Pacifist Goshen College Picks Anthem Replacement

Sharon Rieger's picture
Friday, August 26, 2011

A small college in Northern Indiana with ties to the Mennonite Church plans to play “America the Beautiful” at sporting events as a replacement for the national anthem.
Goshen College’s leaders decided in June to quit playing an instrumental version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” after starting to do so for the first time last year. Some students and graduates complained images of war and the military in the song’s lyrics weren’t in line with the school’s pacifist message.

College President Jim Brenneman wrote in a letter posted on the school’s website that “America the Beautiful” is more fitting with the college’s traditions while also honoring the country. He also said it is an appropriate alternative because most sports fans know the song and it is played at many Major League Baseball games and other events.

“The words of ‘America the Beautiful’ are wonderfully descriptive of creation’s beauty in the heartland, in the coastlands and in urban and rural settings,” Brenneman said. “They petition God’s gracious blessing upon America.”

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