Tuesday, June 7, 2011

No national anthem allowed anymore at pacifist Indiana College

Indiana institution, Goshen College. I really hope that any accreditation and reciprocity with other institutions Goshen already enjoys is lost immediately. The very fact that Goshen has the ability to make such an unpatriotic and ridiculous rule is proof that American freedom rests on the sacrifices that our soldiers both past and present fought to achieve. THAT is what the national anthem means, not war-mongering and not aggression.

I'm all for having an opinion, (most of what this blog is), but making a point to specifically ban* the national anthem is needlessly frivolous, no matter what your stance.

Source -> http://www.wthr.com/story/14851935/no-more-national-anthem-at-pacifist-indiana-college
-> http://www.goshen.edu/news/pressarchive/06-06-11-anthem620.html & http://www.goshen.edu/anthem/ & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goshen_College

*Update - they'd like me to mention that they didn't ban it, they're instead asking their president to "find an alternative", and won't be playing it anymore. Somehow that is different.


  1. Goshen did not ban the Anthem. If you had actually read your sources from the Goshen website, you would have seen that. The college has decided not to play the anthem before sporting events.

    Many media headlines have begun using the word "ban" which is just blatantly not the case.

  2. @9ca4cc52-9208-11e0-ab2b-000f20980440 aka Goshen College at IP address Goshen, Indiana - Understood, the word ban was not on your site, I'll edit my post. But thats semantics. Its one thing to just play something else, but to make a statement and press release "to find an alternative to playing the Star-Spangled Banner that fits with sports tradition" is just a round about way of well, saying the exact same thing. Taken from Goshen's own site "although it was never officially banned from campus", does that mean its banned now? Also, the part of my post I think you might actually have the issue with (besides the word ban) regarding war themes, etc. Thats just from the source I stated, not my words. "Some were upset with the school's decision last year because the song's lyrics contain references to using war and military might to defend the country."

    Lastly, I'm just a bit confused about something. If Goshen is so strongly behind their decision, why would you feel a need to hide your identity when commenting on a blog that doesn't agree with your opinion? Seems a bit hypocritical, don't worry I fixed it for you.

  3. First of all, the fact that it is not banned is important. "Banned" implies that we'll have Anthem Police running around making sure it is not played or sung or written down, etc. However, as it is, the college will simply not play it at sporting events. If a group of fans at a game want to sing the Anthem, there shouldn't be anyone who stops them or disrespects them. I can't vouch for anyone on campus, but that's how it should be.

    Also, there is an important story to why this all happened. President Brenneman wanted to begin playing the Anthem as a part of a bigger movement to create a new kind of Goshen College. (If you're interested, his speech about this vision is here: http://www.goshen.edu/virtualgc/videos/2010/getting-to-yes/part1/) He wanted to play the Anthem because he felt that it would be a way to create a better college and be more welcoming to visiting sports teams, their fans, and Goshen students who appreciate the Anthem.

    Those opposed to the Anthem were concerned about its military undertones and that it places country before God. Their appeals prompted the board to reevaluate the issue.

    If you read the board's decision, it never actually mentions either of those issues. It simply says that playing the National Anthem "compromises our ability to advance [Brenneman's] vision together." As far as I can tell, it was the division that the Anthem caused in the immediate and extended campus communities that prompted the board's decision not to play the Anthem anymore.

    Personally, I respected Brenneman's efforts to include the Anthem. As a pacifist, I would not sing along, but that also does not mean that I would not reflect on the sacrifices made that allow me to *attempt* to practice and advocate pacifism in this country.

    Realistically, pacifism is a very tough issue. I acknowledge that there is violence in the world, so at best, I can only say that in my life, I want to try and move things away from violence whenever possible.

    Finally, I hide my identity, because I would rather make a point here without giving others the means to contact me. I am an intern at Goshen this summer, and I have seen the hate flooding in, much of it uneducated and disrespectful. Forgive me for wanting to avoid that.

  4. By "uneducated" in my previous post, I meant uneducated with respect to this story. I did not mean to say that those writing in are uneducated.

  5. Finally, I just noticed that you pointed out that I am posting from Goshen College. That said, I am not Goshen College, nor am I its spokesperson.

  6. "Those opposed to the Anthem were concerned about its military undertones and that it places country before God. Their appeals prompted the board to reevaluate the issue."

    Here's my problem.
    So is it about the military undertones or about being more inviting to other schools. Either way I really fail to understand the link between the Star Spangled banner not being played and being more welcoming to other, assuming American, sports teams, maybe thats just me.

    Understood that you're not their spokesperson. It probably didn't help that the comment came from their LAN, from inside the admissions office where you say you're an intern.

  7. President Brenneman initially hoped to play the Anthem in an attempt to try and be more welcoming. While he is probably not too different from me in how he would approach the anthem personally, he was hoping that the campus could suck it up a bit and compromise. While the anthem was played over the past year, it was an instrumental version and was followed by the peace prayer of St. Francis. However, that was not good enough for those opposed.

    So, for Brenneman, it was about being more inclusive, since there obviously are plenty of people who appreciate hearing the anthem (even though they are not the majority at Goshen). However, for the opposition, it was about the message that the anthem sends.

    Interestingly enough, in the same way that many are telling Goshen College to go somewhere else if we don't like the Anthem and the country (an accusation I think is unfair), some of my friends said that if people really had a problem with the anthem not being played, they shouldn't have come to Goshen. I was disappointed with how prevalent that viewpoint was/is.

    Obviously, since Goshen is over 100 years old, it is a legitimate educational institution. There are plenty of reasons why Goshen might be a perfect fit for someone aside from the Anthem. So why should we say that they shouldn't have come to Goshen?

    It's a situation that hasn't necessarily been handled well from either side. From a student appearing on Fox News today and making some pretty unfair statements about the college and his classmates to other students making the comments I mentioned above, I've been a bit disappointed with how things have played out.

  8. I'm going to just keep posting your comments.

    I never mentioned Fox News, I'm not sure why you are. Its not just one camp that has a problem with this press statement.

    You seem to have a lot of official statements for somebody who is an intern, posting from their location and is "not Goshen College, nor [am I] its spokesperson".

    Are you entirely sure that its not part of your job description to work on PR, and in this case damage control?


    specifically "Are you interested in using your skills to promote Goshen College?"

    Here, this should help find some more blogs to (~not officially) comment on:


  9. Haha. Well, this is awkward... I am a PR intern, but not in that capacity. Currently, I'm a web intern working on the website redesign. My commenting comes from a personal desire to explain what's happening. You'll notice I'm not saying Goshen is perfect. I also cannot say that I am completely happy with the decision. Finally, I have not been trained or coached by others in PR who are dealing with the responses flooding in.

    I wouldn't call my statements official either. There is no way Goshen would say that a student appearing on Fox News was a bad decision. That is my personal opinion. And I know you didn't bring it up. I did. I also know Fox News is not the only one to have a problem with this. There are lots of people. I just hoped to engage someone who didn't know about Goshen who could be reasonable, and I thank you for that. I'm not trying to convince you that this is a good decision, because I'm not completely convinced myself.

    That said, I think a lot of people are attacking the educational merits of Goshen as worthless: "I really hope that any accreditation and reciprocity with other institutions Goshen already enjoys is lost immediately." I think that this issue has nothing to do with accreditation. I graduated with a degree in Physics, and am heading to graduate school with a paid research assistantship.

    You might also be interested to know that Doug Schwartzentruber is a Goshen grad:

    In addition, my roommate's dad, Dale Kempf, led the team at Abbott labs that developed the world's leading drug treatment for HIV and was named a Hero of Chemistry by the American Chemical Society:

    So you don't have to like me or agree with me. You don't have to like or agree with Goshen College. But please don't talk about as if people don't get serious educations there.

  10. "Haha. Well, this is awkward... I am a PR intern"

    You said it not me... You say you work on the website, but are also a PR intern, which one is it? You'll understand why I'm confused.

    I do commend you for finally saying you are "[not] completely happy with the decision".

    Having said that, do you know what it looks like when somebody has an unnecessarily long response? The verbal equivalent of tripping and falling down a flight of stairs. Keep saying SOMETHING and maybe people will forget why they were reading in the first place.

    1 request, please stop assuming my opinions on well, anything. I have no idea where you're getting the basis behind your statement "But please don't talk about as if people don't get serious educations there." in addition to a handful of things you've posted previously. How does disagreeing with a policy have anything to do with academic content? I'd say the same thing about the de facto example for quality higher education, Harvard/Princeton/etc if they had done a similar press release.

    Shall I anticipate another gratuitously lengthy response or have you moved on too?

  11. I don't see how your roommate's father has anything to do with you, this blog, or the National Anthem. What I took from the original blog post and article cited is that one of the symbols of our Nation is being removed from your school. I hope your school doesn't get any federal funding.

    And for you to try to prove your point about Goshen being a strong academic institution by quoting two former students (from DECADES ago), both of whom have gone on to receive additional degrees from other institutions is silly.

  12. @DWFMBA: I am a PR web intern: I work in the PR office, but am not at all involved with the official responses the college sends out.

    And I apologize for the long response. I just wanted to answer some questions you had asked, and the answers were not simple.

    Finally, I apologize for assuming your opinions, but your blog post said accreditation should be stripped. If that's not based on disagreeing with a policy, as you implied in your latest response, then what is it based on?

    @Wifey: Thank you for your spiteful response. I was just trying to make a point. Based on the fact that recent graduates are finding jobs and earning graduate degrees, I'd say Goshen is still a perfectly good option for an undergrad degree.