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Goshen College declares war on national anthem

By Paul A. Ibbetson
web posted June 20, 2011

Officials at Goshen College, a Mennonite college in Indiana, have banned the use of the Star-Spangled Banner during sporting events. The reason school officials gave for the ban was that America's National Anthem was deemed too violent. Specifically, according to Todd Starnes of FOX News, the school's online fact sheet stated, "Historically, playing the national anthem has not been among Goshen College's practices because of our Christ-centered core value of compassionate peacemaking seeming to be in conflict with the anthem's militaristic language." Professor John Blosser, an art instructor at Goshen, attempted to clarify the school's opposition to the national anthem by saying, "It's obviously about a battle. It's rather violent. It's about using violence to conquer and that would be something that many people would have problems with."

It is always interesting to listen to liberals' attempts to legitimize their attacks on traditional America. In this case, Professor Blosser would do well to study the history of the national anthem. Contrary to the professor's statement, the National Anthem is not a song with aggressive, imperialistic undertones. The reality is that the lyrics of the National Anthem were written by Francis Scott Key and were based on the American defense of Fort McHenry from British attack during the War of 1812. Before liberal pacifists like Blosser declare war on the national anthem in places beyond Goshen University, maybe we should take a moment to examine the actual lyrics:

O! say can you see by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation.
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the Heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust;"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

The Star-Spangled Banner defines patriotism through love of flag and country within the context of defending the nation. In this situation, conquering the British was simply defending the homeland and its representing flag. Our country's national anthem is not a song about invasion. This strongly contrasts from Blosser's alluding that the anthem has an association with imperialistic violence. Furthermore, when we take a look at the Star-Spangled Banner in its entirety, there is little doubt that the song itself is an acknowledgment of our country's indebtedness to God to save us in times of war and deliver us to the blessed peace found in victory.

The U.S. national anthem is a song worthy of being sung in any church pew alongside well-known hymns such as Onward Christian Soldiers. In fact, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, a Civil War hymn, is commonly found in mainstream Christian songbooks throughout the United States. In reality, Americanism, patriotism and Christianity are not negative forces opposing one another in this country; they are the intermingled essence of what has made, and continues to make us unique. If we wish to see America move into the future with the same spirit that is portrayed in our national anthem, we need to defeat the ideological foes that wish to destroy all we hold dear. We must defeat the modern-day liberal, even when they are presented as conservative religious groups. This is a time of choosing, a time of required action. To remain free today, we must also be brave and hold our banner—and all it represents—high. ESR

Paul A. Ibbetson is a former Chief of Police of Cherryvale, Kansas, and member of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. Paul received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, and is currently completing his Ph.D. in Sociology at Kansas State University. Paul is the author of the several books including the 2010 release, "Oliver's Tale: A Squirrel's Story of Love, Courage, and Revolution." Paul is also the radio host of the Kansas Broadcasting Association's 2008, 2009 and 2010 Entertainment Program of the Year, Conscience of Kansas airing on KSDB Manhattan 91.9 FM. For interviews or questions, please contact him at mibbetson91.9@gmail.com.


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