniscient. He did it all.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:42 am |
  5. Joeddy McDillian

    I find it funny that a religious college whose students and faculty live in the U.S.A. and secure their freedoms would be so adamantly against playing the national anthem at a sports game, a small token for the sacrifices that have been endured for the pleasure of their pastimes. Your religion is not an island, you live in the U.S., are protected by the U.S. (sometimes bloodily as you claim to be against), and are most likely U.S. citizens. So have a little patriotism!

    June 26, 2011 at 4:25 am |
    • telloh

      Do we really need to play the anthem before every single sporting event? It seems to me that Americans prior to WW2, when the practice started, were just as patriotic. Are you saying otherwise?

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

      Why should they do that. Their religion says they shouldn't. We guarantee the freedom of the exercise of that religion.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:40 am |
    • A soldier

      There's a difference between patriotism and extremism. And I can clearly tell that many americans have crossed that line. Most of us fall into the extremist side and really are no better than those trying to harm us. Come on people, who cares about a song?

      June 26, 2011 at 5:08 am |
  6. Thomas

    1. "That’s because we recognize only one Christian nation, the church, the holy nation" This makes me think they should not be full citizens or have the ability to vote etc. When you're a citizen of this country, you recognize this nation (The United States of America) as the only nation you will be loyal too. It is understood when you are born here and it is in the oath you take if you become a citizen from somewhere else. I'm all for their religious freedom but if they won't recognize the U.S. as the nation where they live and should be loyal to I don't see why they should have citizenship. Take their citizenship, give them some other status such as resident where they pay taxes to be here but don't have the same privileges of citizenship.

    2. "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." Love this quote because its sounds really nice but isn't realistic. Peoples like this are wiped from history. Good peoples still thrive and remain, but they are the ones that know the balance of violence and peace, they are the ones that know the balance of mutual aid and independence. You can only have peace by having the force of violence to back you up and you can only have mutual aid when each individual person is actually motivated to do their part.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:25 am |
    • Robthinksyouarewrong

      1. No. We guarantee the freedom of religion.
      2. Maybe. We'll have to see.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:41 am |
    • JSpinner

      Thomas #1 The nation they are loyal to is of God, not this world so you have kind of an odd take on that one. #2 All things acted on in faith lack a certain level of available proof, including the possibility of God, the possibility of peace, and the possibility of love. What you have to do is to act as though it is possible. If you don't then it isn't possible. The act of being peaceful in the face of violence, physical or verbal, is a step towards the reality of peace. Call it impractical but it is the only possible way to achieve the goal of peace. There is much literature to show it does work. Because it isn't dramatic it doesn't hit the history books or the news. The violence that doesn't happen is a personal success. It starts with the belief that it is possible, then the action.

      June 26, 2011 at 10:37 am |
  7. A 15 Year old

    I find it funny that this Author says "That’s because we recognize only one Christian nation". Well I hate to break it to you but your referring to your Mennonite Nation. This is because all of the Sane Christians aren't afraid to support OUR nation that not only supports them. But is protecting us from Terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda and Hezbollah. So please asses what it means to be a christian. And if you don't like what this country stands for GO, LEAVE! This is not China.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:24 am |
    • pr

      are u sure you are a 15 years old. you knowledge shows a way younger person. stupid

      June 26, 2011 at 4:31 am |
    • Robthinksyouarewrong

      China does not allow the free expression of religion.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:42 am |
    • Kevin

      Ha ha, so not a 15 Year old.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:42 am |
    • telloh

      Every christian believes his or her personal flavor is the only true christianity and all others are wrong. There are a million of them. It gives you a headache if you try and keep up.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:50 am |
    • Sunnyside1979

      "Sane Christians".... Jesus commands us to love everyone, weather or not, we think they are right. It is no wonder 'the church' in general is loosing ground, we cant even practice what preach among ourselves.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  8. jasonda

    This is Newsworthy? Really CNN? No wonder why you are a completely irrelevant "news" organization.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:24 am |
    • Open Mind

      You do realize you are in the "belief blog" section of the site... right?

      June 26, 2011 at 5:05 am |
  9. Alienxfb14

    This is the worst, most pointless article I've ever read. Not only do I want to punch the author right in the neck, I also demand the last 5 minutes of my life back. It makes no sense whatsoever, and not once did the author give a valid (or even sane!) reason as to why exactly he does not partake in the singing of the national anthem. It's articles like this that make me think "Is small-scale genocide REALLY all that bad? I mean, isn't there just a few people the world can do without?!"

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

      Read it again. It's a ritual of the civic religion. They don't participate.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:43 am |
    • Open Mind

      I think Rob is right.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:56 am |
  10. HailTheSkyBeing

    Surprising the Christians got the wrong idea about something. Who would've thunk it.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:22 am |
    • john

      you are a sheep jumping on the trendy bandwagon of bashing christians. sooo boring, and bigoted

      June 26, 2011 at 4:29 am |
    • Robthinksyouarewrong

      That's circular and not very constructive. Mennonites are Christians as well

      June 26, 2011 at 4:32 am |
  11. Kevin

    Who cares? They're right, but for all the wrong reasons. I don't see why singing a song makes you a good person anyway. Because a few people in Congress 200 years after the government was created told you to? Give me a break

    June 26, 2011 at 4:21 am |
    • Alienxfb14

      Because it shows that you give a darn, and recognize something that is greater than the individual. That's the problem society has these days. America doesn't stand for anything anymore because its citizens don't. And you're a walking example of this.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:32 am |
    • Robthinksyouarewrong

      @Alienxfb14 They do recognize something that is greater than the individual. The recognize their creator. If you recognize the nation as something better than the individual, that's ok. I think that's ok. But you are in awful company.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:47 am |
    • Alienxfb14

      Oh yea? And what's that awful company? Not you? Fine by me.

      Living here in Los Angeles (tinsletown), I see the arrogance, individualism, and overall disregard for anybody but themselves. Which is one reason this city receives alot of flak (and also why they don't deserve a Football team to sing the National Anthem at games of). This is where you belong!

      June 26, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  12. goody

    God n gov go 2gether. Wout God there would be no gov or country

    June 26, 2011 at 4:21 am |
    • christopher

      And without the Easter Bunny there would be no America. (you worship your imaginary fairy and I will worship mine)

      June 26, 2011 at 4:28 am |
    • Chuck

      yah, Christopher. I guess we all know what kind of fairies you worship.

      June 27, 2011 at 6:41 am |
  13. The Ultimate Truth

    While I'm in agreement that children should not be brain washed by their parents belief and therefore only adults should be given the choise to beleive or not (although I doubt families in your religion would be so generous), I cannot abide by any group (let alone religion) say they are above the law of the land. In this was you are no different to those Muslim Terrorists who claim an ultimate truth. You cannot prove your belief is more true than theirs so the only way to moderate is to say ALL people must adhere to the laws of the land (if that law is made by the free will of the people).

    I couldn't care less if say the American Anthem or not, but what I hear you describe as the "why" is far more worrisome...

    June 26, 2011 at 4:20 am |
    • another Mennonite

      Do you seriously claim that it is the law of the land to sing the National Anthem? Baseball (and the other team sports followed) wrapped themselves tightly in the flag for fear of being shut down during the world war(s). Are we to believe that attending sporting events is a patriotic function that should be accompanied by the National Anthem? When you attend a ball game it doesn't mean you forgot that you live in America. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson wrote in a memorable decision in the 40's that no one has the authority to demand beliefs of a citizen or demand acts to support those beliefs.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:47 am |
    • Open Mind

      Nations which require acts of loyalty are generally considered facist or authoritarian. Nations which allow freedom to peacefully dissent and freedom of expression are, well, considered free. Which one do you live in?

      June 26, 2011 at 4:59 am |
  14. peakarach

    Does white Christians people ever realize that Jesus was an Arab man from the Middle East?

    June 26, 2011 at 4:19 am |
    • john

      and?

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

      Shhhhhh you are going to ruin it for them. They have no idea...they think he looks like Barry Gibb...mind you when he was younger of course...

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

      All Semitic people are not Arabs, but all Arabs are Semitic.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:48 am |
    • NorCalMojo

      Arabs came later. The Arab expansion was in the 600's.

      June 26, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • imabitodd

      Jesus did NOT look like a young Barry Gibb. Every good Christian knows Jesus looked like a young Ted Nugent.

      June 26, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • MooseKnuckle

      Actually, no. He may have been persian or North African but not a AHRAB!

      June 26, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  15. Not an idiot

    People confuse the National Anthem with the Pledge of Allegiance.

    I dont care if you all decide not to say the pledge. I find it the same as what the Nazis did with their kids. But the National Anthem is different entirely.

    God nor Jesus are not in the anthem, so why are you bringing them into this? This is not a declaration of allegiance, it is a commemoration of the bravery of our longpast families who set aside their beliefs and convictions to protect other people and their beliefs from slaughter and oppression at the hands of lackeys of a monarch.

    Much like Christians use the cross to remind them of the sacrifice of Jesus to help us, on which he was perched, Americans use the flag to remind us of the sacrifices our families and neighbors made to help us. Our flag was perched on that fort and so long as it waved, the fort was ours, and we were free. By God's will we remained free, and by God's will torrential rains put out fires in Washington during the occupation, and by God's will a tornado touched down in the middle of the British Army and wrecked many ships.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:19 am |
    • Alienxfb14

      Thank you. Someone who gets it. You live up to your name, and I commend you.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:26 am |
    • Open Mind

      "Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first."
      ~ Charles de Gaulle

      One could say, by that view, that religion is necessarily at odds with patriotism and nationalism, because it teaches us to love all of god's creation. Not just our own people.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:31 am |
    • Jerry

      God is definitely mentioned in the National Anthem, just not in the first verse.
      Oh thus be it ever when free men shall stand
      between their homes and the war's desolation
      Blessed with victory and peace,
      may the heaven rescued land,
      praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation

      June 26, 2011 at 4:42 am |
    • Robthinksyouarewrong

      Ye Gods! God save the US. Because with "patriots" like yourself, she is going to need all the help she can get.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:50 am |
    • another Mennonite

      You claim that people set aside their beliefs to support the American Revolution by fighting for their country? That is a tough one to believe. You also say God is not mentioned in the National Anthem, but you are wrong. He is mentioned in the last verse, one which along with all verses after the first is never sung. I don't object to the Star Spangled Banner in the slightest, and I would gladly sing it at patriotic functions (for ex. July 4th, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Flag Day to name a few). I do think linking it to sporting events is an unnecessary stretch or are we to believe attending sporting events is a patriotic duty for all Americans. The truth is simple: In our country, no one has the right to tell you what your beliefs should be.

      June 26, 2011 at 5:08 am |
    • Charles de Gaulle

      Communists, Socialists and juuust a few Christian Democrats mixed in for flavor. That government worked pretty good for me. Maybe you should try it in America!

      June 26, 2011 at 7:27 am |
  16. alex wood

    Who cares. We choose to get so upset by the most ridiculous things in this country. Instead of caring whether or not a group of people blindly or deafly sing something why don't we simply stop and take a look at who we are as a people, not as a glee club.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:18 am |
  17. Sitnalta

    This is a long article for a very simple and trivial matter. There is absolutely no reason to sing the national anthem at a sports event. Maybe their specific reasons for ending it are a little silly, but it's their college, their business.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:18 am |
    • another Mennonite

      You are right that there is no reason to link the Anthem to sporting events. You spoiled it by demeaning Goshen's reasons as silly. You can certainly disagree with them, but silly they are not!

      June 26, 2011 at 5:11 am |
  18. Christopher Hitchens

    Religion is retarded.

    All religion.

    June 26, 2011 at 4:18 am |
    • john

      my dear cousin has down syndrome. id appreciate it if people could have some common decency and respect enough to not use the word retarded like this.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:26 am |
    • leftover

      I'm sure Hitchens wouldn't be too pleased with you appropriating his name, either.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:41 am |
  19. dave nelson

    I would highly recommend that every person on the planet do what i did and go on a journey of spiritual discovery. I was raised baptist, but found the religion lacking. For seventeen years, i studied a host of religions, finding similarities that spanned nearly all of them. The mennonites were among the ones i studied. I was thoroughly impressed. Even so, i chose another religion that predates most. I am a druid, although not a currently practicing one. I believe in father god and mother earth. I suppose some of you will take me to task on that, but i do not care.

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

      Hello Dave. I have known several druids.....I liked everyone of them.....nothing wrong with druids in my book...

      June 26, 2011 at 4:23 am |
  20. usmcssgt

    While I don't agree with the author's point of view, as a United States Marine, I fought for this country to give him the right to believe whatever he wants. Whether he appreciates that fact or not is up to him. Semper Fi

    June 26, 2011 at 4:17 am |
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About this blog

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.