July 1st, 2011
05:29 PM ET

Pastor explains, 'Why I don't sing the national anthem.'

On Friday, Mennonite pastor Mark Schloneger explained to CNN's Kyra Phillips his objection to singing the 'Star Spangled Banner.'

Early Schloneger wrote about it here on the belief blog. It was a topic that generated a lot of interest and over 4,000 comments.

You can read Schloneger's original post here.

You can read how people responded to the post here.

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- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church and state • Content Partner • Mennonite • TV-CNN Newsroom • United States • Virginia

soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. John

    In the book of Genesis 1, God created Adam & Eve. Gave them the means of choosing Good from Evil...and they chose evil. That's why God included brains with his creations. All living beings have that ability...to make choices.

    July 4, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  2. Odessa

    When the Founding Fathers talked about liberty, they never even imagined how idiotic and evil some Americans would be by becoming atheists and Sodomites.

    July 4, 2011 at 1:34 am |
    • Auntie Mabel

      That's funny because some of them were atheists and / or "sodomites".

      July 4, 2011 at 3:57 am |
    • Odessa

      Mabel, it's futile to try to repaint the history. They abhorred ungodliness and perversion.

      July 4, 2011 at 5:19 am |
    • Auntie Mabel

      Odessa, dear, you really are misinformed about America.
      Our Declaration of Independence put forth the main reasons why we were throwing off the shackles of England's religious monarchy and the oppression England was visiting upon the Colonies.
      The different Colonies had mixtures of different religious communities within each one. Co-existence was crucial if we were to unite as a country in the face of the brutal tyranny of the English king and the bullying of Parliament.
      Now we have a country that denies every religion the power to rule our country, and we are represented (extremely badly) in Congress by people we vote for.
      Instead of a king given authority by a church, we have a President who is given authority by the people.
      And we still have mixed communities with many different religions all living side-by-side.
      We ain't dead yet!
      Those leaders in the American Revolution were for the People of the Colonies. That's how we united into a country.
      We allow for the different religions to live side-by-side in peace. They are ruled by the laws of the country, not the laws of a single religion.
      That's Freedom with a capital "F".
      And that's what we are celebrating today!

      July 4, 2011 at 5:55 am |
    • Odessa

      Yeah, but they were all Christians or Christian-minded. Nothing else. You make me miss Germans.

      July 4, 2011 at 5:57 am |
    • Auntie Mabel

      Odessa, where do you get your false information?

      July 4, 2011 at 6:08 am |
    • Odessa

      Mabel, you've been brainwashed by the liberal activists in public schools. Read the Bible and everything original. The West got nothing intelligent if they had no Bible.

      July 4, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
  3. RillyKewl

    Say it, play it, or don't. This country gives you the freedom to despise the rights she provides you. That's fine. Just be sure to pay all your taxes in full. No special dispensation for you.

    July 3, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • RillyKewl

      you are, of course, free to leave + go practice your beliefs somewhere else.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  4. David o'connor

    Just can't believe i waisted my time watching this. What a hiprocresy.

    July 3, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  5. Coriolana

    So some bleating book-thumper doesn't like the song? Big effin' deal. Go elsewhere then.

    July 3, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  6. WonderSpring

    Atheists, I haven't said anything new apart from common knowledge of the historic Christian Orthodoxy. The New Testament Bible also calls atheists and immorals fools. Study the Bible and Christianity authentically if you want to refute anything. All of you are ranting ignorance with malice so far. The stupid statistics are true only for the people in the bottom levels. American atheists, the conclusion is you need to repent of your blasphemies.

    July 3, 2011 at 8:28 am |
    • Coriolana

      Oh shut it!

      July 3, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Albert Von Sachsen

      Yet another so called pastor who interprets the Bible literally, not having sufficient inteligence to see that God speaks in riddles and that most of us aren`t intelligent enough to get the message. Taking the Bible literally is the base of religious fanatics.

      July 3, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • WonderSpring

      Albert, I'm not a pastor. Woman should not be a pastor as she doesn't have spiritual authority over man. The Bible is coherent and has certain systems to study it just like any other subject in this world. Schools were set up in the West to study the Bible and then expanded. Jesus solved all the riddles. So be humble and learn it from God's people as you should; the Gospel is simple but the Bible is more profound than the deepest universe.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:26 am |
    • Auntie Mabel

      WonderSpring, if you think you don't have authority over a man, why are you posting at all?

      July 4, 2011 at 6:04 am |
    • Odessa

      ? Mabel, anyone can testify the truth. This is not a church setting but CNN blog.

      July 4, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
  7. Bucky Ball

    ........... meanwhile, back to the point at hand,
    YOU SAID atheists "messed up" the Garden of Eden.
    Apart from the fact that Genesis says nothing (even remotely) of the sort, I would not presume to comment on the Psalms,
    as I have not actually studied them, except to say that I v'aguely recall the translation of the word from Hebrew
    to the English word "fool" is a corruption of the Hebrew term which actually means (a person who is) "morally deficient", which might cast the statement in the psalm in a slightly different light.

    July 3, 2011 at 8:01 am |
    • Albert Von Sachsen

      The corruption you mention is also present in the translation of the commandment that saysthou shalt not kill, when it should say thou shalt not commit murder.

      July 3, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  8. justathought

    @you can lead a horse to water...I'm sorry, but you and very many other people, including many Christians, want to bring God down to human level; that can't be done. As humans, we can not fathom the Holiness of God. It is even said, the righiones of mankind is as "filthy rags" in the sight of God. And if you were to discover just what was meant by "filthy rags" you would understand how bad you really are, in fact all men, including Christians. So to bring God down to your level of thinking you have no understanding of God in the least. God is not just some big man in the sky.

    July 3, 2011 at 1:24 am |
    • Spotted her in one post again.

      Hi JUSTINAthought. Great disguise.

      July 3, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • WonderSpring

      @Spotted-, it's not me. You atheists are obssessed. Wait unil I come to America and get a citizenship and be your neighbor.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:34 am |
    • Lean n Mean

      You can't provide one single shred of evidence to prove your god exists, why should we listen to a single thing you have to say?
      Read a book, cure your ignorance.

      July 3, 2011 at 7:37 am |
    • John Richardson

      The god of the bible is a monster. Plain and simple. The fact that cowards worship that monster out of fear doesn't make them or him holy. Ut makes them pathetic and he's still a monster.

      July 3, 2011 at 8:23 am |
    • Albert Von Sachsen

      You can lead a horse to water, but if you can get the horse to swim on its back, you really have something

      July 3, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • WonderSpring

      The most evil, vicious, unrepentant criminals call justice a monstor. Atheists' problems are they have no sense of justice or authentic understanding of anything in life.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:30 am |
  9. justathought

    @bucky ball, maybe the word athiest is not found in the Bible, but David says in Pslam 14:1, The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. that's the definition of an athiest.

    July 3, 2011 at 12:56 am |
    • A better thought

      No, that's the definition of someone the writer didn't like.

      There. Fixed it for ya.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:37 am |
    • WonderSpring

      God called atheists fools because that's what they are. A cosmic fact.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:46 am |
    • Lean n Mean

      An atheist is someone who denies god because of a lack of evidence for a god. Care to provide evidence that your god exists? Doubt you could/would. When you realize that you are following the misguided words of Stone Age sheep rapists, and that those same people who claim to be chosen by god still don't have their act together... well, you look like the fool.

      July 3, 2011 at 7:43 am |
    • John Richardson

      Re the Psalms verse: It doesn't exactly sting when a fool calls you a fool, eh?

      July 3, 2011 at 8:25 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      No it doesn't. 😈

      July 3, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  10. Sir Craig

    Okay, enough of this idiot. It's clear he is a moron, blinded by religious hypocrisy. As I said earlier, this clown is little more than a more polite version of Shirley Phelps-Roper.

    July 2, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  11. Ted

    Kyra Phillips is getting old.

    July 2, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Aren't we all...

      July 2, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Tunk

      I don't know of anyone getting younger, do you?

      July 3, 2011 at 2:38 am |
  12. Haime52

    The article itself is enlightening, for those with eyes to see it. I, for one, applaud the Mennonite for their adherance to their principals. I find nothing wrong with our National Anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance, however, their reasoning is not totally unsound and not without basis or merit. It may be a bit over the top, in my view, but convictions are just that, convictions. If you don't have the stomach to hold on to your convictions against all odds, then you have no convictions at all. They are what you stand by, to the death. Many will fight and die for their country, few will stand and die for the convictions of their conscience.(please note that I did not say fight for religion, not in the militant sense)

    July 2, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  13. Reality

    Mennonites- too much inbreeding

    See http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00359580 for details.

    Next topic!!!

    July 2, 2011 at 8:22 am |
    • Guffaw

      Reality- too ignorant. HAHA

      July 2, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • Reality


      Obviously, you did not read the referenced study.

      July 3, 2011 at 8:52 am |
  14. Mark from Middle River

    Ok ... Lets look at the ads that are on this page

    Last Harry Potter movie
    Larry King.... didn't he retire??
    Konica Minolta

    Yeah, this is the Roman Colosseum ... We are just here to get clicks so they can sell more ads. Larry is right, they are getting bad about these reruns. The articles often times are the same as the scene in "The Last Castle" when the warden said put out one basketball and then watched the inmates tear into each other. On this occasion it allows CNN to go to konica minolta and sell ads.

    July 2, 2011 at 4:46 am |
    • mist

      keep on squirmin

      July 2, 2011 at 5:06 am |
    • Reality

      Almost as bad as the ads for Mother Angelica videos on EWTN, http://www.ewtn.org.

      July 2, 2011 at 8:28 am |
    • Atheist was never in (mentioned) in Genesis either in the entire bible, there was none, even a single one in the foxhole.

      It's because (atheists) they are irrelevent and immaterial.

      July 2, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Nice Use of the English Language

      English much?

      July 2, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      Clearly someone's toes got stepped upon. 😳

      July 2, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      Awww! it's mine! OUCH!

      July 3, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  15. WonderSpring

    It's always like the Garden of Eden. God made everything wonderful and beautiful, and atheists come and mess up everything with their evil insist on filthy autonomy. Natural consequence – expelling. Everyone suffers as a result of atheists' conducts.

    July 2, 2011 at 12:32 am |
    • It's thorazine and huggy jacket time for WonderSpring! Get the Soft Room Ready!

      Adam and Eve were atheists?!?!?!?!

      July 2, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • WonderSpring

      In rebellion, yes. Atheism is classified as godless autonomy in other words.

      July 2, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • Spiffy

      Did the voice inside your head you call "God" tell you to say that? Generally in our society when one hears voices in their head they are called crazy.

      July 2, 2011 at 2:06 am |
    • WonderSpring

      Guys, get some Christian systematic thology. The Gospel of Jesus Christ message is the simplest Good News on earth, but the Bible is the most profound, complex Book that requires one's everything. The world is not as simple as atheists want it to be.

      July 2, 2011 at 2:09 am |
    • apostate

      Worst fiction book ever.

      July 2, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      Speaking of the Garden of Eden, atheists, and the bible. You apparently have not read it. There is NO reference in Genesis, either before or after the expulsion, to anyone who does not believe in god(s). Can you cite the verse(s) where the term "atheist" is used ?

      July 2, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • You can lead a horse to water . . .

      I don't blame Adam and Eve for becoming atheists. I mean, God creates them as they are, with all their desires and imperfections, and he does so knowing exactly what they will do. And when they actually do it, God gets really mad at them! How crazy is that? He obviously knew what was going to happen, did a botch job building them, and gets mad at THEM for being exactly how he made them! Talk about failing to take responsibility for your actions when you blow it.

      Then God punishes them harshly for being as he made them and doing what he knew they were going to do when he made them, and he punishish the entire human race for the rest of eternity as well. Talk about guilt by association.

      From Adam and Eve's perspective, God is an angry, vengeful being who is either an incompetent craftsman who blamed them for his failings, or God is a sadistic jerk who totally set them up. Considering God was really angry again and wanted to kill off the entire human race by the time of Noah (God is an angry murderous SOB, isn't he), it seems obvious that God has a lot less control and ability to see the future than he wants you to believe.

      I don't blame Adam and Eve for becoming atheists at all: If I had been around somone one who was so inept, so unable to take responsibility for his actions, so really angry, so vengeful, and so unjust, I would not have believed in him either.

      And though this is satire, it does reveal two of the major problems atheists have with the Abrahamic religions. First, the stories told do not make a bit of sense. Second, if you take all of God's characteristics and think of a human being with them, your boss for example, you get a horrifically bad person. What would you think of a boss who demands you worship him constantly, who rewards people for being sycophants but harshly punishes really good people and effective workers who don't worship him, who blames others for his mistakes, who demands total obedience and subservience, who sets a lot of people up to be punished, and who regularly has extreme outbursts of violent rage?

      Yep, that's one really lousy boss.

      July 2, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • Atheist was never (mentioned) in Genesis either in the entire bible, there was none, even a single one in the foxhole.

      It's because (atheists) they are quite irrelevent and immaterial.

      July 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      OK. Well THAT makes perfect sense. 😈

      July 2, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  16. WonderSpring

    Present USA doesn't deserve Mennonites' singing. They sing plenty of "O Canada" verse #2.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
    • Get WonderSpring Her Lithium, Please! She Is Hallucinating New Verses To The Canadian Anthem!

      The second verse of "O! Canada"? Is this the magical mystery verse that only Jesus' special children can channel when they wear their aluminum foil hats? O! Canada has only one verse.

      July 2, 2011 at 12:11 am |
    • WonderSpring

      Yes, it does; it's like a hymn. Most European and North American national anthems are hymns. Look at the flags with cross. National do-cu-ments. Everything is Judeo-Christian. You don't deserve Europe or North America. Move to the Pacific islands, please.

      July 2, 2011 at 12:28 am |
    • WonderSpring

      I mean "O Canada" has the second verse by saying "it does".

      July 2, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • Randy Thespian

      WonderSpring, no North American Flag has a cross on it. In Europe, the vast majority of flags don't have crosses. You make very strange points.

      July 2, 2011 at 3:20 am |
    • WonderSpring

      @Randy, you've got Red Cross. Randy, it's futile to deny the heavy, all-piercing Christian heritage in Europe and America. Just give up. If you feel sorry for Native Americans, leave USA right away for their sake, please.

      July 2, 2011 at 5:24 am |
  17. JW

    I think we have said as much as we can say about this.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
    • CNN Faceplants

      Yep. This one is DOA.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • LinCA

      Just wait until WonderSpring gets going. ....Oops, too late

      July 2, 2011 at 12:40 am |
  18. Charlie Babbitt

    Is he autistic? He looks like there is something wrong with him.

    July 1, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • John Richardson

      He's Mennonite, a relatively benign condition as these things go, but there are cures!

      July 1, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • Charlie Babbitt

      Are Herman Munster haircuts required of Mennonites?

      July 1, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • Herman Munster

      I never knew I was a Mennonite. And you know, I never sang the national anthem either!

      July 2, 2011 at 3:28 am |
  19. frank


    July 1, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
  20. John Richardson

    Another retread article?????

    July 1, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
    • LinCA

      Yup. That way they can rack up another 4000 comments, or so they hope.

      July 1, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
    • Electric Larry

      CNN has gotten really bad about giving us reruns instead of content.

      July 1, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • mist

      cnn ceo is having problems and losing market share

      July 2, 2011 at 4:47 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.