“Why I Don’t Sing ‘The Star Spangled Banner.’”

That is the title of an article by Mark Schlonger, the Pastor of a Mennonite Church (CNN Blogs).  He also explained why the Mennonite’s college, Goshen (Indiana), does not play the national athem at its athletic events.

“That’s because we recognize only one Christian Nation, the church, the holy nation that is bound togather by a living faith in Jesus rather than by man-made, blood soaked borders.”

He points to the trouble his church as had with governments through its history because it refused to worship any nation’s flag or leaders.  It holds to a clear and unambiguous commitment to separation of church and state.

I contrast that to a speech made in Fargo by James Watt, the Secretary of the Interior under President Reagan.  He spoke of an emotional experience when attending the evangelical church of his childhood.  The experience came as he looked on the flag and the cross side by side in the church.  This was the America he respected, he said.

Atheists and Mennonites see this separation as patriotic. Most of the countries where we now have troops mix religion with government.  If we could all see our government as something very different from our religious views, we would accomplish more and argue less.

So, when you see someone who does not stand for the pledge or sing the ritualistic songs at public events, don’t assume he is not religious or is unpatriotic.  He might be a very patriotic Mennonite.

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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2 Responses to “Why I Don’t Sing ‘The Star Spangled Banner.’”

  1. Avatar of seaofstories seaofstories says:

    Hopefully this doesn’t stray to far from the mark.

    I agree entirely. Maybe it’s just because the sporting events I’ve attended recently have been in Washington, DC, over populated with government and military types. But the “wraping your product in the flag” bit has gone way to far for this fans liking. At Washington Capitals games I endure no less than three acts of compulsory patriotism at every single game. There’s the Anthem, which a participate in as I always have. But then we’re subjected to at least two seperate recognitions of solderly accomplishment during the course of the game. Baseball also has it’s triple threat with the addition of “God Bless America” or a song of like theme to the 7th inning stretch and an honor our hero’s moment.

    I’ve got to wonder about these soldiers, many of them greviously injured. How do they feel about being trotted out by the military in a joint advertising campaign for the home team and the other home team, the military? I love and respect these women for what they’ve done but at some point I soured on the way that both the military and these teams are exploiting, at least to a degree, their sacrifices. It’s been my limited experience that these hero’s don’t really feel as if they’ve done anything other than their jobs, and they often have deep misgivings about the way that their “exploits” are marketed by the government.

    It seems to me that if the team and/or the military wanted to do something legitimately nice for these folks. They’d arrange from them to attend these events without arranging for their appearance on a jumbotron.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Sea 8:28 Thanks for the comment. I’ve heard other people complain about going through the singing ceremony–some conservative people. It just isn’t everyone’s cup of tea for sure. And, running out injured soldiers, a little bizzare it seems to me.

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