Resistance to the national anthem at Goshen College
In response to Goshen College’s decision to play the national anthem, Nekeisha and Andy Alexis-Baker wrote an open letter to Goshen College urging them to reconsider their decision, asking anyone who agreed to add their names. As of May 27, 2011, 1541 people signed this letter, and hard copies were sent to the Goshen Board of Directors, who announced June 6, 2011, that they reversed the decision and would no longer play the national anthem.
Never before have so many Christians, including pastors, priests, laypersons and theologians from around the world, so clearly stated that nationalist songs of this sort have no place in Christian formation.
To President Brenneman and fellow administrators at Goshen College,
We the undersigned are writing to voice our frustration and disappointment with Goshen College’s decision to break an 114 year-old practice and rebuff a 500 year old Anabaptist heritage of nonconformity by playing the national anthem at the college’s sporting events.
At the heart of the national anthem is a message that glorifies war and violence for one nation’s benefit. These themes are inherent in the words themselves “the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air” and they are inherent to the ways in which the anthem is used to inspire patriotic fervor. The very habit of playing the song before sporting events arises out of the World War II era, when baseball became a stage for nationalistic displays. The fact that the anthem has since become a pre-game ritual for most sports should not distract Christians—especially those who are committed to Christ’s way of peace—from the anthem’s meaning or its history.
The national anthem also promotes the United States over and against other nations, violating Christian internationalism and worldwide fellowship. In an attempt to be “hospitable” to American patriots, we believe Goshen College’s decision rejects a higher call to be a transnational body that resists the boundaries set by nations. Furthermore, the institution is compromising its witness to the world by intentionally aligning itself with an entity that has engaged in militarism, oppression and imperialism since its inception.
Finally, we believe that playing the national anthem before sporting events is a formative ritual that will be detrimental to its community. Although you say that you are forming young adults to be Christ-centered, they will be formed into a practice that gives allegiance to America first. Instead of teaching them the cost of discipleship, this decision teaches them to cave into social pressures at the expense of faithful witness to the way of Christ and the path of peace.
Goshen College prides itself on being a place that can heal the world “peace by peace.” We pray and hope that you will take the first step in this vision by resisting the war song that looms in your own backyard and encourage you to reverse your decision to make the national anthem a part of your life together.
Andy Alexis-Baker, Elkhart, IN, Mennonite, Marquette University
Collin Moody, Chicago, IL, Anglican
Michael J. Iafrate, Morgantown, WV, Roman Catholic,
Ph.D. student, theology, University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto
Matthew Ochalek, Erie, PA, Roman Catholic/Catholic Worker, blank,
MA student, Pastoral Studies, Gannon University
Thomas J Ingram, Jefferson City, TN, Jesus Follower
Porter Doran, Eugene, Ore., Amish-Mennonite
Carolyn Heggen, Corvallis, Oregon, Mennonite
Nekeisha Alexis-Baker, Elkhart, IN, Mennonite
Thom Curnutte, S.F.O., Gallipolis, OH, Secular Franciscan Order (Roman Catholic)
Eduardo Gonzalez, Bakersfield, CA, Anabaptist
Sebastian Nieto, Bogotá, Colombia, christian – nondenominational
Brandon Lee, Grand Rapids, MI, Non-denom
Ryan Byrne, Philadelphia, PA, Christian
Richard Lynn, Fort Collins, CO, Vineyard Church
Justin Anthony Knapp, Indianapolis, Indiana, Christian
What does this have to do with the Gospel?
Rev. Dr. Leo Hartshorn, Portland, Oregon, Mennonite, former Minister of Peace and Justice, MCUSA
This is another sign of the erosion of the historic peace witness of the Mennonite Church.
Kathy Scherer, Abington, PA, Mennonite
Joey Aszterbaum, San Jacinto, CA, Episcopal Church
May the gospel of peace give you and your community strength to stand.
Trevor Morse, Lewisburg, PA, PCA
Katie Grimes, Brighton, MA, Roman Catholic
John Cable, Athens, GA, Christian
Christopher Chambers, Redmond, WA,
Prayers for your community to find truth and take a stand for it.
Daniel Nign, Azusa, CA, Catholic
Ken Keesling, Goshen, IN,
Brian Volck, Cincinnati, OH, Catholic
Walton McCaslin, Meyronne Saskatchewan, Mennonite Brethren
What does the Lord require? Micah
Stefan Warner, Oklahoma City, OK, Joy Mennonite Church
James M. Branum, Oklahoma City, Ok, Minister of Peace & Justice, Joy Mennonite Church
so saddened by this news. Praying that Goshen will repent of this great evil.
Benjamin D Kickert, Bowling Green, KY, Methodist
richard leaman, lancaster,PA, Mennonite Akron
Remember our forefather and foremother- anabaptists who gave their lives for theit beliefs in peace and nonviolence.
Thomas J Bridges, Milwaukee, WI, Nazarene, Marquette University
What a disappointment that GC is abandoning such an inspiring tradition!
Joshua Zink, Greenville, IL, Anabaptist
The national anthem is a slap in the face for everything the Gospel stands for.
John Winslow, Issaquah, WA, Roman Catholic Christian
David Horstkoetter, Milwaukee, WI, Christian
Leo Roth, Schaumburg, IL, Roman Catholic
Ry O. Siggelkow, St. Paul, MN, Mennonite Church USA
Adjunct Instructor of Theology, University of St. Thomas
Christopher Grataski, Lynchburg, Virginia,
Paul-Philip (Paco) Michelson, Ampang, Malaysia, Mennonite, The Frontiers International
Jonas Lundstrom, Orebro, Sweden, None
xxxxxxxx, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Mennonite Central Committee
Bill Carroll, Athens, OH, Episcopal Church, Third Order Society of Saint Francis
Michael Butler, Albuquerque, NM, Roman Catholic
Leon Hebrink, Westport New York, American Baptist Churches, USA
As a baptist pastor and teacher who embraces and teaches Anabaptist principles for life and witness I find it shocking that Goshen College has caved in to the powers and principalities of the nation-state to such a degree. I do hope and pray they will reconsider.
Gary Wake, Henderson, TN, United Methodist
James Gatz, Fargo, ND, Christian
Michael Westmoreland-White, Louisville, KY, Baptist
I am a pacifist and it has been the Anabaptist-Mennonite influence that has led to my anti-Constantinian views. I had hoped that when my children went to college, they would consider a Mennonite college like Goshen–but not if Goshen is going to cave into the dominant Constantinian mode.
Jordan Leahy, Staunton, VA,
Shannon Sullivan, White Hall, MD, United Methodist
This is something that I struggle with as a Christian, and I really respect the Mennonite tradition’s stance on that, so it grieves me to see this school cave so easily to sing war songs.
Mark Hewerdine, Manchester, UK, Anglican
Kasey Phifer, Philadelphia, PA, Christian
Tomas Lundstrom, Sweden, Jesus follower
Todd Grotenhuis, Indianapolis, IN, Anabaptist
One cannot fathfully serve two masters. May our allegiance always be to Christ.
Jared Both, Kitchener, Ontario, Conrad Grebel
Nationalism is at the heart of every war.
Jeremy W. Blackwood, Milwaukee, WI, Roman Catholic
Ph.D. student, theology, Marquette University
Kimberly Roth, Little Rock, AR,
Daniel Henson, Frankfor, Ky, Methodist, Georgetown College (KY)
Joshua Stafford, Baltimore, MD, Mennonite, Wilkens Avenue Mennonite Church
David Barrett, Wichita Falls, TX,
Jared Thompson, Wyandotte, MI,
Josh Kaufman-Horner, Charlottesville, VA, Anabaptist
Benjamin Oliver, Nashville, Church of Christ
arthur kauffman, pittsburgh, pa, mennonite
Alexander Parker, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, United Methodist
Timothy Prisk, Bloomington, IN, Catholic, Ph.D. student, Physics, Indiana University
Jamie Pitts, Edinburgh, UK, University of Edinburgh
John A. Walsh, Bloomington, IN, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), First Christian Church, Bloomington, Indiana
Lee Camp, Nashville, Tennessee, Lipscomb University
For the good of the church in the western world, and for the ultimate good of the world, please do re-consider.
John Goossen, Delta, BC, Canada, Mennonite
Don’t cave in.
Richard Goode, Nashville, Lipscomb University
Michael, Nashville, TN, Aspiring
V. H. Hammontree, D. Min, Henderson, KY 42420, church of Christ
Dean Martin, Lancaster, PA, Anabaptist
Please rethink this.
Elli Whiteway, Nashville, TN, Belmont University
Cooper Brinson, FL, non-denom
Ryan Harker, Kirksville, MO, Mennonite
It is very disappointing to see Goshen conforming like this. The Mennonite tradition as a “peace church” is not something that should be compromised.
Keith Barger, Roseburg, OR, Unitarian Universalist
Karah Hudman, portland, OR, non-denominational
When we separate ourselves from one another, using the word “them” instead of “we”, that is when war because possible and hate because a natural response.
Ric Hudgens, Evanston, IL, Reba Place
Sam Adams, Bend, OR, Mennonite
It is clear from the variety of these signers that Anabaptist witness is alive and well. I only hope that the Mennonite church does not get left behind as it becomes more and more irrelevant to that witness.
Brian Hamilton, South Bend, IN, Mennonite / Ph.D Student, University of Notre Dame
Jukka J. Rintala, Turku, Finland, Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Finland
If you are a Christian, say “No” to state and nationalism.
Allyson Crosby, Goshen, IN, Catholic, Mennonite – Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies Student – Goshen College
xxxxxxxx, Indianapolis, IN, Mennonite
I support the division of Church and State and continuing/rededicating ourselves to the Mennonite tradition of separation from the State.
Caleb Acton, Newton Centre, MA, MTS Student, Philosophy, Theology & Ethics, Boston University School of Theology
Nick Liao, Chicago, IL, IVP Academic
Rebecca Thompson, Georgetown, Kentucky, Kentucky United Methodist Conference
Mark A Wilson, Denver, Colorado, Scum of the Earth
Adam Ward, Kenora Ontario, Mennonite
Please uphold the liturgy of your ancestors, the strength of their convictions and the inspiring, contextually significant message that they continue to offer through non-participation in the nationalism that has destroyed lives.
Kathleen Springer, Saybrook IL, Mennonite
In John 15, Jesus warns his disciples that they will face a lot more than a bit of discomfort-”If they persecuted me, they will persecute you;…But they will do all these things to you on account of my name…” Please reconsider this act of acquiesence to culture’s pressure to pledge allegiance to the nation-state.
Andrew Hendricks, wesley Chapel Florida, Christian
Greg Voiles, Washington, DC, Catholic University of America/ Ordained Elder, Church of the Nazarene
Amy Harbine, Milwaukee, WI, Unitarian
Rob Arner, Philadelphia, PA, Mennonite Ph.D. student, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
Please reverse this policy and restore the traditional witness for justice and peace and against nationalism. Just as national flags have no place in our Christian worship spaces, as part of our witness to our Lord, they should have no place in our Christian colleges.
Jason Barr, South Bend, IN, Mennonite
The historic stance of critical distance from the institutions of mainstream society is exactly the reason why I became attracted to the Mennonite Church in the first place. Please reconsider this capitulation to the civic religion of the United States.
Brandon McClendon-Rose, Portland, OR, Society of Friends
Brian Clark, Windsor, CT, Congregationalist
When has the witness of the Peace Churches ever been more relevant? If the salt loses its savor, what use is it?
Tripp York, Bowling Green, KY, Mennonite
Jason Fisher, Champaign, IL, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
I consistently attend high school youth sporting events and will remain seated during the National Anthem. I don’t understand why people are more passionate about standing for dead people that gave them some freedoms, yet will do little to attend the worship of Jesus Christ each week who has truly set them free.
John Sniegocki, Cincinnati OH, Professor of Christian Ethics, Xavier University
David Cramer, South Bend, IN, Missionary Church; Bethel College (IN)
As one who teaches at a nearby institution in your conference (that does play the national anthem before our games!), I have found Goshen’s refusal to play the anthem as a means of witness to the gospel of peace. Please reconsider.
xxxxxxxx, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
I used to be able to chuckle when Bethel College students mocked GC’s peace stance by singing their own version of the Star Spangled Banner before soccer games, even though a majority of their players were not American citizens. Next year, I suppose it will be the Bethel supporters themselves who will chuckle as GC mocks its own peace stance by playing the anthem. – A not-so-proud GC alum.
John Zimmerman, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, pastor of Pleasant View Mennonite Church
Goshen class of 1991
Jim Clemens, Dayton, VA, Mennonite
xxxxxxxx, Gordonville, PA, Beachy Amish Mennonite
David Knowles, ,
xxxxxxxx, Canby, OR, Mennonite, Goshen Alum
xxxxxxxx, Doylestown, PA, Mennonite
My son just turned 16 and we’re having more frequent conversations about him registering as a CO when he turns 18. I was hoping that he would consider attending Goshen College after high school, but now I will likely not encourage him to pursue Goshen.
Sarah Thompson, Elkhart, Indiana, Mennonite/AMBS/PSMC
xxxxxxxx, Canby, OR, Mennonite, Prospective Student
Lara Hall Blosser, Scottdale, PA, Mennonite
Wayne J Yoder, Fresno, OH 43824, Mennonite
This does portend well for the church
xxxxxxxx, Seville, OH, Mennonite
What next, American flags in our Mennonite churches?
Scott McDaniel, Dayton, OH, Anabaptist
Brandon McCullough, Amarillo, TX, None
Joe Tonan, Ontario, CA,
Charles H. Conklin, Red Hill, Pa, Mennonite
Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than the praise of God. John 12:42-43
Zach Miller, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
Joanna Shenk, Elkhart, IN, Mennonite Church USA, Executive Leadership; Fellowship of Hope Mennonite Church
Jonathan Gingerich, Elkhart, IN, Mennonite
Steven Schallert, Kailua-Kona, HI, Anabaptist
Judy Clemens Smucker, Ottawa, OH, Mennonite
I am an alumnus of Goshen College and grew up on campus with my dad as a professor. I am deeply dismayed by this decision. Please do not play the national anthem at GC.
Paul Stauffer, Boston, MA, GC alum
Carolyn Hockman, Canby, Oregon, Mennonite
As a 1963 graduate, Goshen has been my hope for the grandchildren. But now I am confused; do I really want to encourge the next generation to attend a college that proclaims peace in one breath only to consent to a song of war in the next? Which message should I believe? Or do we need to look elsewhere for the right college?
Cheryl Crichley, Okmulgee, OK, Mennonite
Michael Wiebe-Johnson, Elkhart, In, Prairie Street Mennnonite Church
Robert Lancaster, AL, Anglican
Adam Parsons, OH, Orthodox
Jeff McLain, Stafford, VA, Conservative Mennonite Conference
Leave not our heritage, the Values God shaped and molded in the Anabaptist movement!
john h graber, goshen,IN, anabaptist
Jesus is Lord!
Marcia Siggelkow, Saint Paul, MN, Mennonite
Leon Strait, Jefferson, Oregon, Friends Church and YWAM
Dean Simmer, Detroit, MI, Anglican
xxxxxxxx, Canby, OR, Mennonite, prospective student
Goshen was at the top of my list out of Hesston, EMU, and Goshen… now I’m reconsidering. I want a school that will completely support my beliefs.
David Jost, Harrisonburg, VA, MCUSA
I’m ashamed of this decision and the responsible parties.
Tyler Yates, Phoenix, AZ, Arizona State University
Bruce Hamill, Dunedin, New Zealand, Presbyterian
If the Mennonites won’t stand up for what I believe, who will?
Caleb Anderson, Wellington, New Zealand, Baptist
Railton de Sousa Guedes, São Paulo, São Paulo, Brasil, Coletivo Periferia
Stop public ritual that glorifies the nation-state
Gustavo C. de S. Frederico, Brasília, DF, Brazil, Evangélicos pela Justiça, Brazil
Teresa L. Geiser, Elkhart, IN, Mennonite
I am appalled that Goshen College would take this step of accommodation to American culture. One of our most important stances as Mennonites is the peace position and being an alternative voice to the overly patriotic and often violent voice of the U.S. I strongly urge Goshen College to remain firm in a Christian commitment to peace and separation of church and state. American society desperately needs that alternative voice that points to Jesus as our Lord, not a country’s political system.
Tobias Winright, Saint Louis, Missouri, Catholic, Saint Louis University
I wish Goshen College would inspire other church-related colleges and universities, including Catholic ones, to stop playing the national anthem.
Patrick Sheck, Cleveland, Ohio, Episcopal
Those stars and stripes stand for no Christ-Like thing.
David Araujo, Gary, IN, Mennonite
I strongly urge GC to reverse it’s decision to play the national anthem and thus bear witness to who we are as a body of faith.
Judy Miller, Lawrenceville, Ga, Mennonite
Wapato Greyer, Brier, WA,
I hope you think about this decision more. Best wishes.
Jewel Gingerich Longenecker, South Bend, Indiana, Mennonite
Mennonite high schools have taken significant “heat” on this issue over the years. Instead of reversing its policy, Goshen College should learn from Mennonite high school principals and coaches how to turn negative media attention into an opportunity for faithful witness.
Matt Bernico, Greenville, Il, Free Methodist
Jonny Gerig Meyer, Goshen, IN, Mennonite, MATS student, AMBS
Jared King, Vancouver, WA, None
Kevin Guenther Trautwein, Kitchener, ON, Canada, Conrad Grebel University College, MTS student, theology
It’s too bad that I only found out about GC’s life-affirming tradition after it had been abandoned.
Jacob Neff, NC, Baptist
Lois Nafziger, Goshen, Mennonite/AMBS
Shana Peachey Boshart, Parnell, Iowa, Mennonite Church USA, Conference Youth Minister for Central Plains Mennonite Conference
David Boshart, Parnell, IA, Mennonite Church USA
Kyle Dean Reinford, Brooklyn, NY, Manhattan Mennonite Fellowship/Goshen College ’06
Claven J. Snow, Lawrence, Kansas, Central United Methodist Church
Songs of War have no place in those who claim to teach Peace. Choose carefully whose will you decide to appease.
Steven Burleson, Charlotte, NC, Mennonite
xxxxxxxx, Melbourne, Victoria,
Philip Miller, Lawrenceville, Ga, Mennonite
I wonder how the vote went down or who actually voted for this or what the process was, since the students on the committee were not allowed to vote and nobody from the president’s council or the president will answer my emails
Jonathan Moylan, Newcastle, NSW, Australia, Quaker
xxxxxxxx, Goshen, IN, Mennonite, Theology Student
As an alum, I am ashamed of this decision. I pray it is not rooted in recruitment for athletes as I fear it is. Our Mennonite traditions and beliefs are deeply committed to following Jesus in a way that promotes peace and social justice to all the world. The national anthem is a war cry that hails the US superior above other nations and people.
I have been a proud supporter of GC and have always hoped my own children would attend one day. This however, is not a small issue. This is at the root of who GC is and what they are willing to stand for. If they are willing to compromise a core belief for a mainstream American appearance I am deeply ashamed. Please have the courage to admit a wrongful decision and repeal it.
Ginny Martin, Goshen, IN, Mennonite, AMBS
Neil Reinford, smoketown pa, Witmer Heights Mennonite Church
Donna Reinford, Lancaster, PA, Mennonite
Laura Kraybill, Boston, MA, GC Alum ’04
Sharon Baker, Palmer Lake CO, MCUSA
As a Goshen College graduate I am very disappointed with the decision to play the national anthem at Goshen College. Please reverse this decision.
Dan Sigmans, Perkasie, PA, Mennonite, Eastern Mennonite University
Kent Blossom, Wellman, IA, Mennonite
Erik Elmer, Idaho, Christian
Chris Blocker, Topeka, KS, Anabaptist
xxxxxxxx, Goshen, IN, Mennonite Church USA
Student at Eastern Mennonite University
Erin, Ohio, Follower of Jesus
Jesus and patriotism go together like fish and bikes.
Jeremy Alder, San Antonio, TX, Mennonite
Andrew Gunden Landis, Goshen, IN, Mennonite/Goshen College Alumni
Just because the words are removed from a song does not remove the meaning inherent in the song. Would removing the words from an African-American work song like ‘I’ve been working on the railroad’ change its history and what it means? Songs have lives and stories, and removing the words does not erase their past.
Brian Herschberger, Kalona,IA, Mennonite
I was disappointed to see Goshen succumb to any pressure and decide to play the national anthem.
Amanda Yoder, Souderton, Pennsylvania, Mennonite
Mark Van Steenwyk, Minneapolis, MN, Mennonite pastor, Missio Dei
Others are better able to challenge this decision on the basis of Mennonite tradition. However, as a new addition to the MCUSA, I believe that a growing number of faithful are yearning for a faithful Christian challenge to American imperialism, nationalism, and “patriotism.”
Logan Laituri, Honolulu, HI,
I am also a veteran who understands the difficulty in distinguishing between nationality and Christianity, but please remain true to the Anabaptist roots of the Mennonite Church be retaining a high wall between Church and state…
Gilbert George, Tigard, OR, Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Churches
arthur stewart, fresno, ca, friends
Peg Burkey, Dorchester, NE, Mennonite
C. Wess Daniels, Camas, WA, Quaker
David Reynolds, Nolensville, TN, Baptist
Philipp Gollner, IL, Mennonite, University of Chicago graduate student
It is even secondary that the US anthem is a war song: whatever the text, it remains: national. Thanks for your resistance to what civil religion wants to make out of historic Mennonite witness.
Andrew Wade, Hood River, OR, Mennonite Church USA
Tim White, Western Australia, Affiliated with Christ alone
xxxxxxxx, UK, Follower of Jesus
Michael F. Lillie, Minneapolis, Bethel Seminary Student
While I am glad I live in a country that has the freedoms we have, let us not forget what we had to do to obtain those freedoms. People lost their lives and we killed willingly to some degree in the name of God. Killing people for political interest is not a part of the Kingdom.
Natanael Disla, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Baptist. Student, Baptist Seminary of Dominican Republic
Daniel Lapp, ,
Karl Stutzman, Elkhart, IN, Mennonite
I am deeply disappointed by this decision. Goshen College was an significant formative place for me as an Anabaptist/Mennonite Christian. I pray that Goshen College will change course and take a strong position consistent with its core values.
Kenneth Zeleny, Pittsburgh, PA, Mennonite
Jeremy Shue, Goshen, IN, MCUSA
Jonathan Stegall, Atlanta, GA, N/A
Please don’t try to combine songs of war with a message of peace. Sing songs of peace, resistance to empire, and allegiance to Jesus.
xxxxxxxx, Liberty, TX,
Brad Lockner, Oshawa Ontario, Baptist
Sad to see the Anabaptist heritage being engulfed by patriotism.
Anton Lundqvist, Örebro, Sweden, EFK
John Tyson, Harrisonburg, Va,
xxxxxxxx, Sheffield, England, Anglican
Erin Brekke, minneapolis, mn, American Baptist
Hannah DeLoche, Greenville, IL, United Methodist
There are so few voices who are willing to speak out against the perceived allegiance between American Christianity and American Patriotism. Please don’t let yours be silenced after 114 years of firm stance.
Andy Browne, Eden Prairie, MN, Bethel University
Miranda Caulkins, IL, Greenville College
John Williams, Chillicothe, Ohio, Quaker
Jesus was killed for resisting an Empires anthems and attempts at co-opting the mind, we follow this murdered peasent in an Empire that resembles Rome, we to refuse to participate in turning a cheek to the games and bread of this current Nation State…Why? Because he did first.
Blaine Detwiler, Susquehanna, PA, Mennonite, moderator Franconia Mennonite Conference
Main Entry: syncretism
Pronunciation: \?si?-kr?-?ti-z?m, ?sin-\
Etymology: New Latin syncretismus, from Greek synkr?tismos federation of Cretan cities, from syn- + Kr?t-, Kr?s Cretan
1 : the combination of different forms of belief or practice
xxxxxxxx, Marion, IN, Christian
Joshua Ellens, Minneapolis, MN, Mennonite (Central Plains Conference)
Ethan Formo, Minneapolis, MN,
xxxxxxxx, Madison, WI, Episcopalian
David Mowers, Robbinsdale, MN, Episcopalian
Eric Gregory, Harrisonburg, VA, Episcopalian
Please do not kow-tow to the ignorance of many Americans who do not see the fundamental distinction between church and state. While we hope the church and the state work together towards the common good, flying the American flag and especially playing the national anthem are in direct contrast with the purpose of the Church as the expression of God’s Kingdom on this earth. We give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but we do not purport to encourage the muddy waters that many evangelical Protestant denominations have swam in since the days of Constantine.
Please do not reject the Anabaptist theology that this school was founded upon. If you wish to be proud of our country, do so without requiring the piece of Christendom under your “authority” to do the same.
Jamie Hollis, Elkhart, IN, Mennonite, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary
Landis Brown, Rindge, NH, The Meeting School
Jeannie Alexander, Nashville, TN, Amos House
Robert Miyake-Stoner, Aiea, HI, United Methodist pastor
Barbara Liberto, Ellicott City, MD, Mennonite
Rev. Jarrod Cochran, Atlanta, Ga , Progressive Christian Alliance
Mike Cantley, Washington, DC, UMC, Wesley Theological Seminary & American University
Nicole Bauman, Elkhart, IN, Tavistock Mennonite Church/Fellowship of Hope Mennonite Church; Mennonite Voluntary Service; Goshen College Alum
Lars Stairs-Almquist, San Diego, CA, Episcopal
Warren Tyson, Brownstown, PA, Mennonite Church USA, executive conference minister for Atlantic Coast Conference and Eastern District Conference
Jacob Johnson, MN, Jesus Follower
Jerry Adams, San Francisco, Ca, Bretheren
john D. Leu, Brunswick, Md., mennonite
Cindy Warner Baker, Goshen, IN, mennonite follower of Jesus
randy gallagher, mabank texas, chritian heretic
Andrew Langdon, Rochester, NY, Mennonite Church USA
Glenn Conrad, Columbia, MD,
Cemeteries in every nation around the world are packed with dead soldiers whose conviction that God was on “their side” was nurtured by ceremonies like this.
Noah Weaverdyck, Ann Arbor, MI, Mennonite
Will playing the anthem, as is the standard with most every other college in the nation, really stimulate engagement with the secular community more than not playing it?
It seems to me that the abnormality of NOT playing it is what grants us the opportunity to witness and share our beliefs.
xxxxxxxx, Harrisonburg VA, Mennonite/ Eastern Mennonite University
Matthew Linderman, Tempe, AZ, Catholic
Ray Gingerich, Greendale, Wisconsin, Milwaukee Mennonite Church
GC Class of ’66. Take the irony of a Mennonite college playing the national anthem to it’s logical conclusion–not just the music, but sing the words in traditional 4-part harmony. For the accompanying prayer, be sure to pray that the US empire continue to militarily dominate the world, that it continue to wage perpetual war on its enemies and continue to slaughter them in proportion to their increase. Be sure to end the prayer, ‘in the name of our prince of war, Jesus Christ.”
As GC continues to sell its soul to the devil, might I suggest they consider the benefits of ROTC. And, I’m sure there might be some payoff on having recruiters on-site as students file into chapel each morning–at least 30 pieces of silver.
Ria Jewell, Spokane, WA, Mennonite
We need to remember our anabaptist core values
Debra Bender, Cape Coral, FL, Raised Mennonite
I am so saddened by Goshen’s actions.
Jonathan Lind, Manassas, VA,
I plan to send my annual contribution to the Peace Club instead of Goshen College in the hope that club members can help the institution climb out of the ethical quagmire into which it has blundered.
Aaron Baker, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Joy Mennonite Church
David Hewgill, Chino California, Mennonite
Erica S. Christian, Matewan, WV, Church of God/Pentecostal
Jane Yoder-Short, Kalona, IA, Mennonite
Elizabeth Buschert, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
Lyn Schlabach Buschert, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
Greg Stevens, Tampa, FL, Anabaptist
Suzana Yoder, Athens, OH, Mennonite
Kyle Yoder, Athens, OH, Mennonite, West Philadelphia Mennonite Fellowship
Darvin Yoder, Parnell, IA, MC USA
Kevin Harris, Chicago, IL, Christ follower
Eric O\’Dell, College Park, MD,
Hilary Scarsella, Elkhart, IN, AMBS – Mennonite – Christian – Of God
Amanda Esh Bouwman, Philadelphia, PA, Mennonite
I am an alumni of Goshen College (’07) and value the peace stance and traditional anabaptist views that are at the core of Goshen College. I am very saddened to see that the tradition of not singing the national anthem before sporting events will be changed. I often feel out of place at other sporting events when this song is played. Please reconsider this decision.
Douglas West, Champaign IL 61821, First Mennonite-Urbana
Pleas reconsider your decision to play the national anthem. One of the main reasons I joined the Mennonite church was to help keep the nation from becoming God.
2017 Southwood Dr
Champaign, il 61821
Bobby Ray Hurd, Garden City, KS, Yeshuine Yahwism
Naomi Jacobs, , Episcopalian
Alex Bouwman, Philadelphia, PA, Mennonite
Rachel Shenk, Goshen, IN,
Adam Gingerich, Canby, OR,
you were better than this
xxxxxxxx, Denver, CO, Mennonite
Jon Cutrell, Goshen, IN, Goshen College alumnus
Justin Heinzekehr, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
Eric Herr, Portland, OR, Mennonite – Portland Mennonite Church
Please reconsider your decision to play the national anthem at GC sporting events. To play music which lauds the most violent tendencies of our nation does more to exclude Jesus than it does to include visitors or non-Mennonite students at Goshen.
Max Stauffer, Akron, Pennsylvania, Mennonite
Please stop playing the anthem….you’re putting patriotism before religion. In my eyes, that’s just not right.
Rebecca Helmuth, New Paris, Indiana, Mennonite – GC class of 1994
As a graduate of Goshen College I am disappointed in this decision. It’s ironic that on the heals of adopting the “healing the world peace by peace”
motto, Goshen College is now ready to embrace a song that glorifies war.
Ted Houser, Lancaster, PA, Mennonite
Paula Dirks, Lancaster, PA, Mennonite, Goshen Alumni
Gwen Stamm, Scottdale, PA, Mennonite
Sonia Araujo, Gary, IN, Mennonite
I urge you to reverse your decision as it will leave me no choice but to send my kids to a state college!
Marcia Good, Goshen, IN,
I’m not sure which disturbs me more, the anthem or the decision to accompany it with a prayer.
Robert A. Yoder, Quakertown, PA, Mennonite
Sem C Sutter, Chicago IL, Mennonite, Episcopalian
GC ’70. This is not the college that I attended, nor is it one that I feel comfortable continuing to support.
Justin Roth, Pettisville, OH, Mennonite
I’m a student at Eastern Mennonite U. and I am shocked by this decision.
Jill Stalter, Philadelphia, PA, Mennonite
Sarah Shirk, Lancaster, PA., Mennonite, Goshen alum
Michael Yeakey, Goshen, IN , Mennonite
Bryan Falcon, Tucson, Arizona, Goshen Alum
Jason Shenk, Elkhart, IN, Mennonite
Greg Ebersole, Cali, Colombia,
Joe Hartman, Denton, TX, Mennonite/None
If the College is going to get more conservative it needs to be consistent.
LeRoy Mast, Goshen, IN, Mennonite – MCUSA
Alexander Troyer, Wooster, OH, Mennonite, Goshen College Alumn
Adam M.Y. Nafziger, Minneapolis, MN, Mennonite
Don Nofziger, Milford, IN, Mennonite
Ryan Miller, Goshen, IN, Mennonite – GC ’95
The middle road is not synonymous with the third way.
Ed Meyers, Perkasie, PA, Mennonite
Leslie Minkler, Minneapolis, MN, Mennonite
Jessica Landes, Pittsburgh, PA, Mennonite
Elaine Swartzentruber, OH, MCUSA/ MCC worker in Indoneisa
Whitney M. Kulp, Chapel Hill, NC, Mennonite
As an alum, I was very disappointed to learn of this decision. I hope Goshen will instead consider other courses of action, such as playing a more appropriate song in place of the national anthem. Please reconsider the message that playing the national anthem sends to other Mennonites, Christians, Americans, and global citizens.
Richard Crockett, East Petersburg, PA, Akron Mennonite Church Member and GC Alum
The path forward for Goshen is at risk, Goshen’ s door were physically closed in the early 20th Century, this is at the very least a symbolic closing of the door.
Vicki Weirich, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
Our children in public school struggle with being asked to pledge allegiance to the US flag. Our younger children in public school struggle with being asked to pledge allegiance to the flag. So now, at GC, when they hear the national anthem, will they wonder why they ever questioned their struggle. Let’s help them articulate their beliefs, not confuse them!
David Spieser, Pittsburgh, PA, Mennonite, PhD student, University of Pittsburgh
Janine Martin Horst, Canby, OR,
Gretchen Maust, Keezletown, VA, Mennonite
I am shocked and disappointed in Goshen’s decision and sincerely hope that reconsideration will result in a reversal of this decision.
James and Ruth Horsch, Goshen IN, Mennonite
Aaron Leichty, Chapel Hill, NC, Mennonite, alum
Micah Kulp, Salunga, PA, Mennonite
As a student currently at Goshen College, I was very disappointed to learn that GC decided to play the national anthem. I was actually one of the people that day in charge of answering the calls of random individuals from all over the country who had never heard of Goshen before that day, and had no real understanding of the Mennonite faith. I’m shocked to find that GC allowed themselves to be swayed by such a group.
Bobby Persons, Galena, OH, Vineyard
Arlene Steffen, Fresno, CA, Class of 1985
Merle Reinford, Lancaster, Pa, Witmer Heights Mennonite
Wayne Steffen, Fresno, CA, Mennonite Church-USA
This is the kind of weak-kneed compromise that pleases no one and stands for nothing.
Ruth Ann Reinford, Lancaster, PA, Mennonite
Richard D Sieber, Hesston Kansas,
I sent both of my children to Goshen because I thought it was the right thing to do despite the extreme financial hardship. Now i’m not sure. SHAME ON YOU
Kathy Miller, Sykesville, MD, Mennonite
Cheryl Blaum, Goshen, Indiana, Mennonite
I was sad when I learned of this decision. I work for the college and know that this was a heavily processed decision. I made my opinion known, as did many others, but I apparently underestimated the degree of support present for the acceptance of the proposal.
xxxxxxxx, Portland, OR, Mennonite
Jan Landes, Pennsylvania, Mennonite
Sue Byler, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
Claude Kremer, Mt. Pleasant Iowa, Mennonite
I would like to see clearly defined lines between church and state.
Allison Miller, Atlanta, GA, Mennonite/Goshen College Student
I came to Goshen College because I thought it stood for something more, please reconsider the decision…
Brint Keyes, Richmond, VA, Presbyterian Church USA
Verlin Miller, Bristol, IN, Mennonite
Elaine Guengerich Miller, Bristol, IN, Mennonite
Ann Hershberger, Phoenix, AZ, Mennonite
Tasha Friesen, Goshen, Mennonite – College Mennonite Church
Abigail A Smith, Carlsbad, NM, Mennonite
I am an Alumnes of Goshen College.
K. Weaver, Harrisonburg, VA, humanity
Bruce Leichty, Escondido, CA, Mennonite
Rachel Reimer, Wichita, KS, Mennonite, Goshen Alum
I choose Goshen many years ago for its stance on being a peace believing college and even remember participating in a protest against the war in Iraq while I was there. I had hoped that one day my children would attend an institution such as Goshen that continued to highly value peace as one of its core values. However, with this policy change to allow the Star-Spangled Banner before sporting events I am questioning whether such a value still exists or whether giving into mainstream wants and desires has become the norm…
Clayton Funk, Columbus, OH, Ohio State University
Sue Schildt, Tucson, AZ, Mennonite
Ivan Zimmerman, Sarasota, Florida, Mennonite
Never thought Goshen would do this!
Terah Yoder Goerzen, Goessel, KS, Mennonite
Neal Friesen, Hesston, Kansas, Mennonite – Goshen Graduate ’07
Roger Farmer, Washington, Iowa , Mennonite
Since I joined the Mennonite Church many years ago, I have always been impressed with the courage and faithfulness of Mennonite colleges and congregations in not having the flag and not singing the national anthem in church. I believe that God would not be pleased if we abandoned that practice.
Ryan Klassen, Toronto, ON, Mennonite Brethren, PhD Theology Student, Wycliffe College
Gerry Leatherman, Portland, OR, Mennonite
Mary and Peter Sprunger-Froese, Colorado Springs CO, Mennonite/ecumenical intentional community
Saddened and stunned, praying you will reverse this. Let’s remember who we are and whose we are. GC alum and AMBS alum
Tom Fleming, Albuquerque, NM, Mennonite
I wept over this decision. I believe Jesus weeps as well. Lord, have mercy.
Jenna Yoder, Denton, TX, Mennonite
Peter Haresnape, Stirling, Scotland, nonconformist
Sarah Anderson, Minneapolis, MN, MCUSA, previously nondenom evangelical
Clair Hochstetler, Canberra, Australia, Mennonite Church
I think its fine to sing or play an appropriate anthem before sporting events – and there are several good alternatives, actually. But the national(istic) one isn’t because, to put it simply, its not consistent with your core vision and mission – in spite of your campus-wide “process” which I understand you carefully undertook. Its time to take into consideration the feedback of the wider community and your constituency that is also affected by this decision! The people here represent a key part of that base.
roy and margaret eby, akron, pa, mennonite
Goshen College has an obligation to promote peace and nonkilling as alternative to war.
Drew Weber, Reading Pa , Mennonite
April Muro, Goshen, In, Unitarian
The national anthem celebrates war, and even has derogatory references to slaves and native peoples. Goshen College is not supporting patriots by catering to nationalism.
Sonya Yoder-Beery, Indianapolis, IN,
How is this a witness to peace in the world?
Sam Woelk, Goshen, In, Mennonite
Sue Schmucker Coblentz, Macedonia, OH, Mennonite
Class of ’90
Richards, Evan, Deerfield, IL, Mennonite
Michael Amstutz, Dalton, OH, Sonnenberg Mennonite Church
Jeremiah Wade, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
Mr. Brenneman, from what I know, you are a good and reasonable man. This is more significant than you may realize. Don’t let it be your legacy.
Vanessa Hershberger, PA, Mennonite, Goshen College
Chris Horst, Evanston, IL, Goshen College Graduate
Jeremy Yoder, Baltimore, MD, MDiv Student, Eastern Mennonite Seminary
Goshen Class of 2002
xxxxxxxx, West Liberty, OH, Mennonite
Bradley Kauffman, Newton, KS, Mennonite
Mag Richer Smith, Iowa City, IA., First Mennonite
Philip Keller, Waxhaw, North Carolina, Christian
Please consider the effects of this on your Christian witness.
William Kangas, Chicago, IL, Evangelical Covenant Church
MDiv student at North Park
Amanda Zimmerman Holley, Madison, WI, Mennonite
Phoebe A. Brubaker, Goshen IN, Mennonite
Carolyn Yoder, Yerevan, Armenia, Mennonite
Melissa Noble, Bridgeport, WV, Catholic
Tami Jantzi, Wiesbaden, Germany,
I am so disappointed. Mr. Brenneman, Last year I proudly sent on the letter that you so eloquently wrote in response to this very subject to friends and family around the world. The letter was a true witness to core Mennonite values, including the separation of church and state. What happened to your convictions, Mr. Brenneman?
xxxxxxxx, Goshen, IN, Mennonite, Messiah College
Amy Friesen Leichty, Archbold, Ohio, Mennonite
Nathan Kauffman, Harrisonburg, VA, Mennonite
Beth Krall, Harrisonburg, VA, Mennonite
Nathan Gerig, Goshen, IN, Mennonite, Goshen College Student
I am deeply disappointed that our long held belief of maintaining some form of separation from a mainstream that uses a song glorifying war to honor our nation is being compromised.
Laura, Goshen, IN, BAMF
Bruce Nofziger, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
Brooke Cantley, Gambrills, MD, UMC
Rachel Halder, Parnell, IA, Mennonite
Peter W F Miller, Goshen, IN, Mennonite – Goshen Student
Lindsay Yoder, Boston, MA, Mennonite
Jennifer Metzler, Tucson, AZ, Mennonite
Ellen Wagner, Boston, MA, Mennonite, Goshen Alum
Heather Shelley, Goshen, IN, non denominational
Paul Regier, Norman, OK, Mennonite
Within this petition is a sincere message. I just hope it is not perceived as attacking or judgmental, rather as a part of the continual conversation about our identity and calling as disciples of Christ.
Keri Swartzendruber, Plano, TX, Mennonite – GC Alum
Tobias Herrstrom, Gothenburg, Sweden, Minister in the lutheran church of sweden
Im writing from a swedish context and from a church that was former a statechurch, we’re very happy to be free from the state again, and it would hurt me to se your college take steps towards supporting a statechurch situation.
Simon Barrow, Birmingham, UK, Anglican
Please help us all resist the pressure to conform.
Art Stoltzfus, Elkhart, IN, Mennonite
Martha Maust, Michigan City, IN, Mennonite
Emily Graber, Goshen, IN, Mennonite, GC Student
Jenny Boehs, Fort Collins, CO, Mennonite
Curt Weaver, Portalnd, OR, Youth Pastor, Portland Mennonite Church
Patricia Gingrich, Iowa City, IA, Mennonite USA
I really can’t believe you are allowing the national anthem to be sung before athletic events. Wow.
Cathi Baer, Archbold, OH, Mennonite
Nathan Barge, Harrisonburg, VA, Mennonite
Kathleen Nofziger Yeakey, Goshen, IN, Mennonite USA
Bonnie Doran, Eugene,OR, Jesus Follower
Mary Forney, Kalona, IA, Mennonite
Linda Showalter, Indianapolis, IN, Mennonite
Kristen Long, Arvada, CO, Mennonite
1983 Goshen grad; I cannot understand how Goshen can see the national anthem as anything but antithetical to its entire existence.
Judith Baer Kulp, Gainesville, TX, GC alum
Hold to a commitment to be free of war songs and prayers. Please read Mark Twain’s “War Prayer” to strengthen this commitment.
Marcus Miller, Wellman, IA, Mennonite
Hannah Schertz, Bloomington, IN,
Jenae Longenecker, South Bend, IN,
Sarah Conrad Yoder, Archbold, OH, Mennonite
Daniel Shank Cruz, DeKalb, IL, Mennonite
I graduated from Goshen College in 2002.
Christy Leichty, Opelousas, LA, Mennonite
Werner J. Severin, PhD., Austin, Texas, Austin Mennonite Church
(Catherine Garots Severin Nursing Scholarship, Goshen College)
Greg Walson, Melrose, MA, GC Alum
Jeff Matheus, Indianapolis, IN, Mennonite, co-founder of Indy Artists’ Peace Project
It is sad that the President of Goshen has compromised his faith to the point where he can find “rockets red glare” and “bombs bursting in air” to be compatible with the way of Christ. Sounds much like another President….
Raleigh Booze, Philadelphia, PA, Anabaptist/Mennonite
Please uphold the anabaptist tradition of resisting nationalism in the name of Christ.
Greg Beachey, New Paris, IN, Mennonite
Class of ’86
Ben Hochstedler, Whitefish Bay, WI, Milwaukee Mennonite Church
Megan Thompson, Newton, KS, Mennonite
Lanny Zimmerman Holley, Madison, WI, GC Alum
Goshen College’s actions have continued to disappoint me.
Doug Yoder, Goshen, IN, Mennonite – Goshen College
If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
Julius Setiawan, Surabaya, Indonesia, Mennonite
Philip Raber, Kidron, OH, Mennonite
Ruth Massey, Columbus, OH, Mennonite
Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, Harrisonburg, Va., Mennonite
Brian Brubaker, Pittsburgh, PA, Mennonite
Carol L. Haddad, michigan City, IN 46360, Jew
I believe srongly that separation of Church and State must be maintained in order to have a democratic society. I applaud your effort to eliminate the national anthem from your sporting events.
Graham Stewart, Glen Ellyn, IL, Mennonite
Kelsey Hartman, Carmel, IN, Mennonite
daniel evrard, newhaven ct, follower of christ
Nicole Brenneman, Tillamook, OR,
Grace Diener Tyson, Pembroke Pines, Fl,
Let there be light, Lord, God of hosts. Let there be wisdom on the earth. Let broad humanity have birth. Let there be Peace instead of boasts.
Joyce E. Waser, Pittsburgh, PA, Pittsburgh Mennonite Church
H. M. Sawadsky, Vineland, Ontario, Canada, Mennonite
Kevin Hockman-Chupp, Canby, Oregon, Zion Mennonite
Jeffrey P. Harrington, Topeka, KS, SHMC Topeka, KS http://www.shmctopeka.org
I am very sad and will be ashamed every time the “deeply held convictions” are trampled upon by the sing of the SSB. If the SSB is to be sung why have any convictions at all?
xxxxxxxx, Nw. Holland, PA, Mennonite
As a Goshen grad I am very disappointed in your decision to play the national anthem at athletic events. Please reconsider.
Cindy Beck, Sarasota, Florida, Presbyterian
Caitlin Stout, Jackson, Michigan, Nazarene
Suzanne Gross, Edmonton, AB, Mennonite
I just taught a Jr. High Sunday School lesson on the Early Church, and how early Christians viewed themselves as sojourners in this world, and how they couldn’t serve two masters — Rome and Christ. And here we are, nodding to the state that kills in our name. Have we lost our way?
A K M Adam, Glasgow, UK, University of Glasgow, Scottish Episcopal Church
Hold true to the heritage handed down to you, as a witness to the truth and a sign of hope to more accommodationist traditions!
Angie Birky Bohnert, Denver, CO, Mennonite
Kristen Irwin, La Mirada, CA, Lutheran (LCMS)
Assistant Professor, Biola University
Ruth Goring, Chicago, IL, Mennonite
I am grieved that Goshen would encourage the playing and/or singing of this song, which should never be on the lips of those who seek to follow Christ’s way of peace.
Rev. Mark Burnham, Los Gatos, CA, Presbyterian
Dana L. Dillon, Providence, RI, Roman Catholic
Joyce Tang Boyland, Milwaukee, WI, Christian
I have until now highly respected the Mennonite tradition for its principled stands. More pointedly, I would have considered sending my children to a Mennonite college such as Goshen. Now, the principal reason I would have done so has been eliminated. You can be sure that by alienating your core constituency (including families like ours), your niche in the world of higher education will be eroded. I wonder if GC alumni will be willing to donate to such an institution, let alone recommend it to others.
Nikki Coffey Tousley, Dayton, OH, Religious Society of Friends
Ross Wagner, Princeton, NJ, United Methodist/ Princeton Theological Seminary
Rev. Dr. Beth Tanner, New Brunswick, NJ, Presbyterian Church USA
Matthew Sipe, Delano, MN, United Methodist
Sad to hear that the Mennonites are caving like many other protestants have throughout the last 500 years.
Audrey Engle, Salem, OR, Mennonite Church USA, GC Student
Norm and Phyllis Lind, Salem, OR, Mennonite
? A prayer to follow the national anthem??
Celia Wolff, Durham, NC, ThD candidate, Duke Divinity School
William T. Cavanaugh, St. Paul, MN, Catholic
Alden Bass, St. Louis, MO, Church of Christ
My wife and I consider ourselves part of the mostly-forgotten peace tradition in the Stone-Campbell Movement. We have had to look outside of our own tradition for support, to institutions such as Goshen College. This capitulation to the Empire is a discouragement not only to fellow Anabaptists, but to all Christians who struggle for peace.
Philip Storer, columbus, OH, Brethren in Christ
Steve Stanley, Chicago, IL, Evanston Mennonite Church
Zach DiMiele, Greenville, Illinois, United Methodist
Matt Matheson, Baltimore, MD, Mennonite
Jeremy Pifer, OH, Anabaptist
David A. Smith, Durham, NC, Episcopal
I learned Christ’s way of peace from Mennonites. It’s sad to see that witness being diluted.
Joe Bumbulis, Austin, TX, Baptist
The failure to uphold the allegiance of Goshen to Christ and submit to nationalism will only serve to harm the greater Christian community. Now more than ever institutions like Goshen must be proactive in affirming their identity as first and foremost Christ followers so that churches will awaken to the fact that the nation state is not the savior. Your denial of your identity as Mennonite and more importantly as Christ followers if you begin to sing the national anthem is a crime to your brothers and sisters who need another way and voice of solidarity in the Kingdom of peace and non-Imperialism. Please continue to be faithful to your identity for I need you. Please continue to be faithful to Christ by not displacing your convictions. Please be faithful to the Christian churches of diverse heritage that need your witness in an age of national allegiance and loss of Godly faithfulness. We need you to be faithful so we may learn faithfulness to the Way of life, truth, and beauty.
Frank A. Brauer, Flower Mound, Texas, God’s church
The person on your committee that had weak knees to back down from God’s standards just in the name of business should be fired
Dennis Maust, Lititz,Pa. 17543, Mennonite
Jodie Boyer Hatlem, ,
Douglas Johnson Hatlem, Toronto, Mennonite
Douglas Johnson Hatlem, Toronto, Ontario, Toronto United Mennonite Church, Mennonite Central Committee Ontario
Alarming! When my children begin reaching college age in a decade or so, I will certainly encourage them to compare how well various Anabaptist schools practice a Gospel infused resistance to the violence and racism of nationalism.
xxxxxxxx, Seattle, WA,
Chi-Ming Chien, San Francisco, CA, Redeemer Community Church
Myron Williams, Versailles, KY, Jesus follower
xxxxxxxx, Vancouver, BC, Mennonite Church Canada
Thomas Finger, , MCUSA, Inter-Church Relations Theology Group
The basic concern expressed in this letter is extremely important (even if a few phrases, as in any letter, might be debated). It is a timely and crucial call for vigorous discussion and reconsideration of playing the anthem and of related matters.
xxxxxxxx, Vancouver, BC Canada, Christian Reformed Church
I am married to someone raised Mennonite and am beginning to realize the importance of not participating in national rituals. I believe Goshen’s decision is selling out.
Rosalie Ruesewald, Fort Smith, AR, Catholic
Do reconsider, please!
Susannah Lepley, Harrisonburg, VA, Mennonite
Gordon Bontrager, Elkhart, IN, Mennonite/GC employee
Having seen the GC decision process, and concluding that this is a result of both budget concerns and having certain key leadership positions filled by people that do not understand the premise as discussed in the above link, I am very disappointed.
David Cramer – Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words!
Luke Yoder, Denver, CO, MC USA
As a Goshen grad, I found this decision extremely disappointing and inconsistent with Goshen’s professed Core Values.
Shaun Brown, Bristol, TN, Christian Churches/Churches of Christ
xxxxxxxx, Toronto, Ontario, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada
Do you have a school song or hymn you could play instead?
Amanda Beachy, Goshen, IN, Mennonite, AMBS
xxxxxxxx, Columbus, OH, Vineyard church
The Mennonite way of peace speaks Truth to followers and non-followers of Jesus everywhere. Please prayerfully reconsider.
Linda Yoder, Fersno, OH, Mennonite
Brad Johnson, Alameda, CA, United Church of Christ
Hamilton Yang, Irvine, CA, Evangelical Covenant
There are many out here in the west who need the distinctive witness of schools like Goshen. Please do not feel pressured by the secular world to prove your patriotism. Your loyalty belongs to God.
Emily Derstine, Washington, DC, Mennonite
Paula Lemus, Osceola, IN, Asembly of God/AMBS
How do we teach our children about standing for your beliefs if there is an institutional change because they want to look like everyone else???? Sorry this is wrong on a lot of levels!
Diedre R. Sportack, Vancouver, BC, Mennonite
Jesus is Lord (not Caesar)
Janice Wagner, Engadine, MI, Mennonite
I think it is sad we even have to discuss this. Is Goshen a Mennonite College or just another private school with a Denominational name?
Stacy Stoltzfus, Grantham PA, Mennonite
Why not display hospitality to the other teams by singing “America the Beautiful”?, showing you’re not against America itself, but the words of war, etc, in the National Anthem?
Melissa Falb, Bowling Green, OH, Human Being
Peace on earth.
Gerald W. Schlabach, Saint Paul, MN, Roman Catholic
Jim Brenneman cited me in his January convo speech about the need for GC and Mennonites to pay as much attention to what they’re for as what they’re against. That was gratifying, and accurately reflects some things I have written. But that decidedly does not mean I support playing the US national anthem. I would suggest playing “America the Beautiful” instead. I would sing that myself it were the US national anthem. Even the lines about “beautiful for patriot’s dream” seem appropriate if one things of those American heroes who suffered and died for civil rights, etc.. But I haven’t sung the Star-Spangled Banner since I was in grade school, and don’t plan on starting anytime soon.
Debora Gish, San Francisco, CA, Church of the Sojourners
Reynaldo Hernandez, South Bend, IN, Church of the Brethren
A better choice “God of the Nations” . . . and other skies are blue as mine. “God of our Fathers” might be a good choice also. And replace the Pl of Alleg to the flag with Pl of Alleg to Jesus.
Gail Manickam, Portland, OR, Mennonite, GC Alum
Please prayerfully reconsider and keep the peace witness alive.
Sarah Zwier, Madison, WI, Mennonite
xxxxxxxx, Madison, WI, Madison Mennonite
beth bontrager, Moundridge, KS, Mennonite
Separation of Church and State, a basic tenet of Anabaptism. Hesston will be getting most of my tithe. They display flags from all present/past students in the dining hall in celebration of the world community of study, service and discipleship.
Adam Rankin, Alliance, Ohio, Your basic Christian
Craig Fox, Greensboro, NC, Quaker
xxxxxxxx, Montdale, Pennsylvania, Roman Catholic
Monte Evans, Shelbyville, IN, Christian
Dimitris Z., Thessaloniki, Greece, Chemical Engineer
xxxxxxxx, South Bend, IN, Latter-day Saint
Gretchen Barr, South Bend, IN, Mennonite
Kevin Cole, Muncie, IN, Episcopalian
Michael R. Hawk, Dayton Ohio,
Thomas James Kirkwood, Cambridge, United Kingdom,
I know it could be argued that, since I am British, not American, I should have no say in this matter, but Christianity is transcendent of National boundaries and inherently internationalist and pan-humanist, so I feel you should take the arguments of each and any Christian into account at a Christian school.
Derek Spalla, Powder Springs, GA, Christian
xxxxxxxx, Tempe, AZ, Catholic
I have immense respect for the Anabaptist peace tradition and am saddened to see Goshen College turn away from that beautiful, Christlike heritage.
Frederick Widdowson, New Oxford, Pa., Independent Fundamentalist Baptist
Only God is worthy of praise.
Liza Brockway, Chicago, IL, Jesus Follower
xxxxxxxx, Canterbury, UK,
Adam Malliet, Philadelphia, PA, Brethren in Christ
David James Robinson, Philadelphia, Pa, Circle of Hope, Brethren in Christ
Lauren Wise, Grantham, PA, Messiah College
At Messiah, we still don’t fly the flag. Support the peace Christ preached.
David Kosmok, Grand Rapids, MI, Christian
xxxxxxxx, Madison, WI, Mennonite
I do not see how it is welcoming to play the National Anthem, nor how not playing it is unwelcoming. I doubt anyone has ever noticed the absence and felt offended
Mitch Ermatinger, Grand Rapids, MI, Nondenominational
Richard Clark, Salem, Indiana, Presbyterian Church USA
Saluting the flag or reciting the National Anthem is nothing more tha idolatry and idol worship!
xxxxxxxx, New Oxford, PA, AnarchoChristian
Travis westfall, Kitchener, Ontario, Mennonite
xxxxxxxx, Columbus, OH, Christian
xxxxxxxx, Tampa, FL, Christian Non-denominational
Please don’t throw your traditions away because of some bad PR from the fools on television.
Laura Stoesz, Madison, Wisconsin, Mennonite
I used to stand silently, with special permission from my teachers, while my elementary-school peers recited the Pledge of Allegiance. My parents and I had discussed my decision to pledge allegiance to God, rather than to a flag. Even in fourth grade I knew that my refusal to say the Pledge was a part of my personal identity as a Mennonite Christian. I felt grateful to be able to leave the need for that form of resistance behind when I entered Goshen College. Now I, as well as my peers who are still students at GC, will need to re-learn what it means to witness our faith in the midst of a secular institution.
Race Sorden, Dickson, TN, Universalist
Ward Hiney, Charleston, WV, Presbyterian, Bible Center Church
Christopher Scott, St Louis, MO, Mennonite Church USA
As a future Mennonite pastor, I am disappointed and hurt by Goshen’s decision to playing the national anthem at a Mennonite institution. In addition to our allegiance being to Christ first, our national anthem is a celebration of a war. This decision is antithetical to what we stand for as Anabaptist Christians.
Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, Brockton, MA, Catholic
Megan Starr, Dubuque, IA, CHRISTIAN ANARCHIST
Nick Martin, Lancaster, PA, Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster
Nathaniel Miller, Philadelphia, PA, organized labor
Elisa Stone, Columbus, Ohio, Episcopal
Adam Dickson, Manchester, United Kingdom, Anglican
Although not directly of the Anabaptist tradition myself, the inspiring history (and story) of this wonderful strand of Christianity has been an important part in my own faith journey. One of the distinctive marks of Anabaptism is its call for Christians to embody an alternative witness of nonviolence and nonparticipationto the State, and I am greatly saddened to see an institution of the Anabaptist tradition make a decision such as this, which would fly in the face of such precious theological praxis.
Martin Rhodes, Dayton, VA, Mennonite
Gord, Orillia Ontario, freethinker
Nathan Scarborough, Little Rock, AR, Tolstoyan
Christopher Smith, Indianapolis, IN, The Englewood Review of Books
Ian York, Rockford, Illinois,
Eric Erickson, Healdsburg, California, ECUSA
Jim Cooper, Monrovia, California, Episcopalian/Anglican
Jonathan Michael, Wake Forest, NC, Acts 29/ Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
xxxxxxxx, Columbus Ohio, Non-Denominational
You shouldn’t change your rich heritage. Don’t conform!
Jim Rice, Washington, DC,
Clay Stone, Dublin, GA, Christian
xxxxxxxx, Saint Peter, MN, ELCA Lutheran
I’m an unabashedly patriotic person, and I have no affiliation with the Mennonite church. I think it’s appalling that an administration would cave to outside pressure over something that seems to be at the heart of the Anabaptist movement. What makes this country great is the fact that you don’t have to conform, and all religious views are accepted. By making this move, you’re not only being untrue to your beliefs, but also negating one of the reasons I am proud of this country.
Danielle Migler, Twin Falls, Idaho, Church of the Brethren
Adam, Michigan, Nondenominational
Erika Vidmar, Butler, PA, Non-denominational Christian
Jeff Meyers, Bettendorf, IA, Anabaptist/Wesleyan
Although not officially a Mennonite, my respect and admiration for your denomination compels me to write. Please, PLEASE do not kowtow to the pressure from the outside world to conform to the benchmarks of America’s civil religion. Goshen needs to stay true to the principles upon which it was founded and which continue to draw me to this tradition
Keri Gerbing, franklin,wi, christian
as a christian I find it impossible to sing the anthem and I broke with my church over the fact that they are nationalistic in their teachings in favor of following a Christ centered faith
Douglas Harink, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Baptist
Yesterday, I, a long-time Baptist, presented a lecture at an Anglican church, to an ecumenical group, in which I challenged the audience to reconsider their devotion to flag, anthem and nation. I did so on the basis of reading Paul’s letter to the Romans, instructed by the Anabaptist witness. The Anabaptist tradition has seen something in scripture that most of the rest of us have been blinded to. Why is Goshen now prepared to pluck out its eyes, which until now have been illuminated by the Gospel on these matters?
Matthew Bergstrom, Vancouver, BC, Canada, OCA
Please, it’s hard enough to defend the faith with so much hypocrisy, remember where your authority comes from. Or, take the MB name off and just be another private school.
Ryan Metzger, Beverly, MA, M.A., Biblical Languages, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Sierra McConnell, Franklin Springs, GA,
LeVon Smoker, Harrisonburg, VA, Mennonite
When did Mennonites start thinking that being a people of Christ’s peace should be a safe, comfortable pursuit?
Don and Roberta Thurstin Timmerman, Park Falls WI 54552,
Christians owe their allegiance to God and God alone, not to any governmental authority.
Don Edwards, Atlanta, GA, Every Church A Peace Church
Nathanael Bassett, Springfield MO,
Christ is no respector of persons or nations. While citizens praise Babylon, Christians should praise Jesus.
Benjamin J Rankl, Kingston, RI, Roman Catholic
Cathleen Cooney, Cheverly, MD, Roman Catholic
Kyle Johnson, Rice, MN, Anti-establishment Lutheran
Josiah Lash, Philadelphia, PA, Circle of Hope, Brethren in Christ
Jade Souza, Portland, OR, Quaker
xxxxxxxx, Cheverly, MD, Roman Catholic
G. Scott, Noblesville, IN, Christian
Micah Prieb Stoltzfus Jost, Lexington, VA, Mennonite
rebecca ann kaminski, indian valley, va, Jesus Freak
Stephen Higa, Providence, RI, Quaker
1 Samuel 8:7
john sayre, lakewood ohio, unaffiliated
Charles F. Cooley, Columbus, Ohio, United Methodist
Institutions like Goshen College have given me hope for a more peaceful country and world.
Case Michielsen, Grand Rapids, MI, Quaker
Katherine Stewart, Chicago, IL, Mennonite
xxxxxxxx, West Des Moines, IA, Mennonite
Carolyn Robertson, New Zealand, Baptist
Ian Cooper, Silver Spring, MD, Quaker
A national anthem is a symbol of nationalism, not peace.
Sara Wiebe, Madison, WI, Mennonite
xxxxxxxx, Spring Grove, PA, Christian Anarchist
Kyle Schmidt, Berne, IN, Mennonite
Andrew Bentley, Elizabethton, TN, United Methodist
I am not a Mennonite however I am thankful for the witness of the Anabaptist tradition against such expressions of nationalism. Goshen College’s tradition to not sing the national anthem before sporting events is one instance in which the larger church is challenged by your radical obedience to Jesus Christ. The church cannot afford to lose such an important witness, lest we all forget where our first allegiance lies.
Mark Scibilia-Carver, Trumansburg, NY, Catholic
I urge Goshen officials to take this issue with great seriousness as we approach the season of Lent. It’s implications are profound. The penetration of militarism in the us Catholic Church is shocking. This is perhaps a first step for Goshen.
Erica Hartman, Carmel, IN, Mennonite
Nathan Willowby, Milwaukee, WI, Church of God, Marquette University
What a well thought out practice for a Christian institution over the previous 114 years.
Nancy Moldenhauer, Michigan City, IN, Spiritualist
As a supporter of the belief of Mennonites and Anabaptists that peace, not war, is the solution to conflict, I would urge Goshen College to reconsider its decision to play the national anthem, a tribute to war, at public events.
xxxxxxxx, Elizabethton, TN, United Methodist
Ryan Cordle, Oneida, KY, Anglican
xxxxxxxx, Wellington, New Zealand, Catholic
Be true to your roots.
Gwen Gustafson-Zook, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
Making peace by being true to our convictions …..or Making peace by upholding the separation of Church and State!
Jonathan Denlinger, Columbus, OH, Mennonite, GC alum
Cynthia Bontrager, Elkhart, IN, Mennonite
I am so sorry that may alma mater has decided not to be steadfast in following allegiance to Jesus Christ only!
Jessa Parrish, bellingham, wa, Episcopal
Allan Bostelmann, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Lutheran
We’ve been always encouraged by the witness of Mennonites as we attempt Lutherans to return to Jesus teaching of nonviolent love of friend and enemy. I don’t sing the national anthem at public events. I urge you to stay on track on the nonviolent message of Christianity.
charlie snedeker, ada, mi, methodist
Tom Judd, Washington, DC, Episcopal
Eamon Treadaway Danzig, Denton, TX, Orthodox Catholic – Christian
Josh Frank, Chicago, IL, Episcopal Church Youth Minister/Mennonite Admirer
Gary Zanow, Columbus, OH, Non-Denominational
Doug Reed, Stoughton, WI, Mennonite
As an alum of Goshen College, I am very disappointed in this decision.
G. Simon Harak, S. J., Milwaukee, WI, Roman Catholic Jesuit Priest
It’s really hard to obey the first commandment, isn’t it. So much competition from other “gods,” all of whom seem so rational, so normal, so “right,” that we never even recognize them as false gods.
George Wayne, Los Angeles, CA, No denomination
Seeking God is above all!
Mark Frailey, Scottsbluff, NE, Unaffiliated
Kelsey Eldredge, Abington, PA, GC Student
Witness to the decline of GC due to their desire raise funds. If I’m held to the core values, why isn’t the administration?
Alice Kast, Boston, MA, Christian
when satan tempted Jesus with worldly power, he said NO
David Miller, Apple Creek, Ohio, Mennonite
Goshen Grad – 1996
Brett Taylor, Canon City, CO, Non denominational
John O\’Neill, San francisco, Ca , Inclusive Christian
lance schaubert, joplin, mo, christian churches, churches of christ
artisan writer and speaker
Victoria Welle, Berkeley, CA, Jesuit School of Theology (graduate student)
Michael Miller, Vancouver, WA, Seventh-day Adventist
Cris Rodriguez, Albany, Oregon, Mennonite
Brent Burns, Athens, AL, Baptist,
The Rev. Cecil Charles Prescod, OCC, Portland, OR, United Church of Christ
Jane Cadarette, North Andover, Massachusetts, Roman Catholic
Stevie Holmes, Martinsville, OH, United Methodist, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
Dave Lowitzki, Chicago, IL, Mennonite
Jim McConnell, Durham, NC, UMC
scott dunigan, evansville, IN, n/a
it is a travesty to bend to the dictates of war, for whatever reasons… This school should never, never, never, play that anthem.
xxxxxxxx, Hartford, CT, baptist
Roger Weaver, Denver, PA, Mennonite
I plead with you to reconsider this very disappointing decision. Three of my children have attended Goshen College, and the fourth one is deciding where to attend this fall. Although she has not yet made her final decision she told me this has definitely had an impact on her views of Goshen.
Tom and Dorothy Brenneman, Canby, OR, Zion Mennonite Church
We see this as what appears to be a small conciliation, but as stated in the letter, it speaks powerfully to our lack of willingness to witness to those who would challenge our “patriotism” in this matter.
Jolene Weaver, Denver, PA, Mennonite
Julius Sheppard, Durham, NC, Duke divinity
Sandra Glick, Middleton, WI, Mennonite
Gary Martin, Chugiak, Alaska, Mennonite
To sing the words of the national anthem at a peace College seems totally wrong. To hear the words in the anthem and hear it while at GC would be totally a wrong message to youth.
Neal Taylor, Melbourne, Australia, Jesus Follower
Thomas C. Gerlach, Altoona, PA, Quaker
Gregory Stark, Gambier, OH, Episcopalian
Nathan Gilmore, Franklin, TN, No denomination, Quaker-leaning Christian
emmanuel samayoa, orchard lake, mi, Catholic
I have discussed this issue in my classes and have preached on it at my Parish, St.John Catholic Church in Detroit. I have used the Anabaptist Tradition as one of the few Christian Churches who take Jesus’ teachings on “seek the kingdom of God first and love one another as I [Jesus] love meaning Christlike love for friend and foe alike”. To play the National Anthem at the schools athletic events or any other school event is not Christlike love. To do this is to give up on Jesus and your long tradition, that has been nearly lost in most of our Christian Churches, especially Catholic ones.
Roxie Ewert, Marcellus, MI, Church of the Brethren/Mennonite
Randy Ewert, Marcellus, MI, Church of the Brethren/Mennonite
Lani Moore, North Little Rock, AR,
Kate Karshner, Charlotte, NC, Christian
Aaron Kreider, Philadelphia, PA, Goshen 1997
Bryan Biba, Wheaton, IL, Wheaton College
xxxxxxxx, Orange, Texas, None
For our kingdom is not of this earth. May God bless all nations, persons, and creed with His amazing love.
Laura Landis, Kent, OH, Oak Grove Mennonite
This song is not something that true global citizens and compassionate peacemakers can support.
Albert A. Gaydos, Woodhaven, NY, Catholic Charities of Brooklny and Queens
Phil Good-Elliott, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
This constituent disapproves. What anthem would Christ sing?
Halden Doerge, Portland, OR, Church of the Servant King
Boryana Tacconi, Andover, MA, Eastern Orthodox Christian
A popular bumper sticker comes to mind: “Who Would Jesus Bomb?” Dear President Brenneman and Administrators, you are the keepers, but not the owners of the Goshen College traditional values. Please keep them up and don’t cave in.
Mark Bauman, Madison, WI, Mennonite
Adam Kramer, Bloomsburg, PA, Bible Fellowship
Tristin Hassell, Flint, MI, Episcopal / U of M – Flint
Philip Zimmerman, Lititz, PA, Mennonite
Matt Shedden, Lebanon, OR, Lebanon Mennonite Church
Bryant Burkhart, St. Davids, PA, Brethren in Christ
Jonathan Dyck, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Mennonite
Debra Brubaker, State College, PA, Mennonite
Matt Tapie, Ph.D. Candidate in Moral Theology and Ethics, The Catholic University of America, VA, Church of Christ
Chris Hollinger, Raleigh, NC, Mennonite
As Christians we are called to mirror Christ’s image. Once again it is time to ponder that age old question: What Would Jesus Do?
Jesse Miller, Evanston, IL, Reba Place, GC alum
James, Blaine, WA, Baptist
Joshua Adkisson, Memphis, TN, Follower of Jesus
Please, reverse this decision. The old saying “what would Jesus do” applies here–would Jesus conform to society’s will? Would He sing a song that glorifies a human nation over others? Goshen College must choose between the United States of America and the Kingdom of God. No man can serve two masters.
Michael Bethea, Heathsville, Virginia, Seventh-Day Adventist
To Whom It May Concern:
Please do not allow the same corruption to creep into your church that has crept into mine. Namely, the corruption of nationalism and the disease of patriotism in a hedonistic nation. Let your nation be that of God, that of the coming Jerusalem, and while we may love God’s earth and the people in it, don’t be fooled by manmade borders. Please rid yourselves, those of you in charge of making this decision, of this idolatry.
Nathan Shaffer, Vancouver, WA., Anglican
xxxxxxxx, Lake Worth, FL. , Southern Baptist Convention
Austin Martin, IN, whatever church can kind of get it right
the national anthem has become a symbol of a corrupt society in our world today
Nathaniel Wood, New York, NY, Orthodox
PhD student in theology, Fordham University
Helen Lapp, Lansdale PA, Mennonite
“Bombs bursting in air” – a tough tune to stand for or even to sit out since we reject its message to journey with Jesus. Hoping the college reconsiders.
Anna, charleston, wv, once luthern, now a friend of jesus
“bombs bursting in air” ?! really?! no wonder people leave the faith when christians like you display your hypocrisies. shame on you.
James Miller, Cincinnati OH, Mennonite
Amanda Hedstrom, Memphis, TN, United Methodist
Daniel Emmons, Champaign, IL, Nondenominational
Tara Hershberger, San Antonio, TX , Mennonite
Noel Moules, Sheffield UK, Shalom Activist, Messianic Anarchist
Embrace non-conformity for the gospel’s sake!
Derrick Peterson, OR, Evangelical
Ian Packer, Sydney, NSW, Anabaptist
Melanie Kampen, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Mennonite
Goshen College should consider singing #606 out of the blue Mennonite Worship Hymnal instead.
Jerry C. Stanaway, Lombard, IL, Mennonite Church U.S.A.
I strongly oppose Goshen College having the National Anthem played at sporting events.
Patrik Hagman, Turku, Finland, Åbo Akademi University
Pamela Murphy Ewers, North Berwick, Maine, Catholic
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God….
David Masters, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Christian
MPhil Student, Reconciliation Studies, Trinity College Dublin
xxxxxxxx, Louisville, Kentucky, none
Anne Heins, Wellington,
David Lucas, Neath, UK, Elim
William Samuel, III, Silver Spring, MD, Transdenominational
Christopher Coyle, Wheaton, IL, plymouth brethren tradition
“Do not do as they do”
Joshua L. Augustijn, Port Washington, WI, Free Will Christian Anarchist
Keep the Faith pure guys, for the state is anything but. True Story.
Brandon Wilson, Welch, WV, MennoniteChurchUSA
xxxxxxxx, Fort Wayne, Indiana, University of Saint Francis
Harvey Yoder, Harrisonburg, VA 22802, Mennonite
The song should be rejected because of its embarrassingly awful lyrics alone(!), but most definitely because of its hyper-nationalistic message.
Jonathan, Columbia, MIssouri, American Baptist
Peter Dula, Harrisonburg, VA,
Robert Connor, Reading, MA, Catholic
The anthem should not be played in church.
Read “German Catholics, Hitler’s Wars” to see why.
Matthew Lehnert, Toledo, OH, Toledo Mennonite Church
I joined the Mennonite Church specifically because it does not pay allegiance to anything other than Christ. This is unacceptable.
Kelli Yoder, Americus, GA, Mennonite
Braden P. Anderson, Milwaukee, WI, Marquette University
Karissa Ortman Loewen, Elkhart, IN, Goshen College alumnus
Brian Paff, Mount Pleasant, PA, Mennonite
Aaron Scott, Noblesville, IN, Christian
While I do not personally agree with all the criticisms of the Goshen administration and the National Anthem in the above letter, I am troubled by Goshen’s decision to begin playing the National Anthem at sporting events. Goshen and other Mennonite institutions live out an important non-conformist lifestyle and interpretation of the Gospel. I am saddened because it appears the leadership at Goshen is softening on this important stance and potentially losing the distinctiveness the Mennonite tradition offers to the Church.
Glenda Evans, Lititz, PA, Mennonite
Badger Johnson, Athens, OH, pentecostal
For the love of god, don’t make sports about the state. They’re supposed to be about fun, not war.
Forrest L. Moyer, Palm, PA, Mennonite
Andre Gingerich Stoner, South Bend, IN, Mennonite Church USA
Pastor Mark Keller, Harrisonburg, VA, MCUSA
It is disappointing that we would allow this tradition to end because it has somehow become an annoyance not to pledge allegiance to one violence soaked empire nation.
Matt Eaton, South Bend, IN, Anabaptist/AMBS
xxxxxxxx, Charlottesville, VA, Methodist
Conservative talk show hosts are much akin to mafia goons. Don’t give in to their arm twisting. Stay strong, praise be to God!
Ken and Kathryn Seitz, Harrisonburg, VA, Mennonite Church USA
We are truely disappointed that Goshen College has allowed the world to press us into its mold by deciding to play the National Anthem at sporting events.
Dot Walsh, Dedham, MA, The Peace Abbey
Perhaps it would be more appropriate to use another familiar… .Oh Beautiful for Spacious Skies..
xxxxxxxx, detroit michigan, catholic
Ross Erb, Harrisonburg, VA, Mennonite
Annie Dutcher, Madison, WI, Mennonite
solomon wilhelm, Toledo, Ohio, Christians for Peace
The best thing about the separation of church and state is that it separates the state from the church.
Adam McInturf, Portland, OR, Evangelical Covenant
Vel Shearer, Lebanon, PA, Mennonite
Steve Eigsti, St. Louis, MO, Mennonite Church USA
Steve Friesen, Austin, TX, MC USA
If you need some sort of American music at the beginning, how about “Oh Beautiful for Spacious Skies,” or “This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land.” Or “Tis a Gift to be Simple.”
Nathan McKay, Eagan, MN, Assembly of God
erin, Fullerton, Ca, American Baptist
Andrea Bontrager Yoder, Madison, WI, Madison Mennonite Church, PhD student at UW-Madison
If it is important to play a song at sporting events, consider “America, the Beautiful” which celebrates the beauty of this geography without emphasizing violence. It does not seem to me that playing the Star Spangled Banner enhances intercollegiate feelings of friendship leading into an athletic event.
Andrew Krinks, Nashville, TN, Church of Christ
Theodore Dyck, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Mennonite Brethren, Canadian Mennonite University
Mark Weathers, North Richland Hills, TX, Church of Christ
Rev. Megan M. Ramer, Chicago IL, MC USA, Chicago Community Mennonite Church
I am deeply grieved, Goshen College. I implore you, the alma mater that helped me to form my nonconformist Anabaptist identity and values, to boldly overturn this decision.
Joel Hunter, Tempe, AZ, Anglican
Danny Yencich, Johnson City, TN, Christian Church/Churches of Christ, MDiv Student, Emmanuel School of Religion
Brandon Call, Springfield, MO, Christian
Bethany Bauman Baker, Albuquerque, NM, Mennonite
Joel Watts, Charleston, WV, The Church of Jesus Christ
Chris Huebner, Winnipeg, MB,
Rocky Eades, Augusta, GA,
Ashwyn Falkingham, Sydney, Australia, Non-Denominational
Mary Ette Kramer, London, Ohio, anabaptist
This is a missed opportunity to show that peace is the way, and that nationalism is not the way of Christ.
Roger and Rosalyn Ledyard, Lancaster PA, Mennonite
Charlie Collier, Eugene, Oregon, United Methodist
Erik Nordbye, Boston, MA, Conservative Baptist
J. Alexander Sider, Bluffton, OH, Bluffton University
Rev. Jennifer C. Williams, Kingwood, WV, Pastor, United Methodist Church
Anna MacDonald Dobbs, Durham, NC, United Methodist Church
Laura Yordy, Bridgewater, VA, Episcopalian with Mennonite roots
xxxxxxxx, North Canton, OH,
Kristy Church, Siler City, NC, Episcopalian
As a member of a Episcopal church, we look to the Mennonites often as the standard of what a “real” christian community looks like, you are the radicals of non conformity, please hold true to your values, so we may aspire to something greater than ourselves.
Rusty Poulette, Gainesville, FL , Mennonite
Glen A. Roth, Lancaster, PA 17601, Mennonite
What an unfortunate turnabout from embracing Jesus’ way of peace. Having members of my home congregation (East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church) and my granddaughters enrolled at Goshen College accentuates the pain of this decision.
Steve Schrag, Souderton, PA, Mennonite
GC Class of ’95
Stacy Vlasits, Wooster, OH, Mennonite
Let’s share the good news that nations and anthems are not part of bringing about the Kingdom of God.
Aaron Fudge, Upland, CA, Mennonite Church USA
As an adult convert to Anabaptism and Mennonite Church USA, I find this decision to be in conflict with Christ’s multi-national Kingdom and way of being non-violent in our world
Ray Gingerich, Harrisonburg, VA, MC USA / Anabaptist Center for Religion & Society
For what reason should our Mennonite Church institutions continue to exist, if not for the purpose of building a community that is Jesus-oriented, qualitatively distinct from the one enshrined in our National Anthem?
James Padgett, Georgetown, SC,
Kay Bontrager-Singer, Goshen, IN, Mennonite, GC Alum
Mallory Dignin, Chicago, IL, Lutheran, Chicago Community Mennonite Church
Jennifer Graber, Wooster, Ohio, Mennonite
GC alum, 1995
Michael Rubbelke, South Bend, IN, Roman Catholic
As eschatological witnesses to the radical counter-cultural power of the peace of Christ, Mennonites shine brightly among the members of the Body of Christ. Please do not hide that light–shining both to other Christians and to the broader world–out of fear.
Sonja Bontrager, Wichita, Kansas, Mennonite
Tony Soldo, Hobe Sound, FL, Christian Pacifist Anarchist
Peace and Maranatha
Marc Hershberger, Akron, PA, Mennonite
As a parent of two GC alumni and a potential GC student, I would be overjoyed to see this decision reversed.
Rosemary Thompson, Baltimore Md , Jonah House
Sam Buick, Waterloo, ON, Canada, Pacifist Calvinist Pentecostal
Enough wrapping up in national flag. The Kingdom of God is not of this world. Nationalism is an offense to the biblical Kingdom of God that sees neither male nor female, neither Jew, nor Gentile, neither any kind of nationalism.
Doug Rheinheimer, Alexandria, VA, Mennonite
Peter Stauffacher, Kansas City, MO, Roman Catholic/Catholic Worker
Jesus said Thou Shall Not Kill…simple, no excuses…He also said Resist Not Evil…He absorbed evil with the immensity of the 2 Greatest Commandments–LOVE of GOD and Neighbor. Please take the Holy/Higher ground- many Souls, including your own will be affected. Christ’s Peace to you all!
xxxxxxxx, Strasburg PA, Mennonite, EMU
I came from a nominally mennonite background and being at a Mennonite University has opened my eyes to the dangers of allegience to nation over God. I think that there are lots of people who end up at mennonite schools who are still growing into the beliefs they will carry into the rest of their lives. not playing the national anthem is something that I think about, having come out of a public high school where the song was played before every sporting event. Your stance on this issue may be a bigger deal than you realize. Don’t passively promote allegience to state!
Ted Grimsrud, Harrisonburg, VA, Mennonite
Si Gustafson-Zook, Goshen, IN, Mennonite, Goshen College Student
Darin Bontrager, Archbold, OH, Mennonite
June Hershberger, Akron, PA, Mennonite
Kim Miller, Iowa City, Iowa, None
I grew up Mennonite and attended Eastern Mennonite College, graduating in 1982. I was shocked to learn that Goshen College would begin playing the national anthem at sporting events. This show of conformity to the norms of larger secular society is so out of character, and so unwarrented. Please consider reverting to previous practice on this symbolic and very important issue. Our society is militaristic enough without mennonites joining in the refrain.
Sadie Gustafson-Zook, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
Gene McCarraher, Villanova, PA, Roman Catholic
Brandon Rhodes, Portland, OR, Mennonite
Robb Davis, Davis, CA, None
Some of us from outside the Mennonite tradition have spent many painful years extricating ourselves from the enthrall of the state. We have journeyed a lonely path out of a destructive cult that still traps too many of our kin. We have found liberation from a significant “power” of this world. We have paid a price but we are free. You–traditional Mennos–helped us through. Because of this it causes me great sorrow to see Goshen embracing “moloch” in this way.
Doesn’t Goshen realize what it is playing with here? I suspect it does not. I suspect that too many don’t really believe that the state is a spiritual power bent on becoming a god. When I see Goshen walking this close to the fire I become angry. Maybe it is time for us “new Mennos” to help (some) of you more traditional Mennos see what is at stake here.
Les Gustafson-Zook, Goshen, IN, Mennonite, GC Grad, GC Parent, GC Volunteer
Our church institutions are expected to teach and lead in Christ-like values, not to blindly follow nationalist and militarist trends. Playing the national anthem loses the opportunity to witness to different values. I urge the college to reconsider.
Ben Wyse, Harrisonburg, VA., Mennonite
Wow, I never thought that something like this would even be an issue. This just makes it so clear that it is easier to take our wisdom from the culture around us than it is to look to the traditions of our denomination and the wisdom of Jesus.
Troy Osborne, Bluffton, OH, Bluffton University
xxxxxxxx, Durham, NC, Brethren in Christ / Mennonite
Daniel Colucciello Barber, ,
Emily Wilson, Durham, NC, Mennonite
Silouan Thompson, Walla Walla, WA, Orthodox Christian
Graham Martin, York, UK, Anglican/Episcopal
We serve no flag but the cross of Christ, and no country but His Kingdom.
Jamie Dominguez, Portland, OR, none
Gabriel Bauman Baker, Albuquerque NM, Mennonite Christian
This is not a faithful peace witness. I don’t know how to express my frustration and disappointment at this decision.
Laura Shank, Albuquerque, NM, Mennonite
Mark Metzler Sawin, Harrisonburg, VA, Mennonite
I understand Goshen’s decision, but I disagree with it. Hospitality to others is important, but so too is sticking up for the fundamental principles of a radical faith that has a message for the world. As a Goshen alumn I’ve long been proud of Goshen’s stance on this issues; I don’t want to see it change.
Ryan Kennedy, , Christian
Tommy Givens, Durham, NC, Baptist/Duke
Please reconsider decision.
Franco Ferrer-San Miguel, Altamonte Springs, FL, Christian anarchist, anarcho-otakuist
xxxxxxxx, nashville, tn, none
xxxxxxxx, Harrisonburg, VA., Mennonite
Please do not play the national anthem
Nora Edgar, Gould City, MI, child of God
Danny Klopovic, Melbourne, Australia, Anabaptist Association of Australia & New Zealand
Wendell Miller, Engadine, MI, Mennonite
Goshen College alumnus
Karen Wilson, Hughesville, PA, Mennonite
It is of the utmost importance that you reconsider this decision. Please remember your Anabaptist tradition. Thank you.
Lindsey Leahy, Staunton, VA, Follower of Jesus
Robert Vander Giessen-Reitsma, Three Rivers, MI, Multi-denominational
Goshen College alumnus (2005); Director of *culture is not optional; Calvin College staff
Ruth Martin, Browns Summit, NC, anabaptist, no institution
I find it most distressing that you would cave in to nationalism, and thereby abandon our most basic citizenship in the Kingdom of Jesus. Please reconsider this practice.
Jonathan Meier, Columbus, Ohio, Methodist
Daniel W. Martin, San Jose, CA, nondenominational
The approach of American Christians to the flag and national anthem all-too-often borders on idolatry. I would encourage GC to bear witness by avoiding this symbol of a much greater evil, the confusion of which kingdom commands the disciple’s allegiance.
MARY M Zehr, Lancaster, PA, Mennonite
Justin Guest, Smiths Grove, KY, Christian
Greg Stauffer, Broomfield, CO, Mennonite
Ryan Koch, Dallas, TX, Mennonite
Andrew Werling, Albuquerque, NM,
Jeremiah J. Bowden, Waukesha, WI, Marquette University
Michael Martin-Smucker, Tampa, FL, Mennonite
While I’m less than enthusiastic that so many people with no connection to the college feel that their personal political opinions should sway the decision of a community, it’s nice to know that such a wide variety of people care about this decision. As a recent GC alum, I value the thought that the college put into the decision, but this seems like one more decision made by the administration that disregards the concerns of a majority of the students.
Christie McClellan, Tacoma, WA, Roman Catholic
Rene Hostetter, Indianapolis, Indiana, Mennonite, Associate Pastor of First Mennonite Church
Sanford Wyse, Archbold, OH, Lockport Menno
Money, not principle dictate policy. Not until revenue lost through withheld contributions exceeds revenue of the sports events will policy change. Get some commitment behind your signatures.
Darrel Hostetter, Lancaster, PA, Mennonite
Tim Otto, San Francisco, CA, Anabaptist
Please don’t abandon the unique witness you’ve so faithfully made to the principalities and powers.
Wilma Harder, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
The Star Spangled Banner contradicts GC’s slogan “Healing the World Peace by Peace”. Playing the anthem violates 3 of the 5 core values of the college.
matt adams, Tiskilwa, Illinois, Mennonite
This is a sad state of affairs when an Anabaptist institute that exists to educate the up and coming generation becomes in word and deed sold out to the wrong messiah…
Kenton Lobe, Winnipeg, MB, Goshen alum, Charleswood Mennonite Church
John Shearer, Lebanon, PA, Mennonite
We do not support the singing of the national anthem at one of our church schools. It celebrates violence in full dramatic color. If we must sing an anthem let it be one of our former ones that celebrates our countries beauty.
Gwen White, Indianapolis, IN, First Mennonite Church
Brian Estabrook, Columbus, OH, Vineyard Church
The purpose of the national anthem is antithetical to our Christian mission.
Sarah Buskirk, Baltimore, MD, Mennonite
Having graduated from Goshen a few years ago, I was very surprised and sad to learn about this.
Tara Brenneman, Grantsville, MD, Mennonite (CMC)
Jamey Bontrager-Singer, Goshen, IN, Faith Mennonite Church, GC Alum, Father of 3 Potential GC Students
Kirk MacGregor, Macomb, IL, PC(USA), Western Illinois University
Nathan Andrew Vader, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
Becky Nussbaum, Union, MI, Mennonite
Eric Bradley, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Mennonite Church USA
Isaac S. Villegas, Durham, NC, MCUSA
Marge Swartzendruber, Shickley, NE, Mennonite
Will Swartzendruber, Nebraska, Mennonite
Robby Prenkert, Elkhart, IN, Missionary Church/ Bethel College (IN) faculty
Let’s try to come up with an alternate ‘liturgy’ to open sporting events (at Goshen; at Bethel)–one that articulates allegiance to Christ, his kingdom, and his righteousness.
Dave Nickel, Durham, NC,
Sam Steiner, Waterloo, Ontario, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada
Grace Martin Dickerson, Washington, DC, ecumenical
I am a 1970 graduate and support this petition wholeheartedly.
Susan M. Gerber, M.D., Rochester, Minnesota, Mennonite, Goshen College graduate
John Daniels, Indianapolis, IN, Mennonite
Duane Yoder, Akron, PA, Menn. Church
Joel Steiner, South Bend, IN, Anabaptist
Tamara Gerber, Philadelphia PA, Mennonite
Emilie Walson, Indianapolis, Indiana, MCUSA
Angelica Amaya, Wheeling, WV 26003, American Baptist
Erin, Elkhart, IN, Mennonite, GC Alum
Rosanna Kauffmann, Goshen, IN, Mennonite, Goshen College Student
Kelly Hartzler, Mishawaka, IN, Mennonite
Darrell E. Yoder, Pennsylvania, Mennonite
I acknowledge that you (Goshen College) put a lot of time and effort into the decision and that it was not done lightly. As a public school teacher who does not say the Pledge of Allegiance, I am still asking you to reverse the decision for the reasons listed above.
Allison Bontrager, Wellman, IA, Mennonite
David Yoder, Kalona, Iowa, Mennonite
Anne boehner, South bend indiana, Missonary
Carrie (Landis) Knight, Broadway, Virginia, Mennonite
Benjamin Anderson, Kansas City, MO, Mennonite Church
robin wenger, lancaster, pa, Grace Ubuntu Fellowship
xxxxxxxx, St. Louis, MO, Mennonite, Goshen Alum
Elbon Kilpatrick, Jackson, Tennessee, Mennonite Church USA
I visited the Goshen College Bookstore last November and purchased a Goshen College “hoodie” for my soon-to-be 14 year old son. I will seriously consider another college for my son if Goshen College does not reverse their decision about the use of the national anthem at its sport events.
Stephen Beckmyer, Uppsala, Sweden, Christian
No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.
Karin Holsinger, Cambridge, UK, Mennonite
As a Mennonite living in the UK, I have become increasingly appreciative of our tradition of separating church and state. I was therefore disheartened to hear of the institution of the national anthem at Goshen. Please reconsider this in light of the unique voice that Mennonites have on resisting Christian capitulation to the State.
Tom Benevento, Harrisonburg, VA, Shalom Mennonite, Anabaptist/Catholic
I have appreciated GC’s clear message to live differently and embrace nonviolent peacemaking. Please select a song of inclusion and love rather than war.
Matt Molcjan, Mishawaka, IN, Anabaptist
Please don’t forget who our King is.
Yvonne Zimmerman, Columbus, OH, Methodist Theological School in Ohio
Frank Peachey, Akron, PA, Mennonite
Lyle Miller, Goshen, IN , MC-USA, GC alum
Richard A. Kauffman, Glen Ellyn, IL, MCUSA
Class of ’68, Board member 74-84, Board chair 82-84; my wife Suzanne and I are both alumni, as well as both our children and their spouses and many other relatives.
Dr. Robert P Walson, Indianapolis IN, First Mennonite Indianapolis
Several at First Mennonite Indianapolis are not in favor of this discission – www.indymenno.org
Vange Gerber, Portland, Oregon, Mennonite
Weldon Nisly, Seattle, WA 98125, Seattle Mennonite Church
While I understand the “reasons” articulated by GC this is a deeply distressing decision. It is counter-gospel! Weldon
Evan Bontrager, Goshen, in, Mennonite
Eric Vandrick, Grand Rapids, MI, General Association of Regular Baptists
Roselyn Wilson, Evanston, IL, Mennonite – Reba Place Church
I grew up in Goshen, but wasn’t Mennonite. I thought Goshen College was weird and subversive for not having American flags or playing the national anthem. As an adult, I appreciated that subversiveness once I saw that our allegiance to Christ is above, and in fact conflicts with, our national allegiance. I understand some of the community pressures that led to this decision but lament that this is what’s deemed necessary to be “welcoming.” Please reconsider.
Glenda Landis, Souderton,PA, Mennonite
Andrew Krabill, Goshen, IN, Mennonite/Alumnus
Trinda Bishop, Greenwood Village, Colorado, Mennonite
GC Alum: The decision to not sing the National Anthem at Goshen college has stood the test of time – 114 years. Processing this through alumni in addition to primarily a committee may have been a better way of coming to a decision about this issue. I could better support singing America the Beautiful.
Melissa Kilpatrick, Jackson, TN, Methodist
If a decidedly “peace” college declares its allegiance to country over God, exactly on what does it stand?
Christopher Esh, Harrisonburg, VA, EMU student
Jeremy Shenk, Boston, MA,
As an alumni I am extremely disappointed in this decision. We don’t need more nationalism in our lives these days. we need alot less.
Barbara Haack, West Newbury, MA,
xxxxxxxx, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
GC now and perhaps Bethany next. And for what? Sports? Institutional greed trumps the confession of faith.
Isaac Beachy, Sincelejo, Colombia, Mennonite
Goshen College Alum
Haden Brewer, Tulsa, Ok, American Orthodox
Lewis Caskey, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
Hannah Roth, Goshen, IN (Goshen College student), Mennonite
Jake Geyer, Goshen,In, Mennonite
jason aldous, san diego ca, anabaptist
EmmaKate Martin, Lancaster, PA, Mennonite
xxxxxxxx, , Eastern Mennonite University alum
judith klassen, MB, Mennonite Church Canada
Graham Martin, York, UK, Anglican/Episcopal
No flag other than the cross of Christ Crucified.
August Kroll, Olympia, WA, Curch and Missionary Alliance
I have long respected the Anabaptist tradition of living out “Jesus is Lord” and standing up against those in power. It saddens me to see that Goshen will in this small way start to become less of a place where this is not just possible but encouraged
gerry fix, Hagerstown, MD, Mennonite
Gary Gillespie, Balimore, MD, Quaker
Chris Haw, Camden, NJ, Catholic, Author: Jesus for President
Andrea Ferich, Camden, NJ, poly-denominational
Stephen Lawson, Johnson City, TN, Emmanuel School of Religion, Independent Christian Church (Stone-Campbell)
Ron Meyer, Fresno, OH, Mennonite
MJ Frey, Goshen, IN , Mennonite
Chris Meyer, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
Michele Nafziger, Portland, OR, Mennonite
xxxxxxxx, Elkhart, IN, Mennonite
Jocele Meyer, Fresno, OH , Mennonite/GC alum
Mary Clemens Meyer, Fresno, Ohio, Mennonite, alumna of Goshen College
Lillian E. Dykes, Memphis, Tn, Christian only
Having found no “institutional” non-violent community.
Philip Fisher Rhodes, Dayton, VA, Mennonite
Steve Goering, Evanston, IL, Mennonite
Bonnie Price Lofton, Harrisonburg, Virginia, Quaker now attending Mennonite church
I am fond of Goshen and the wonderful people who work and study there, so it is with great sadness that I feel compelled to join the chorus of dismay over this recent decision to play the national anthem at Goshen’s sports events. I can see no theological or even spiritual basis for such a decision. Alas, I can see pragmatic reasons for the decision. Once pragmatism rules, then (well, enough said…)
Douglas Jones, Moscow, Idaho, Presbyterian (CREC)
Kate Bierma, Chicago, IL, Mennonite
Scott Coulter, Toledo, Ohio, Toledo Mennonite Church
Steven Kippel, La Quinta, CA, Christian and Missionary Alliance
Dumont Darsey, Robbinsdale, MN,
Eric Wood, Port Huron, MI, Episcopal
D. John Lee, Lowell, Michigan, none
robert w gauthier, St. Davids, PA, Eastern University
This is very disappointing. Please reconsider!
Scott Delaney, Toledo, OH, None
Scott Mathern-Jacobson, Fargo, ND, Catholic Worker
Angela Adams, Tiskilwa, IL, Mennonite
xxxxxxxx, Marshall, IL , United Methodist
Kerry Herdegen, Chicago, IL, Mennonite
Barb Swartley, Goshen IN, Mennonite
Rev. James G. Todd, Lawrence, MA 01845, United Methodist
Pledge allegiance to Jesus of Nazareth
Meghan Schrag, Souderton, PA, Mennonite
ben adam Climer, Seattle, Washington, Mennonite
G-d’s peace is only viable if we make it a part of every moment of our lives! The national anthem of the United States of America tempts us away from this devotion. Please remove it.
Alfred Claassen, Akron, PA, Mennonite
Malinda Elizabeth Berry, Richmond, Indiana, Mennonite Church USA
I am a Goshen College alumna (1996) and former member of the teaching faculty (2006-2009).
xxxxxxxx, Brno, Czech Republic, Christian
Dr. Ninure D. Saunders, Chicago, United Church of Christ (member)
Do you really think Jesus would sing any nations anthem?
Robert Weidman, South Bend, IN, Mennonite
Daniel Ringwalt, Racine, WI, Presbyterian
Austin Yoder Choi-Fitzpatrick, Notre Dame, Indiana, Politically Mennonite
Jonathon Casselberry-Scott, marcellus, MUSA
I feel this practice is a valued part of Goshen College’s individuality and stance on non-pacifistic symbolism.
Theodore B. Yoder, Kalona, IA, Mennonite
Michael Murphy, Nevada City, CA, HUMAN
WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?
Robert Thiefels, Hinesburg,VT, Catholic
I have never felt a part of the National Anthem before a sporting event and have wither remained seated or left the auditorium or stadium proper. I sincerely hope that you will not play the anthem before your sporting events or any other events that the college takes part in.
Timothy Doran, Chicago, IL, Mennonite
Please discontinue playing the national anthem. I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church and even spent five and a half years studying to be a priest. One of the reasons I left the Roman Catholic Church was its lack of a clear commitment to Jesus’ teachings regarding nonviolence and its easy acceptance of the nation-state. I joined the Mennonite church because of its history of radical commitment to following Jesus and its rejection of the supremacy of the nation state. Don’t undermine this tradition. Let Goshen College continue as an institution that rejects conformity with this country’s dominant militaristic culture. Stop playing the national anthem.
Seth Brown, Denton, Texas, non-denominational christian. developed my own faith
Jonathan Neufeld, Seattle WA, MCUSA
James M. Cooper, Goshen, IN, Brethren/Mennonite
Mr. Brenneman, to give some indication of the degree to which GC’s *former* position stood out, the story of this change appears now to have even reached the national media. This change in position may be in keeping with an institution that even markets itself with regional Superbowl ads and the like, but it is also a willful demonstration of disregard for the Anabaptist traditions of peacemaking and dissent. Maybe GC’s new motto should read something like ‘Making Peace with Aquiescence and Conformity’.
Remy Low, Sydney, NSW, Uniting Church/University of Sydney
This is an unfortunate capitulation to shock-jock media pressure.
xxxxxxxx, Wooster, OH, Mennonite
As I understand it this decision was based in part on outside pressure. Since when do Mennonites allow the World to dictate our beliefs? Our ancestors refused to compromise their beliefs even in the face of the very real threat of death. President Brenneman, I challenge you to think about how you’d defend this decision to those who gave their lives to found our faith.
Larry Gingrich, Birdsboro, PA, Anabaptist / Universalist
Alumni 1978, Played soccer, baskeball and tennis at Goshen, Assistant Soccer Coach at Goshen. Given the most recent response from President Brenneman and after having a civil conversation with Mr. Richard Aguirre (Director of Public Relations at Goshen College) I must now sign this petition to add my voice to the well reasoned and respectful disagreement with the decision to play the National Anthem at Goshen College sports events. I do believe John D. Roth’s proposal is a start toward getting at the deeper issues at stake here. I do hope the process over the next year to reconsider this decision will be a genuine one of considering all the dimensions of this important issue.
Phyllis Blazer, Dandridge, Tn, United Methodist
Paul Fischer, Springfield, IL, Anglican
Dr. Peter R. Gathje, Memphis, TN, Roman Catholic
Please keep Goshen College as a beacon of the Gospel in this militaristic and consumeristic society.
M. Ufkin, Nappanee, IN, Missionary Church
Keith Hershberger, Pittsburgh PA 15206, member Pittsburgh Mennonite Church
Kim Johnson, Memphis, TN, American Baptist; student Memphis Theoloigcal Seminary
I am praying that a decision be made in support of this schools history, majority and denomination affiliation.
Maria Nisly, Hartville, OH, Mennonite
Kate Dixon, Thornton, CO,
Joey Hunt, Florence, oregon, Catholic
Patriotism is a FALSE GOD! It cripples Jesus’s words of PEACE and LOVE!
Gretchen Yoder-Schrock, Gilroy, CA,
Rachel Nafziger Hartzler, Asheville, NC, Mennonite
Mennonite Fellowship of Asheville
dragonfly (this IS my name), occupied Maidu territory, Earthling
“Seas of blood have been shed for the sake of patriotism. One would expect the harm and irrationality of patriotism to be self-evident to everyone. But the surprising fact is that cultured and learned people not only do not notice the harm and stupidity of patriotism, they resist every unveiling of it with the greatest obstinacy and passion (with no rational grounds) and continue to praise it as beneficent and elevating. In its simplest, clearest and most indubitable signification, patriotism is nothing else but a means of obtaining for the rulers their ambitions and covetous desires, and for the ruled the abdication of human dignity, reason, conscience and a slavish enthrallment to those in power.” -Leo Tolstoy
Doyle Geyer, Parnell, Iowa, Mennonite
LeRoy and Shirley Chupp, Portland, OR 97202, Mennonite
Disappointed grandparents of future student grandchildren.
Jon Smith, Moyock NC, Non-denom (Antitrinity)
I agree with Rob:
Rob Arner, Philadelphia, PA, Mennonite Ph.D. student, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
Please reverse this policy and restore the traditional witness for justice and peace and against nationalism. Just as national flags have no place in our Christian worship spaces, as part of our witness to our Lord, they should have no place in our Christian colleges.
xxxxxxxx, Boulder, CO, United Methodist
May the historic peace churches be who they are. At you’re best, you’re an inspiring witness to the rest of us. Please don’t weaken your integrity.
Janet Erb Geyer, Parnell, Iowa, Mennonite
Adam Cramer, South Bend, IN, Missionary Church
Phyllis Dintaman Stutzman, Goshen, IN, Mennonite, GC alum
Rachel Stuckey, Fairport, NY, Mennonite
Stanley Hauerwas, Durham, NC , Anglican
Kevin Neuhouser, Seattle, WA, Mennonite/Chair Dept. of Sociology, Seattle Pacific University
Brianne Donaldson, Claremont CA, Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University
As an alumni member for both Goshen College and Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, I support the content of this letter and urge administrators to reverse the decision to include the national anthem at sporting and community events.
Sheldon Burkhalter, Woodburn, Oregon, Mennonite pastor
After growing up in a Mennonite family I graduated from an evangelical college and seminary. During my first year in seminary I began a journey toward reaffirming my Mennonite roots while reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s (German Lutheran theologian, Nazi prisoner and martyr) classic The Cost of Discipleship. And I read Bonhoeffer’s statement that in 1941 he began praying “for the defeat of my country, for I think that is the only possibility of paying for all the suffering that my country has caused in the world.” At the height of the Vietnam War I made a commitement that whenever I heard the words of the National Anthem I would stand, bow my head, and silently pray for peace and for the victims of war and for those oppressed by racism and poverty. It hasn’t always been easy concentrating on peace with words like “rocket’s red glare,bombs bursting in air” and “the star-spangled banner shall wave over the land of the brave” ringing in my ears. Serving as a faculty member at Goshen college for ten years I was further encouraged by Professor Theron Schlabach’s quoting of British historian Arnold Toynbee, “we ought to treat the nation-state like we treat our electric company: expect it to deliver the services for which at its best it was created and appreciate it when it does; pay it fairly for services received, but not sing hymns to it. It is there for human welfare, but we’d be crazy to sing hymns to our electric company.” It’s now been forty years since I began praying whenever I hear the National Anthem–17 of those years America has been at war. What if Goshen fans were to bow their heads in prayers for peace whenever they hear the National Anthem?
Stephanie Nance, Dallas, TX, Mennonite
Timothy Seibel, Lawrence, MS, Mennonite Church USA/ Jubilee Mennonite Church
How does Goshen College expect to teach the principles of pacifism and nonconformity if the school does not abide by those principles?
Chris Rahe, Bourbon, IN, Mennonite
I became a Mennonite, not at birth, but because I was drawn to their theology and historic resistance to this sort of thing. This is really a let-down.
Rebecca Kaufman, Racine, WI, Mennonite and parent of a Goshen College student
Please have the courage to reverse this decision.
Tim Nafziger, Chicago, IL, Mennonite
M. Therese Lysaught, Milwaukee, WI, Roman Catholic
willard conrad, Hesston, KS, Menn
Alita Yoder, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
Anne Lehman, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
Glen Nafziger, Archbold, OH, Mennonite
Hannah Bartel, Iowa City, IA, Mennonite
Doris Nafziger, Archbold, OH, Mennonite
Gretchen Geyer, Parnell, Iowa , Mennonite
Timothy Dann-Barrick, South Bend, IN, Kern Road Mennonite Church/St. Anthony’s Catholic Church
Peace be with you!
nikolai smith, montreal, qc, christian
holden boughton, portland, oregon, servant of the Lord
The lyrics of the “Star Spangled Banner” read in their entirety (which I would encourage people to do) are infused with such gross and pitiless violence as to be offensive to anyone of an even vaguely humanitarian disposition. i am by no means a strict pacifist, mind you. The song with it’s focus on the flag (not God) also threatens to induce an idolatrous attitude in people. I should like to take the opportunity to promote “America the Beautiful” by Katherine Bates as a much better song for the national anthem.
Don Kulp, Lancaster PA, Community Menno. Church of Lancaster
This could not be a more wrong-headed decision. Considering all the fear-mongering since 9/11, and how that has lead to our own nation losing its way in terms of our core values (torture, etc.), there has never been a greater need for institutions such as Goshen to stand tall and be a voice in the wilderness. “America the Beautiful” – a marvelous song, rich in imagery, with appropriate expressions of love of country. If you REALLY want to open the door to further communication regarding the core values of GC, don’t sing what everyone else does – use “America the Beautiful” instead. Mr. Brenneman, you don’t really expect other schools to scratch their heads and wonder why you would choose to sing the national anthem, do you?
Sylvia Rhodes, Virginia, Anabaptist
Susan Kennel Harrison, Toronto, Ontario Canada, Mennonite / Toronto School of Theology
Michael Jackson, Alexandria, LA, Baptist
Charlotte Eby Kulp, Lancaster, PA, Mennonite
Merv Horst, NY, NY, Mennonite Church USA, and American Baptist and UCC
a Goshen College Gradutate of 1984. I went to Goshen College to study Mennonite History, I love the Mennonite Historical Library, I hate, hate, hate this decision to play the Star Spangled Banner. Goshen College YOU HAVE LOST YOUR SOUL.
The Rev. Dr. Jean Rodenbough, Greensboro, NC, PCUSA, NC Council of Churches
I sign this not as a voice for any organization or church denomination, but simply for myself. I agree with the above article but I don’t have the authority to speak for any organization I am part of.
Josiah Groff, Chicago, IL, Mennonite Church USA
Diane Stone, Springport MI, United Methodist
The administration has indicated that the offering of hospitality to guests on the Goshen campus is a primary reason for the change in policy re the national anthem. I feel welcomed in the homes of others when they offer themselves to me, not when they attempt to be other than who they are. The Mennonite peace witness is central to Mennonite understanding of being followers of Jesus, not a marginal part of Mennonite identity, to be lopped off when welcoming guests. Please, give yourselves to the world.
Matius Larson Krisetya, Atlanta, GA, Mennonite
Trevor Bechtel, OH, Mennonite
Lucas, Waco, TX, Mennonite
Trent Voth, Fresno, CA, Mennonite Brethren
Ryan Ahlgrim (\’79), Indianapolis, First Mennonite Church
I rarely sign petitions because I prefer to bring people together to find common ground, but this policy by GC breaks my heart.
Randal Keener, Lebanon, PA, Mennonite
Mark Thiessen Nation, Harrisonburg, VA, Mennonite
Leonard Simons, Athol, MA, Episcopalian, Anglo-Catholic
I find it troubling that a Church known particularly for its embrace of Christian peace should instead renounce its principles for nationalism. As an Anglo-Catholic I struggle with my own church which has fallen even further, to witness to Christ’s love in Christian non-violence which is antithetical to the militarism and nationalism of the National Anthem. In unity with those who worship the Prince of Peace we need to resist evil regardless how widely accepted and “respectable” it appears to be.
V. Ehrlich, NY, Mennonite, Ph.D. Student, Cornell University
Having been raised in the Mennonite church, I understand why it is so important for us to be steadfast and unapologetic for our beliefs. And as one who has researched Mennonite history extensively, beginning with the Anabaptist movement and continuing with the numerous migrations our people embarked upon through the centuries in order to be able to practice our faith on our own terms, I find it very disheartening that Goshen College is prepared to bend so quickly. Please hold fast to the tenets of our faith and refrain from playing the anthem at sporting events on your campus.
Jessica Hershey Martin, Takoma Park, MD, Goshen College Alumnus
Lin Garber, Malden, MA, Mennonite Congregation of Boston, Goshen College class of 1957
This decision is gravely disappointing not only on the spiritual grounds that many signers have eloquently proclaimed, but on academic ones as well. How can Goshen miss the “teachable moment” here? What an opportunity the national publicity gave to analyze and discuss the evil of civil religion, and how tragic if it should be forever lost.
Harry Huebner, Winnipeg, MB, Mennonite
Heike Martin, Mount Joy, PA, Landisville Mennonite Church
Thanks for putting into words thoughts that I have difficulty expressing myself and helping us be a light in our surroundings.
Anna Showalter, Waynesboro, PA,
As a Goshen College student I am deeply grieved by this change in policy and sincerely hope that Goshen College administration will be willing to continue dialogue about this issue recognizing the unique opportunity Goshen and other Mennonite schools can have in witnessing to alternative models of national citizenship.
David Christian, Atlanta, Ga. , Open Door Community
Ed Weir, Barnesville GA, New Hope House
xxxxxxxx, Boston, MA, Goshen Alum
Extremely disappointed. Enough of my money goes to celebrate bombs bursting in air via paying taxes. This year, what would have gone to GC is going to be added to money going to MCC.
David R Hiebert, Scottdale, PA 15683, Scottdale Mennonite Church
It’s ok to just say no to creeping nationalism, especially at an international institution.
Rachel Huebner, Winnipeg, MB, Charleswood Mennonite Church
Sam Gingerich, Pierre, SD, Class of ’72
Laura Graber Nickel, Durham, NC, Mennonite
Linda Williams, Amite, LA , Mennonite
Udo Wald, Bainbridge Island, WA, anabaptist
Jason Vance, Lansing, MI, Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ
I hope this petition adds weight to the dialogue Goshen College says it is willing to have.
Kathy Laible, California, claiming no affiliation
Vera L. Steiner, Goshen IN, Mennonite
Greg Wiebe, Hamilton, ON, Mennonite Brethren
Lisa Showalter, Warsaw, IN, Mennonite
Derek Kubilus, Akron, OH, The United Methodist Church
Darryl Neustaedter Barg, Winnipeg, MB, Mennonite Church Manitoba
Ruben Chupp, Mennonite Church USA,
A son and daughter attended Goshen College, at least in part, because the counter cultural norms of peace, pacifism and nonresistance were prevalent there. The recent decision to play the National Anthem before athletic events seriously weakens those traditional Mennonite values. Were I to currently have children considering attendance at GC, the GC decision to play the National Anthem would enter into that discussion.
In scanning signatures and church affiliations on the JR website, I noted many non-Mennonite denominations. I find it ironic that while GC seems to be turning from a central Anabaptist position, some from other belief systems are pushing the institution back from whence it came.
While GC denies being influenced by the Gallagher fiasco, the timing of the above decision appears suspicious. Finally, if the athletic department/coaches are principal players in this determination, then the tail is wagging the dog.
Nancy Bullock, Santa Barbara CA, Episcopal
Tony Miller, Goshen, IN, Mennonite – GC
xxxxxxxx, Atlanta, GA, Open Door Community
Rev Derrick Ramer, Nappanee, IN, MC USA, North Main Street Mennonite Church
Graham Holcomb, Lancaster, PA, Mennonite
Lancaster Bible College student who wish his own college would do the same
Earl Martin, Harrisonburg. Virginia,
Our Mennonite Church sent my wife and me to Vietnam to administer to the victims of that tragic war.
We felt this was “radical yea-saying” to the way of love over the way of death. Almost daily we would witness the “rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air.” Too often we carried in our arms the bloodied children of that militaristic policy. I pray that Goshen College will reconsider this decision of cultural assimilation and emphasize the radical yea-saying to the way of Jesus.
Annie Spiro, Chicago, IL, Mennonite
Zach Kovitch, Mentor,OH, Episcopal
D. J. McFadden, MD MPH, Millersburg, OH, Mennonite GC grad
Perhaps a more enlightened response would be to do away with sports teams than to casually discard the struggles of generations of believers who have been committed to the belief that serving God supersedes all other loyalties demanded by the world.
R. Daryl Steiner, Kidron, OH, Kidron Mennonite Church
1971 graduate of Goshen College
Brian Showalter, Warsaw, IN, Mennonite
Wayne Martin, Willow Street, PA, Mennonite
Nathan Zook, Ph.D., Washington, DC, Mennonite
An 11-year-old girl in Germantown, MD, recently faced abuse from a teacher for refusing to recite the pledge. This 11-year-old shows more principled courage than GC.
xxxxxxxx, Akron PA, Mennonite
Melanie Webb, Goshen, IN, Mennonite and current Goshen College student
sally, Redditch , Christian
Philip D. Kenneson, Johnson City, TN, Christian
Please, please reconsider.
Joel S. Fetzer, Temple City, CA, Mennonite Church, USA
not likely to encourage my son to attend Goshen when he grows up. . . .
xxxxxxxx, New Holland, PA, Mennonite
Tabea Zimmermann, Harrisonburg, VA, Mennonite, Harrisonburg High School
I am very dissapointed to learn that Goshen College has decided to start playing the National Anthem at certain sporting events. As a potential future student to Goshen College, I have been recieving many brochures and information displaying this college’s Mennonite and pacifist ideologies. Playing the National Anthem at sporting events is an act which in my opinion goes against these ideologies and decreases my interest in attending the school.
james n. lodwick, south bend, in, anglican
please do not abandon Goshen’s historic Christian witness for peace.
xxxxxxxx, Canton, OH, United Methodist
Though I am not Mennonite and my own Methodist tradition suffers from this idolatry, I pray that you will reject it quickly.
Jennifer Yoder, Columbus, OH, Mennonite, Former Goshen College Student
Eric Kasper, Minneapolis, MN, Mennonite
Josh Weaver, Goshen-Elkhart, IN, Mennonite
Andrea Kraybill, Goshen-Elkhart, IN, Goshen College student, Mennonite
Mary Honderich, Elkhart IN , non-denominational
xxxxxxxx, Columbus Ohio, Mennonite
Judy Gingerich, Vernonia, OR, Mennonite
We need to continue to speak out against war. When people ask why we don’t play the national war song, we might be able to give them a new way to look at it.
Jeffrey Bain-Conkin, South Bend, IN, Baptist
Luke Gingerich, Canby, OR, Mennonite
xxxxxxxx, Temple, TX, Presbyterian Church (USA)
John Gingerich, Hubbard, Oregon, GC class ’67
Shocked, disappointed, trying to understand
Charissa Ford, Seattle, WA, Christian
Katlyn Dougherty, Wichita, KS,
Jeff Carlson, Chicago, IL, United Church of Christ
Knowing that Mennonites in the world are staying strong in their commitment to peace is an encouragement to me and gives me hope, even if I’m not myself a Mennonite.
David Hovde, Evanston, IL, Mennonite
Steve Jolley, Durham, NC , Mennonite
Kari Ferguson, Portland, Oregon, Mennonite
Let us remain in the world but not of the world.
Linda Metzler, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
xxxxxxxx, Leksand, Sweden, The church of Sweden
Kenneth Furr, Raleigh, NC, Mennonite
Please remember your roots. Pleadege full allegiance to the Kingdom of God, and do not mix it with the kingdoms of man. I beg of you, in the name of Jesus, please do not do this.
Janice Hathaway Crist, Quinter, Ks, Church of the Brethren
I would ask a possibly over-used, over-simplified question. What would Jesus do? I do think Jesus would be welcoming and hospitable, I don’t think singing about bombs bursting in air would be the approach taken.
Bernie Ryan, Chicago, IL, Catholic
Until today, I didn’t realize that Goshen College never played the national anthem before sports events. I find that incredibly admirable. I don’t understand how singing the national anthem would make visitors more comfortable. Shouldn’t your visitors respect your traditions? As a vegetarian, I don’t eat meat to make the guests in my home more comfortable. Nor would they expect me to. It would be hypocritical. I wholeheartedly agree with (petition signer) Don Kulp’s idea to play “America the Beautiful” instead. It focuses on the beauty of God’s creation and reveals a very real love of country as a gift to be cherished. It would send a subtle, yet effective message. Please don’t bow to whatever pressure you’re under to conform. My own religion has done this so often that Jesus’ message has been all but lost and I’m thoroughly disillusioned. I have always admired Mennonites for your unwavering understanding of Jesus’ message of peace. I urge you to stand firm in your convictions.
Kirk Shank Zehr, VA, Mennonite
If it is hospitality you seek to offer, I believe you can be more substantively hospitable by treating guest players, fans and referees with respect and providing gracious accommodations. That would be one way to enhance, rather than forfeit, your distinctiveness and Christian witness.
Justin Barringer, Nicholasville, KY, Church of Christ, Asbury Theological Seminary
xxxxxxxx, Santa Cruz, CA, Protestant
Katelyn Nussbaum, Union, MI, Mennonite
Derek Yoder, Plainfield, IL, Mennonite, Goshen class of 1996
Ken McIntosh, Flagstaff, AZ, American Baptist
Jim, I’ve been blessed whenever I heard you preach. I vividly remember a message you gave at PMC where you invited the children and congregation to recite a “pledge of allegiance” to the Kingdom and emphasized the supremacy of that over allegiance to governments. I believe that message is germane to this issue and petition.
Tom Oliver, Los Angeles, CA, Mennonite
Joseph Yoder, Middlebury, IN, Mennonite, Menno-Hof
As the parent of two graduates I greatly appreciate the values and radical Christian nature of G.C. I pray for the leadership of G.C. that they will have the courage to rescind this dangerous proposal.
Michael Stauffer, Indianapolis, IN, Mennonite
Bruce Skelton, Vancouver B.C. Canada, Christian
Mark Bigland-Pritchard, Borden, Saskatchewan, Canada, Mennonite Church Canada
Steve Slagel, Goshen, IN, Mennonite Anabaptist
Pastor, GC Grad and GC Parent
Stephen Paul, Marshall, NC, Christian
Angela and Jacob Oetama-Paul, Rockville, MD, GC alum and spouse
Herbert E. Myers, Mount Joy, PA, Mennonite
Doug Hostetter, New York, NY, Mennonite Church
Susan Brenneman, Lansdale, PA, Mennonite
Mary Jane Lederach Hershey, Harleysville, Pennsylvania, Mennonite
Disappointed in the school from which I graduated in 1952. Having been involved in reconcilition issues since Peace Club at Goshen, it is painful to learn about this decision.
Ben Bolt-Martin, Kitchener, ON,
Theodore F. Yost, Goshen, IN, none
It is a sadness for me that Goshen College has chosen to join with the vast majority of schools in America which make it their policy to play the national war song we call our national anthem before sporting events. It is an unfortunate move for a church which believes that peace is preferable to war.
Chris Liechty, Archbold, OH,
We missed an opportunity to stand for our peace position in the face of media pressure. I pray for another chance.
Elvesta Hochstedler, Iowa, Mennonite
Dennis Bricker, Iowa City, IA, Mennonite
I suggest playing “America the Beautiful”, not the militaristic “national anthem”!
Rex Hooley, Goshen, IN, College Mennonite Church
I have choices as to what church programs and institutions I give my money to. I choose those which take an unequivocal stand for Peace and Justice, and Allegiance to God above all others. It is no longer clear where Goshen College stands in regards to those three issues.
Floyd and Pearl Zehr, New Wilmington, PA, Maple Grove Mennonite and graduates of Goshen College 1957
Thank you for giving us this opportunity to request that the decision to play the national anthem be stopped.
Marty Kuhn, Columbus OH , Presbyterian
If you feel you must occasionally accomodate the “American patriot” why not play “God bless america”? It is equally well known and acknowledges God, not country, as the doer of good things, and does not glorify military might! It would be a powerful statement of who we are and whose we are while still acknowledging a love for country! It also humbly ackowledges our nations need of Gods providential blessings and guidance. (Too bad there isnt an international world peace anthem!!!)
Paul Leatherman, Lititz, PA, Mennonite
Robert L. Buzzard, Chicago, IL, Mennonite
Richard Heggen, Corvallis, OR, Mennonite
Albany Mennonite Church, hardly the bastion of radical Mennonites
Tim Widmer, Washington IA, Mennonite
Tom Yoder, Millersburg, Ohio, Mennonite Church USA
Goshen College, Class of ’91
Gerald R. Brunk, Harrisonburg, VA, Mennonite
Apparently this is an example of the new direction President Brenneman called for in his January convo address. Is not joining a prayer to the playing of the national anthem the very kind of idolatry that Greg Boyd warns us against in his challenging book, MYTH OF THE CHRISTIAN NATION?
Scott Smith, Greensboro, NC, Mennonite
Dave Hubert, Edmonton, AB, Mennonite
Joe James, Jonesboro, AR, Churches of Christ
Kenton Johanson, Melbourne, Vicotria Australia, Athiest
Nationalism is abhorrent and has caused wars all over the world
Jonathan Ziegler, Philadelphia,PA, Circle of Hope
Wayne North, Harrisonburg, VA, MCUSA
Paul James, Bella Vista, AR, Christian
Sara King, Fresno, OH, MC USA
Doris Dehm, Lake Oswego OR, catholic
Jim Foxvog, Tiskilwa, IL, Mennonite
A hymn to the flag can be idolatrous. See 1Cor 8:7-10
Stan Goff, expat – Costa Rica, Christian
Marjorie Nafziger, Broadway, VA, Mennonite
Ruth Stoltzfus Jost, Harrisonburg VA, Mennonite
An open letter to Goshen College:
It is with real sadness that we read that Goshen will play our nation’s battle anthem followed by a prayer at sports events — reenacting our nation’s primary ritual of its civil religion, which so skillfully enlists the power of genuine devotion to God into the service of loyalty to the state. We usually give the benefit of every doubt to fellow believers who struggle sincerely with difficult questions. We understand that local dollars and student enrollments are at stake.
The misplaced idea that this is an act of hospitality for others ignores the power of the ritual, with its conjoined reverences, to form participants on many levels of consciousness, and to deform the kind of identity and loyalty which we see as Jesus’ call.
Perhaps you discussed a truly broad hospitality: playing a medley of songs of the diverse nations represented on campus, especially since Goshen has been a leader with its transnational Christian orientation. A minute’s thought told you this would not conform to the religious ritual your local community wants. So maybe you considered the testimony of stating on every ticket a brief explanation of Goshen’s worthy tradition of Christian transnationalism? We can only speculate. Sadly, non-local alums and supporters were not told of the dialogue until after the decision was made.
The “hospitality” now offered is to present our nation’s militaristic anthem in a place of honor and in a quasi-reverential way that accommodates local tastes. Witness a feat of acrobatics in which a Christ-centered school, while poised in devotional attitude, moves its Christ over to share the center with an anthem celebrating bombs bursting in air. The superb teaching we value from Goshen faculty frankly puts to shame the thin and wishful rationale the administration propounds for this action.
We believe the rationale will be forgotten in a season, but our agonized decision to reconsider all support for a school we have loved will continue until the decision is reversed. We commit to further dialogue and will keep you in our prayers.
Ruth Stoltzfus Jost
Timothy Stoltzfus Jost ng ’69
Jacob Sider Jost ’02
Micah Stoltzfus Jost ’07
David Stoltzfus Jost ’12
Kathryn Stoltzfus Fairfield
Peter Fairfield ’02
Bethany Versluis Fairfield
Andrew Fairfield ’07
Tom E. Schumacher, Brookings, SD, Mennonite
xxxxxxxx, Sudbury, ON, Mennonite
As an alumni I feel betrayed by this decision. It reduces the effectiveness of what I tell my non-Mennonite friends about Mennonite belief and history. It is a HUGE betrayal to the ancestorw who died for their beliefs. Unforgiveable!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jennifer Snyder, Portland, OR, Mennonite, GC grad
Manny Fewer, Ypsilanto, MI,
Erica, Cleveland, Ohio, Mennonite
Sara Weaver, Shipshewana, In,
Philip Yoder, Cottage Grove, OR, None
Daniel Bertsche, Chicago, IL, Mennonite, Chicago Community Mennonite Church
Merle Baker, Oak Park, IL, Chicago Community Mennonite Church
May I suggest that you invite your College Community to invent/create a positive alternative?
Micaella Verro, Chicago, IL, Chicago Community Mennonite Church
Steve Weaver, Chicago, IL , Mennonite
Try reading Antigone for additional information.
Philip Kendall, Chicago, IL, Mennonite
Rochelle Martin Klaassen, Chicago, IL, Chic commun. Menn. church
xxxxxxxx, Riverside, Il, Mennonite
Goshen is one of the colleges that I am considering attending, and this was quite a disappointment to me.
Norma Wyse, Lexington, MA, Mennonite
Carol Beechy, Cooperstown NY 13326`, Mennonite/Presbyterian
I graduated from Goshen College and have faithfully supported the college and am very diappointed in both the decision to play the national anthem and to pray before athletic events.
Sara Reschly, Chicago, IL, Mennonite
Adrienne Laws Landis, Chicago, IL, Mennonite
Art Smoker, Mars Hill, North Carolina, Overseer, Tennessee-Carolina-Kentucky District, Virginia Mennonite Conference & Conference Minister, Gulf States mennonite Conference
I am deeply saddened by GC’s decision to play the national anthem. At the very least, if it is played, the anthem of an SST country, country of international students, or the anthem of the USA’s chief enemy (Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan) should be played also.
Matthew Tieszen, Durham, NC, Mennonite
Nova J. Smoker, Mars Hill, NC, Mennonite Fellowship of Asheville, GC Alum ’65 Asheville
Jan Lugibihl, Chicago, IL, Mennonite
Wendy Lehman, Chicago, IL, Goshen College graduate, Chicago Community Mennonite Church
Leonard Gross, Goshen, Indiana, Mennonite
All may not be lost, after all! We all need to reconsider decisions made, sometimes unwisely, and Goshen College has this ability as well. Taking the issue to the larger church, for a second opinion, would seem to be part of such reconsideration.
Certainly, the United States National Anthem lies antithetical to our Anabaptist understandings of emulating the way of Jesus—both his message (Sermon on the Mount, parables) and his actions (a forgiving, nonviolent love)—as individuals, and as gathered disciples who together form the Body of Christ. To live out this Jesus vision is our common intent, and we often fail. And when we do, we ask for the forgiveness, as Jesus commanded, of each other, and of the Eternal. But we do not compromise ahead of time, keeping the intention of Christ consciously and consistently before us, as our guiding spirit and light.
Goshen College, to be sure, continues witnessing to a forgiving, nonviolent love — in many a classroom, in music, the arts and theater. This would suggest as well, reconsideration within. As I said at the beginning: all may not be lost, after all!
xxxxxxxx, Corvallis OR, Corvallis Mennonite Fellowship
I was discouraged that after I met Jim Brenneman and we had a discussion, he didn’t bother following up as promised about a presentation I gave as a sermon at our church. Now I understand why – he is far outside the foundationalist Anabaptist faith and represents accomodationist and assimilationist forces. Goshen is almost already as Harvard was to its particular faith founding now. If hospitality is the central consumer-oriented doctrine, then I suggest a Holiday Inn franchise.
Christopher Friesen, Philadelphia, PA, Germantown Mennonite Church and Program Director Germantown Mennonite Historic Trust
Gary Olsen-Hasek, Salem, OR, Mennonite
What next a color guard? Why not sing a hymn instead?
Josh Miller, Fishersville, VA, Mennonite and student at Goshen College
We need the Mennonite churches across the county and across the world to voice their views. We need them. Or is Goshen going to be lured into the seductive secularism that reduces faith?
Roderick Fretz, Salem, Oregon, Mennonite
Ted Koontz, Goshen, IN, Mennonite, AMBS faculty member
xxxxxxxx, Goshen , In, Mennonite
5 years ago I was dismayed when I was told to stand up for God Bless America in honor of our country and then a prayer that included be with us now as we worship .you.I’d just moved here from Hesston and they had weathered the pressure there concerning flying the flag . I suggest that sports be for fun and we get out of the conference we are in therefore no need to recruit players who are used to these patriotic practices or flack from the Evangelical Colleges. Another prayer asked all God’s people to say Amen. If we keep in this direction I respectfully request Lift Every Voice and Sing also at basketball games- which I loved to watch ,by the way
Randy Ruth, Wichita, KS, Mennonite
Kimberly Briley, College Station, TX,
Kelly Young, Columbus, OH,
Jeremy Greenlee, Nappanee, IN,
Tom Friesen, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, Mennonite
Saying “yes” to the antham says “no” to a great deal. As far as I’m concerned Goshen is disenting from their tradition and bowing to the powers!
David Swartz, South Bend, IN, University of Notre Dame
Jake Froese, Calgary, AB, Mennonite
Travis Willson, bellaire, MI, Disciple of Jesus, (nondnom)
Blessed are the peaceMAKERS.
Lois Massanari, Lynden, WA, United Church of Christ, GC alumni
This is so disappointing and goes contrary to everything I believe about nonviolence and allegience to God over country.
Robb Gill, Henderson, GA, Disciple (nondenominational)
Randy Yoder, Jones MI, Mennonite – GC Alum
J. Nelson Kraybill, Elkhart, IN, Mennonite pastor; author of Apocalypse and Allegiance: Worship, Politics, and Devotion in the Book of Revelation (Brazos Press, 2010)
Let’s have the courage to be patriotic in ways that do not glorify violence, do not champion empire, and do not stoke nationalism. Christians are global citizens–participants in the Reign of God–not national partisans. Let’s support a great college by fostering frank and loving dialog with faculty, students, and administrators about how Christians show love for the country(s) in which God has placed us without bowing to the icons and idols of nationalism. In a tough environment to sustain a private school, let’s support Goshen College by praying and by sending students and dollars as the institution takes what will be a politically costly decision to rescind the national anthem policy. Will other Mennonite colleges have the vision and fortitude to refrain from the anthem?
Jennifer Farra, Saint Louis, MO, The Journey, St. Louis
Matthew l. Keiser, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Mennonite – Worker with Eastern Mennonite Missions in Honduras
Donald and Verna Zook, Iowa City, IA, MCUSA
Colin Bayley, Houghton, MI, Jesus Follower
xxxxxxxx, Edmonds, WA, Salem Mennonite Church, Salem, OR
Tyler Sjostrom, St. Charles, IL, Christian
Jacob, colorado springs , CO, Lover and Follower of Jesus
Rachel and Kate Smucker, Bird-in-Hand, PA, Mennonite
As potential future students of Goshen, we are very disappointed in Goshen’s decision to play the anthem. As Anabaptists, we believe this is contrary to our core values.
Kathryn Aschliman, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
Justin, San Diego, CA, Mennonite
Go in peace, friends, and be blessed.
Joe Fretz, Lakewood, CO, First Mennonite Church
Alexnder Pyles, Virginia Beach, VA, Catholic, Franciscan University
Emily Nighswander, Kitchener Ontario, Mennonite
I am absolutely and thoroughly aghast and disapointed that Goshen College would even CONSIDER playing the National Anthem, let alone try to DECIDE TO DO IT. shame on you.
Ingrid Johnson, Greeneville, TN, Church of the Brethren, Eastern Mennonite University student
When I heard about the fact that the Goshen college president had decided to play the national anthem at sporting events only to be “more hospitable,” I was very disappointed. I come from a slightly different anabaptist, but patriotism was never emphasized in my house or in our churches. Even though hospitality is an important biblical theme and practice for followers of Jesus to embrace, doing so should not compromise the fact that our allegiance is first to God and his will on Earth. Mennonites have long been proud of not only their nonconformity and the statement there made, but also of their view of the world as a global community of people and of faith. As stated in the letter, the song itself glorifies the act of war, which is very much considered against the Christian faith by Mennonites and Anabaptists in general. I will go so far as to ask you not to reconsider the decision, but to change it. How can we make a statement of our faith and allegiance to Christ as a peace church if we do not consistently abide by our beliefs in peacebuilding and peacemaking?
Edward Hopkins, Fort Collins, Colo., Harvest Farm
Eric F. Hooley, Goshen, IN, Mennonite, GC grad
Wayne and Norma Schrock, Millersburg, IN, Conservative Mennonite
Jonathan Reavis, Chicago, IL, Anglican
Matthew Bapst, Hamburg, NY,
Ed Swartley, Elkhart, Indiana, Mennonite
Rev\’d Rock Fremont Jr., Phoenix, AZ, United Church
Martha Huebert, Middlebury,IN, Mennonite
Keep the faith .. not patriotism but love of Jesus
Nathan Stoess, Louisville, KY, Goshen College
Andrew Cornelius, Portland, Oregon, Church of the Brethren
Murat Turk, Istanbul, Muslim
I support your attitude.
Jim Taylor, Lafayette, La,
JR Rozko, Chicago, IL, Anabaptist
Hoping this petition contributes to the failure of this “experiment.”
Brandon Fountain, Birmingham, AL, Christian
Praying as an outsider to this situation, that Goshen College will return to its heritage and once again become a beacon for what I believe to be the correct response to the tension of living as a follower of Christ in America.
Seth Forwood, Fort Collins, CO,
Julie Hendricks, Metamora, IL, Illinois Mennonite Heritage Center
Rebecca Dyck, Montreal, Québec, Mennonite
The issue of separation of church and state, and the role of pacifism and prophetic witness, have been well-addressed in previous comments. GC’s caving in to cheap nationalism angers me, and trying to mitigate it with a tacked-on prayer outrages me. However, what makes me ASHAMED of my alma mater is the underlying money motive — a facile attempt to get more Americans to send their kids to Goshen, as the “ethnic Menno” percentages decline. I’m sure this move will end up hurting GC finances more than it will benefit them.
Miriam Gross, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
David Wilson, Saint Louis, MO, Christian, Saint Louis University
Dayvid Graybill, Denver, CO, Mennonite Transitional Minister
Brock Johnson, IL, Nazarene
I pray the Lord grants you boldness to stand up for his beloved Peace.
Annie Stewart, Indianapolis, IN, Society of Friends
Denton Hird, Danville, IL, Nazarene
grace and peace my friends grace and peace.
George B Driskell, Corpus Christi, TX, Anglican
It is disheartening to see Goshen College cave in to the pressures of the religious right. I have always admired the Mennonite stance of separation of church/state and the stance on peace. Remember, you can’t serve two masters!
Peter Koontz, Goshen, IN, Mennonite, Goshen College ’08
Annie Vecziedins, Grand Rapids, MI,
I hope you choose to stop playing the national anthem and continue to insprie others to put God and their bothers before country.
Kathy Walter, Tipton, IA, The University of Iowa
Derrick Troyer, Sao Paulo, SP, Eastern Mennonite University
John F. Lapp, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
Goshen College Core Values have been repeatedly invoked as a central reason and justification for this unfortunate decision. I cannot see how the core values can do anything other than argue for maintaining our longstanding tradition against playing the national anthem:
We believe God is the foundation of all wisdom and knowledge. Through Christ we find merciful forgiveness and an invitation to a daily, personal walk empowered by the Holy Spirit. We are led by Christ in our search for truth.
We believe our faith is supported by knowledge. As a learning community, we foster a journey of lifelong learning, encouraging one another to seek truth with fervor. This spirit of academic excellence enriches our relationships, our world and our faith in Jesus Christ.
We believe that servant leadership is reflected perfectly in the life and person of Jesus Christ. We humbly set aside self-interest for the interests of others, because love for others builds up God’s community. By following Christ’s example, we create a culture characterized by joyful service.
As Christian peacemakers, we embrace shalom, the peace that God intends for humanity. We are committed to build the “peaceable kingdom” by practicing loving kindness, restoring justice, practicing anti-racism, loving our enemies and advocating for the dispossessed. We renounce the oppressive, violent destructive powers of this world and are willing to live our lives as examples of God’s peace.
As responsible global citizens, we see, encourage and celebrate the image of God in others. We welcome and include the “stranger” in our midst — respecting differences in world views while seeking common ground. We wish to transcend barriers between people not only through academic teaching and learning, but also in meaningful cross-cultural exchanges. We go into the world offering our gifts and lives in service to others.
Richard Harper, Nashville, TN, St. Joseph’s Mission
Oliver and Miriam Yutzy, Goshen, IN, Mennonite USA
Beth Miller Kraybill, Seattle, WA, GC Alum, AMBS MDiv student, committed Mennonite
This decision breaks my heart.
Kent and Betty Birky, Middlebury, IN, Mennonite
Lee Miller, Evanston, IL, Mennonite
As the third of four generations of GC graduates, I must express my considerable dismay at this decision. Exactly what “core values” are expressed through singing an anthem to bombs bursting in air?
Jeff Blakley, Homestead, FL, Spiritual Seeker
President Brenneman, please read the comments left by these petitioners and act on their wishes. I am not a Mennonite, but I am also appalled by the militarism of America. We don’t need another voice added to those clamoring for displays of nationalistic pride. Remember what happened in the years leading up to Hitler’s seizure of power in Germany. Nationalism is incompatible with Christianity. Respect the long tradition of the separation of church and state in this country. Peace.
Susan Coyle, Cambria, CA,
Thank you Goshen College for standing up for non-violence as Jesus did.
Rev. Kerry Walters, Gettysburg PA, Episcopal
Please, please reconsider.
Susan Fisher Miller, Evanston, Illinois, Mennonite, Northwestern University
Sara W. Paulson, Port Chester, NY, Lutheran/Trinity Lutheran Church, White Plains, NY
Rosalie Riegle, Evanston, IL, Catholic Worker
Roy Marin, Kankakee, IL, Anti-Constantiniast
xxxxxxxx, Wellington, New Zealand, Anabaptist
Whilst there is nothing wrong with national anthems per se, as an expression of national solidarity and identity, especially in an international setting, it is strange to me that a Christian college, let alone a Mennonite one, would use a nationalistic hymn, rather than a christocentric one, to express its awareness of identity and corporate solidarity. The use of the national anthem, in domestic settings, sends the message that the college is subordinating its identity to the larger national community of the USA. I have long admired Mennonite faithfulness to Christ the peacemaker in the heart of the empire, and been grateful for it. I am therefore surprised by this decision to incorporate the national anthem into college life, just as I was surprised, when living in the USA many years ago, that school children were expected to recite the pledge of allegiance every day, long before they knew the meaning of the words. Hopefully the pledge of allegiance will still be a bridge too far for Goshen College, but who knows…
Rachel Wynn, Gettysburg, PA, Agnostic
Ethan Hall, Cairo, Egypt, Society of Friends
Troy Mantel, Edgewood, NM, N/A
R.F. Kane, The (once) PROTESTant USA, Sola fide via the AV 1611 (only!)
Benjamin Schell, Wilmington DE, Non-denominational
Jamie Garrett, New Berlin, PA, Agnostic
Bishop Thomas Langley, Jersey City, NJ, Alexandrian Gnostic Church
Sara Tower, Gettysburg, PA, Gettysburg College
Isaiah Boronka, Kitchener, Canada, Mennonite Brethren Canadian Conference
Stuart Masters, Birmingham UK, Quaker
Ken Nafziger, Harrisonburg, VA, Mennonite; Eastern Mennonite University
John C. Nugent, Lansing, MI, Christian Churches/Churches of Christ
Your humble repentance would be a powerful witness to the world, to Mennonites, and to the broader Christian tradition.
Joshua Perkins, Grand Rapids, Mi, free methodist
it’s little steps of resistance like this that are truly going to make a difference in the way people think, in doing this you can make a change to bring about the kingdom in a new and vibrant way
Audrey deCoursey, Elgin, IL, Church of the Brethren
Jeff Miller, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
Class of ’87.
Please reconsider this decision.
susan schreiner, Evergreen Park, IL, Lutheran
No anthem glorifying a nation state should ever be sung at any event, especially at this institution
Rosetta Landis, Croghan, NY, Mennonite
The Rev\’d Robin Jarrell, Lewisburg, PA, Episcopalian
Josiah Daniels, Bolingbrook, IL, Non-Denomonation
Kimberly Watkins, Lowville, NY, Mennonite
Paul G. Vickers, Columbus, Ohio, Christian
Andy Brubacher Kaethler, Elkhart, IN, AMBS, Belmont Mennonite Church
lynea brubacher kaethler, elkhart, in, belmont mennonite church
from a possible future goshen college student, you have 4 years to change your decession!
Andrew Kretzschmar, Cincinnati, OH, Christ-follower
Joshua Reimer, MB, Mennonite Brethren
Carl Yoder, Goshen, Indiana, Mennonite / GC Alum
How many have killed or been killed covered by this flag…..How much injustice…..I am deeply disappointed
Chris Rooney, Canada, Catholic Worker
Samantha Lioi, Urbana, IL, Mennonite, interim assoc. pastor at First Mennonite Church of Champaign-Urbana, AMBS student
I am one of those ‘convinced’ Mennos who expects a peace church to continually point to the reign of God, the living God who draws our eyes and our deepest loyalties away from the reign of any nation-state. I hear and I notice that we’re not well-practiced in speaking about who we are and the stands we take. I expect that you will not only reverse this decision but also undertake the slow, essential work of making plain to all Goshen College students -from the time they are prospective students- the centrality of radical allegiance to Jesus and his way of vulnerable love in a Mennonite reading of the Gospel of peace. Folks considering Goshen College, and for that matter anyone who hasn’t heard this theology, deserve an invitational explanation of what Mennonites claim is core to the Gospel. For the sake of that gospel and with the confidence that you desire with me the fullness of God’s reign on earth, I join my prayers and my voice to what I hope will be an interchange that clarifies our common calling as Christ’s disciples.
Paul Zook, Austin TX, Austin Mennonite
Victor Friesen, Twin Falls, ID, Christian
Linda Pieri, Middlebury, IN, Mennonite
Don’t cave in with your religious beliefs all for the mighty dollar!
Janet M. Powers, Gettysburg, PA, Gettysburg College
Please don’t knuckle under to the warmongers! You are a model for all of us who seek peace.
Chuck Pieri, Middlebury Indiana, Mennonite
Emily Dueck, Toronto Ontario, Mennonite Central Committee
To compromise deep beliefs for higher enrollment and broader social acceptance is never a good move. Quite a disappointing decision. What faith values will be compromised next? Is this not a contradiction to the school’s motto “healing the world peace by peace”?
Kristen Benjamin, Northampton, MA,
We discussed this at the Passover Sedar last night, I wish I could have reported that Goshen decided against playing the anthem. It does not represent who we are as Mennonites.
Charles Waterfield, Lancaster, PA, Mennonite
I was not born a Mennonite. I chose to join the Mennonites for their clear views (and practice) of social justice and non-violence, for their choice to live independently of societal norms. At a time when I feel the United States is so far from Kingdom practices is not a time to compromise our practices.
Dawn Zook, Manheim, PA, East Chestnut Street Mennonite
Berry Friesen, Lancaster PA, MC USA/Lancaster Conf.
Why make this change now? Within this past decade, the USA has mounted a deceptive and illegal invasion of Iraq. One million Iraqi civilians have suffered violent deaths since the U.S. occupation began. The USA has kidnapped and then tortured innocent civilians. It has murdered wedding guests in Afghanistan, deployed mercenaries within Pakistani society, and funded terrorists to destabilize Iran. It has begun to militarize space. This isn’t an abstract discussion about hospitality or patriotism. This is a sign of accommodation during a time of crisis for all Americans who call Jesus Lord.
Glenn Lehman, Leola, PA, MC USA
direct this also to the board of directors of Goshen College
Matthew King, Lancaster, PA, Mennonite
Willard Swartley, Elkhart, IN 46517, Mennonite
As the College goes, so likely will the Mennonite High Schools eventually. A “hospitality” courtesy could turn cancerous to Mennonite identity standing against nationalism, even war itself. Serve apple pie at the end as an act of hospitality.
Dirk Eitzen, Lancaster, PA, Mennonite
Larry Zook, Manheim, PA, East Chestnut St Mennonite Church/ MC USA
Timothy Sommer, Chicago, IL, Chicago Theological Seminary
Michele Crockett, Urbana, IL, Mennonite
Daniel King, Urbana, IL, Mennonite, GC ’05
Karissa Sauder, Harrisonburg, VA, Eastern Mennonite University
Chris Lubienski, Urbana, Illinois, First Mennonite Church of Champaign-Urbana
This decision to disregard what is a core, distinctive element of our church has every appearance of an institution trying to accommodate the wider worldly culture. My daughter has been refusing to say the pledge since 1st grade. It will now be harder to convince her to choose Goshen.
Merianne O\’Grady, Urbana, IL, First Mennonite Church
Thank you for seriously considering the above letter. We SO hope that you will deep into your heart and see that Goshen College has a responsibility to its students to ‘walk the walk’ as a peace-affiliated institution – a Mennonite one – which should strive to live the history of the Mennonite martyrs who sacrificed their lives in the belief that the ‘state’ institutions are NOT soverign over the Spirit.
Stan Histand, Goshen, IN,
A Jesus moderate for repeal. One of the things I’ve appreciated most about my Mennonite heritage has been its clear unwavering voice in opposition to war as an answer to international conflict.
John Miller, Partridge, KS, Mennonite Church USA/Bethel College
xxxxxxxx, Illinois, Evangelical Covenant
andrew m, goshen,IN, am
Samuel Moyer, London, England, Mennonite Mission Network; International Service Worker; Goshen College Alum
Sharon Albrecht, Middlebury, IN 46540, Mennonite
Jessica Lapp, Mount Pleasant, MI, Mennonite/Presbyterian
Helen Bowman, Millersburg, IN, Waterford Mennonite Church
Gwendolyn Clemens, Timonium, MD, Mennonite
Class of 1994
richard yoder, Harrisonburg, VA, Mennonite
Paul Keim, Goshen, Indiana, Assembly Mennonite Church
One of many current faculty grieved by this decision.
Matthew Brnjas, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, Anabaptist / The House on Cherry Street
Mark Gibson, Saint Petersburg, Florida, GC grad and member of the United Church of Christ
Jonathan Hollingsworth, Mobile, AL, Assemblies of God
Most of Christianity has made the mistake of embracing nationalism. Please stay faithful to the Kingdom and your anabaptist tradition.
Kenneth Kauffman, Princeton, NJ, Mennonite, GC alumnus
Jonathan Watkins, Silver Spring, MD, Unitarian Universalist raised Mennonite
Joel King, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
GC baseball player, senior
Randal Hertzler, Gaithersburg, MD, Unitarian Universalist
Gary Simmons, Fort Worth, TX, Church of Christ
Thank you for your time and for considering our concerns.
Cheryl Swartzentruber Zimmerman, Sarasota,Fl, Mennonite/GC alum
David B. Miller, Elkhart, IN, GC 1979
Please reconsider this decision. I applaud the impulse to continue to seek great hospitality, but the symbols of nationalism are inconsistent with GC’s Core Values.
Joshua Smith, Mt. Vernon, OH, Nazarene
Katherine Bartel, ,
Russell Binkley, Waynesville, NC, Mennonite Fellowship of Asheville
Brad Graber, sarasota, Fl, mennonite/ gc alum
Emily Riesser, Seattle, WA, Episcopalian & Mennonite
Jill JANZEN, Fresno, CA, Mennonite Bretheren
xxxxxxxx, Denver, CO, Mennonite/ GC Alum
Ramon Rempel, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, Mennonite
Nadine Abrahams, Wheat Ridge, CO, Mennonite
xxxxxxxx, Washington DC, Mennonite
Charlene Epp, Beaverton, OR, MC USA
Our allegiance is to God not country. Christ’s gospel is of peace through non-violence and non-conformity. Stay true to our faith.
Duncan Smith, Beaverton, OR, MC USA
Nathan Abrahams, Boulder, CO, Mennonite
Elizabeth Weidner, Boulder, CO, Mennonite
Abe Oudshoorn, London, ON, Emergent
Carol Rempel, Littleton, co, First Menno of Denver
Charles Gardner, Indianapolis, IN, Roman Catholic Christian
Unfortunately, most Christians have long ago given in to the idol of nationalism, but many of us look to the Menonnites to maintain this important witness.
Sherm Hamm, Muncy PA, Follower ofJesus
Byron F. Kauffman, DMA (\’60), West Liberty, Ohio, Mennonite
President Brennaman and President’s Council: As a member of a three generation family of Goshen College graduates, I ask that you not require the college to reject the Anabaptist theology, on which the institution was founded. If you wish to be proud of our country, do so without requiring Goshen College to do the same.
Becca Stucky, San Diego, CA, Mennonite / Goshen College 2006
I understand that Goshen has struggled to find ways to help non-Mennonite students feel the same acceptance and community as Mennonite students. However, in my heart I know that it is possible without sacrificing core Mennonite beliefs. I have personally witnessed many non-Mennonite friends at Goshen as they found meaning and depth in the cornerstones of the Mennonite faith (and I, in turn, found meaning in their faith). This decision may be an attempt to avoid potential conflict, but in doing so, it removes the opportunity for people of different understandings to dialogue together and learn from each other’s point of view.
Richard Beyler, Portland, OR, Mennonite, GC alum.
I do not want to be self-righteous in adding my name to the petition, given the various ways that my everyday life is knowingly and unknowingly, willingly and unwillingly, implicated in the national power of the US, but I would be pleased to see GC reverse this symbolically powerful decision.
xxxxxxxx, Manila, Philippines, Evangelical
jason hammock, daytona bch fl., follower of Christ
“A person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.” [James 1:5-8 ]
Drew Daniels, Chicago, Illinois, Anabaptist/North Park University
T. C. Moore, MA, Anabaptist
Danielle Lamb-Books, Boulder, CO, Mennonite / University of Colorado
Samuel Goering, Boulder, CO, Mennonite
Eric Unzicker, Santa Fe, NM, Mennonite
Julia Bridges, Kankakee, IL, Nazarene
Naomi Brodock, Jackson, MI, Nazarene
Phil D. Oswald Christano, Washington, DC, Mennonite
Goshen College class of 1995
Phil Stout, Jackson, Michigan, Church of the Nazarene
I’m a Goshen native who has always admired the work of GC and her stand for peace.
xxxxxxxx, St. Paul, Minnesota, Ecumenical Anabaptist
I agree with all that is stated by those opposed to playing the national anthem at Goshen. This is an injustice to the Anabaptist heritage. The Martry’s Mirror details countless Anabaptists who died for their refusal to pay heed to Christianities tied in with state control, with nationalism, and the like. It is a supreme dishonor to our ancestors of faith to play the national anthem. We are all sisters and brothers and as christians we must honor no national creed above another. Our allegiance is to Christ and Christ alone. Thanks.
Kris Smiley, Sunnyvale, CA, Christian
1 Samuel 8:19-20
But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”
Do not repeat that mistake. Only God can be our King, only God can be your King.
Erik Foss, Fresno CA, Baptist/Anabaptist
Dawn Hurley, Brooklyn, NY,
Freddie Odom, Bluffton, GA, United Methodist Church
Jarell Wilson, Waco, TX, Non-Denominational
Joshua Murdoch, New Albany, IN, Evangelical Anabaptist
Peter Orlando, Barrington RI,
Bryan Poole, Durham, NC, Nazarene
John Seddelmeyer, dallas texas, episcopalian
Jennifer Palin, Toronto, United Church of Canada
Aileen Silva Carroll, Recife, Brazil, Mennonite Central Committee, Brazil
Jason Rodenbeck, Gainesville, GA, Independent Christian Church
For MANY years the Mennonnites and other Anabaptist traditions have been, ironically, light-years ahead of other evanglical schools of thought in their resistance to nationalistic idolatry. In my own peaching and teaching, I find myself wating to return to those Anabaptist roots and finding quite a push-back. It pains me to now read, when evangelicals are starting to get the point, that this colllege is considering a move in the wrong direction. Please don’t make this mistake and allow even an iota the idolatry of nationalism into your practice.
Seth Gilmore, Knoxville, TN, Christ Followe
Jeremiah Seraphim Anthony Jackson, Lubbock, Texas, Catholic/Orthodox/Protestant
Samuel Lockridge, Lexington, Kentucky, Jesus lover
“My kingdom is not of this world.”
Christopher McMahon, Latrobe, PA, Roman Catholic, Department of Theology, Saint Vincent College
My Mennontie wife and I attend both the local Catholic parish and Scottdale Mennonite Church. We were horrified to hear that Goshen has capitulated on this point.
Nelson Okanya, Lanham MD, Mennonite
The militaristic nature of the anthem makes it very difficult to sing it alongside the song of the lamb that was slain in whom we have victory
Craig M. Watts, Coral Springs, Florida, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
I am disappointed that Goshen College has decided not to continue being an example to other church related colleges and universities. Churches and church institutions have long been tainted by the sounds and symbols of nationalism. Anabaptists have maintained a clarity of Christian vision seriously lacking elsewhere. The decision to play the national anthem at sporting events does not reflect this clarity. I hope that the decision will be reconsidered.
Ray Funk, Spruce Home, Sask. , MC Canada
Heather Carlson, , United Church of Canada
Jennifer Heckart, New York, NY, Episcopal Church
I have always looked to the Mennonites to lead the way on this issue. Please remember, and remind the rest of us, why this matters.
W. Andrew Gibbens, Johnson City, TN, Christian Churches/Church of Christ
Tom Warren, Crossville, TN, United Church of Christ
Tom Evans, Lebanon, IN, Christian Church
Sean Allen, Wilmore, KY, Free Methodist
I often must stand alone as a pacifist in the Free Methodist denomination. I look to my Anabaptist brothers and sisters for support and encouragement. This change is disturbing and discouraging, because one of the few bastions of pacifism seems to be slowly losing its precious ancestral witness.
JoAnne Lingle, Indianapolis IN, Mennonite
I joined the Mennonite church in 1992 to get away from nationalism of other churches and am sorry to see a Mennonite institution give way to pressure to have the national anthem played. I fear the next thing may be the American flag displayed in churches.
Jeremy Troy, Grand Rapids, MI, Orthodox
Winona Senner, Saskatchewan, Canada, Mennonite
J. Paul Pepper, Independence, MO, Church of the Nazarene
M.Div. student, Nazarene Theological Seminary, Kansas City, MO
Erin Wentorf, Denver, CO, Mennonite
Angela Brown, Brasilia, DF, Brazil, Seventh-day Adventist
Marco Funk, Gretna, MB; Canada, Mennonite; Pastor
Bear witness to Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace; and give your allegiance to him alone!
Timothy R. Sauder, Lancaster, PA, Mennonite
Ross Martinie Eiler, Bloomington, IN, Mennonite (Bloomington Mennonite Fellowship)
Megan Matthews, Iowa City Iowa, Mennonite
Dr. James Danielson, St. Augustine, FL, Orthodox
We ought not imply our allegiance to an Empire that acts unjustly around around the world to the harm of innocent people.
Andrew Matschiner, Portland, OR,
Rees Conrad Douglas, Ph. D., J. D., Sioux City, IA, Church of the Brethren
“But if the salt has lost its flavor, how will it be made salty?”
Rev. Brad Van Fossen, Milwaukee, WI, United Methodist clergy
We mainline Christians need you Mennonites to remain distinctively Mennonite as an example for the rest of us to be more Christian.
Andrew P. Klager, Abbotsford, BC, Canada, Orthodox Christian, University of Glasgow
Grant Shoffstall, Champaign, IL, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Maureen Pickar, Cassopolis, Follower of Jesus and His teachings
John Williams, Chapel Hill, NC, Episcopal
Tesia Lee Mallory, Celina, OH, United Methodist
Christine Haider, Washington, DC, Roman Catholic
As a graduate of Earlham, I was fortunate to meet many wonderful people from Goshen and have a lot of respect for the college. I am disappointed to see Goshen step back from such an important part of our shared history as a peace school. Many of us who don’t come from ‘Christian peace traditions’ choose schools like Goshen and Earlham because we want to be in those environments. You are not being ‘hospitable’ to us.
jessica coco, jersey city, nj,
Jeremy Parsons, , Christian
You cannot serve two masters. To ally with any of the kingdoms of the world is to reject God, and to seek God is to sever all ties to the kingdoms of the world. Choose wisely.
Andrew Shonk, Portland, Oregon, Christian
Ruth Dyck Scott, Scottdale, PA, Mennonite
Every school day morning begins with me standing and NOT leading as my homeroom pledges allegiance. Some of the courage this takes in a very patriotic school atmosphere comes from my training at Goshen College years ago. I learned that I can be respectful, even hospitable and still give witness to my beliefs. None of my students have ever known a pacifist and I feel like my witness matters.
Jasmine Wilson, Grand Rapids, MI, student at Calvin College
Zachary L. Litawa, Davis, CA, Jesus Follower
Kendall Sholtess, Wichita, Kansas, Anabaptist
Don’t compromise the Gospel, which our Mennonite forefathers sacrificed everything for.
Paul Andrew Anderson, Earth: North America, Anabaptist Author; Christ-Disciple
Patriotism (or, nationalistic narcissism) perpetuates the us-against-them pathology; the paranoia that (directly or indirectly) causes all human conflict! We can, indeed, see the signs of the times!
Cameron Woodward, San Diego, CA, Presbyterian
Bethany, Modesto, CA, Free Will Baptist
(The Rev) Tony Green, Wenatchee, WA, Episcopal Church
Galatians 5: 22 In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Elexa D, Cottonwood Falls, KS, Disciple of Yeshua
Jennifer, Springfield, MO,
Jana Wheeler, Osseo, MI, Mennonite
We have eight children the oldest of which is considering admission to Goshen College. When he was in third grade he came home from school one day and said to me that he did not want to say the pledge of allegiance or sing “patriotic” songs at the opening of the school day at his school each morning but his teacher told him that he must participate. We then discussed this with the director of the school. From that point through his entire primary and secondary schooling his has stood mute during this ritual. He has discussed this with each of his siblings as they have started school and they all stand mute. They have been questioned and made fun of and told they should not be allowed to live in the United States because of their choice to stand mute. They have participated in sports throughout school and also stand mute before each game. I am saddened that Goshen College does not have the dedication to with stand the same peer pressure that my children have withstood. I was hoping to have my son be able to go to an instiution where his beleifs would be validated by someone other then his immediate family. I believe Jesus does not condon nationalism. I believe in separation of church and state. I am thankful that my fore fathers and fore mothers died for such a cause. I am praying that the GC board will uphold the Anabaptist tradition of non-conformity. As an alumnis of GC I am depply saddened by the decision as it stands.
Elise Dressler, Orlando, fl, Christian
JM Edwards, Azusa, CA, Pasadena Mennonite Church
brian molanphy, france,
R. Michael Medley, Harrisonburg, VA, Mennonite by choice and not by birth – Eastern Mennonite University
Lynn Yoder, Kalona, IA, Mennonite
Mary Piper, Iowa City, IA, Mennonite
I feel very strongly about this issue.
Mary Martin, Washington, IA, Washington Mennonite
Paul Coffman, South English, Iowa, Church of the Brethren
Susan See, Washington, IA, Mennonite
I have read the reasoning behind the playing of the national anthem. While I understand the intention, I believe it is dangerous to intertwine church and state, even in this seemingly “harmless’ way. I truly hope you will resind this experiment. What does the national anthem have to do with a sporting event anyway? I have never understood that and I am a cross-over Presbyterian. It seemed odd then and even more odd now that I am a Mennonite.
Scott Mueller, Halstead, Kansas, Mennonite
Jonathan Burger, Portland, OR,
Dr. David Fenrick, Minneapolis, MN, Mennonite-Wesleyan
James King, Copperas Cove, TX, University of Aberdeen
xxxxxxxx, Harrisonburg, VA, Lutheran (Evangelical Catholic)
Sandra Jean Stevens, Iowa City, Iowa, Mennonite
Brian Bowman, Wauseon, Ohio, Arrowpeak House
Competitive group sports — war music or not — are a potent method of socialization for military service. “Group sports = troop supports.”
Brett Taylor, minneapolis, MN, Missio-Dei
brent aldrich, indianapolis, in,
Rory Ladd, Bryan, OH, Jesus follower
Have you forgotten that the empires of this world hold no sway over us? We belong to the Kingdom of God.
W. Drane Reynolds, Homestead, FL, Homestead Mennonite Church
A Modest Proposal for Peace: “Let the Christians of the world agree they will not kill each other.” Yet the national anthem glorifies a war in which Christians did kill each other. Which do you affirm, Goshen?
Brett Flener, Nashville, TN, Amos House Catholic Worker Community
Bailey Kelly, Portland, OR, Jesus Follower
Andrew, Harrisburg, Pa, Mennonite
xxxxxxxx, Salem, OR, Lutheran
Colin A. Douglas, Tulsa, OK , Church of the Brethren
Please stand by the Anabaptist tradition of Christ as King not the State.
Tom Jennings, Flagstaff, AZ, Follower of Jesus
Stephanie, Creston,OH, Non-Denominational
Alan Smigielski, Fairfax, VA, Follower of Jesus
Nikola Ouray, Panascola, Florida, Anabaptist
Nathanael Bassett, Springfield, CT, none
Jane Kupfer, St. Augustine, FL,
“My country is the world and my contrymen are all mankind.”
Maggie Gilman, Portland, OR, Portland Mennonite Church
Jerrett Lyday, Dallas, TX, Mennonite/Peace Mennonite Church
May Christ reign!
Christopher Montgomery, Drexel Hill, PA, Church of the Brethren
Mike Rogers, ThD, Kansas City, MO, Non-denominational
Thank you for obeying Jesus’ imperative to seek first the kingdom of heaven.
Micah Duke, Portland, Oregon, Christ-follower
xxxxxxxx, Eugene, Oregon, Community of Christ in Eugene
USA Today reports that more US military are losing their lives to suicide, drug overdose and negligence than to battle in the Middle East. I think this says a lot and until we uncover and deal with the problems war continues to cause we must pause and stop it’s promotion and glorification.
Matthew, Columbus, OH, OSU, Mennonite-CMC
I don’t know the motive behind this, so I cannot say that it is motivated by something wrong, but this decision clearly does not take into account the power of symbols. Being hospitable is good, but anthem and the flag are about aggression and worldly lordship, not hospitality. Symbols are powerful. These two symbols in particular lead people into the sort of war that I am sure you would agree is un-Christlike.
Beryl James Forrester, , Mennonite
Ken Corder, Louisville, KY, Jesus Follower
Jacob, Portland, OR, Christian
Marlinda Beachy, Kalona, IA, Mennonite
Kay Guyer, PA, Church of the Brethren, Manchester College Student
As a peace college, the time has come to stand up for a radical worldview — a worldview rooted in the Gospel of Peace, not the Religion of Nationalism. Be courageous in your conviction of shalom!
Mary Cooney, Lincoln, NE , Mennonite
Jimmy Hobbs, Osceola, IA, Missional Reformed
Robert Klingler, Lenexa, KS, Jesus follower
Rev. Dr. Bruce Wright, St. Petersburg, Florida, The Refuge/Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign
Please don’t sell out like the German Church to the Nazis did!!
Monte Asbury, Washington, IA, Church of the Nazarene
“O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave” is appalling national arrogance, suggesting that people of other lands are both less free and less courageous than Americans. How foreign to the Kingdom of God is nationalism!
Jan Braun, Toronto, Mennonite
Bert McDert, Atlanta, GA, Jesus Movement
I fail to see how this decision can be construed as in any way consistent with your stated values. Be courageous! You have ample support.
Josh Dies, Guyton, HA, Christian
Jake Rollison, Prague, Czech Republic, Non-denominational
Lisa Greer, Brownsville, TX, Methodist
carlos espin, charlotte, nc, Jesus follower
xxxxxxxx, Toronto,Ontario, Mennonite
Joshua Cook, Syracuse, NY, Unitarian Universalist
Geoffrey Mackey, Ambridge, PA, The Byzantine Catholic Church
Rev Lance A Schmitz, Okc, ok, Church of the Nazarene
Leon Moyer, Alamosa, Co., Christian
No man can serve two masters–repent, and place Christ first and only at your institution, as we are all supposed to be strangers and pilgrims in this world!
Harley Mathews, corpus christi, TX, United Methodist Church
S. Carter McNeese, Winston-Salem, NC, Baptist/ Wake Forest University School of Divinity, MDiv ’12
Penny Cragun, Duluth, MN, Peace UCC and the Community oof the Third Way
Tim Webb, Nashville, TN, church of Christ
my Kingdom is not of this world….
Brian Kraft, Minneapolis Minnesota, Evangelical Covenant Church
Maria Kirby, Wheeling, IL,
Michael Danner, Metamora, IL, Metamora Mennonite Church
xxxxxxxx, Catlin, IL, Church of Christ
Tyler Grant, Richfield, PA,
timothy brown, providence, ri, episcopalian
xxxxxxxx, Shepherdsville, KY, Christian (Non-Denominational)
I pledge allegiance to the slaughtered Lamb of God!
Duane Combs, Harlan, Ky, Christian
Nathan Gardner, Plymouth, IN, Missionary
Jonathan Lynn, Cincinnati OH, Christian (Anarchist-Anabaptist)
xxxxxxxx, Evanston, IL, Mennonite
Julie C. Brewer, Ada, OH, Anabaptist – Church of the Brethren
James Owsley, Sparks, NV, ELCA, Anabaptist at heart, University of Nevada
Whatever you do, let it be done in love and truth.
Petr Witkowski, Grand Rapids, MI, none
Dylan F March, Nashville, TN, Episcopal
Long live the slaughtered Lamb.
Cody Stauffer, Payette, ID, Christian Church, M. Div. Student Northwest Nazarene University
Dr. James Jakob Fehr, Bammental, Germany, Mennonite
As a Canadian who has attended American sports events and watched them on TV, I am always offended by the glorification of war inherent in the American anthem. Christ calls us to an alternative lifestyle. Let’s be hospitable to others by inviting them to step out of their comfort zone and join us in following Jesus.
John Elliott, Toronto, ON, Canada,
One of the things that has always appealed to me in Mennonite churches is the absence of flags and the nationalism they represent. Playing the national anthem at sporting events is simply wrong for a college that is attempting to teach people to live a Christian life aligned with the Kingdom of God and not any national power.
Ryan Wojton, Grand Haven, MI, Jesus Follower
Joseph Kelly, Louisville, KY,
Callee Smith, Dayton, Ohio, Nazarene
Andrew Levang, Bellingham, WA,
Merrick Drake, ,
PJ Johnston, Iowa City, IA, Anglican
xxxxxxxx, Nicholasville, KY, Church of Christ
The Anabaptist witness for peace and God’s Kingdom have been so helpful for the universal church and the decision to play the national anthem has compromised that necessary prophetic witness.
David Johnson, Searcy, AR, Churches of Christ
I come from a heritage that, especially before the first World War, had a fairly strong and substantial peace witness. I mourn the loss of that witness when I look at the nationalistic idolatry of my alma mater. I pray you do not go down the same path. “Come out from among them, and be separate. For what does Christ have in common with Belial?”
R Crommett, memphis tn , social christian anarchist
Separation of Church and state The Church shall nothing to do with the state and the state shall have nothing to do with the Church as our elders desired it to be so should it be!!!
Allen Johnson, Dunmore, West Virginia, Creation Song
The National Anthem and its flag are used for the purpose of “offering the pinch of incense to Caesar.” It is idolatry.
Read Daniel 3 in the Bible.
Debora Johnson, Dunmore, West Virginia, Creation Song
John Bambrick, Chicago, IL, White Rose Catholic Worker Community
Heidi Birky Goldman, Indianapolis, IN, Mennonite
Heather R. Birky, South Bend, IN, Mennonite
Brian O\’Leary, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
Bill McLellan, St. Peters, MO, Reformed
Jeremiah Eisley, Williamsport, PA, IslamaJudeoChristian
One cannot faithfully serve two masters.
Caleb Yoder, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
Garrett A. Brown, Siloam Springs, AR, Emergent
Michael Springs, Azusa, CA, Not Sure
I write in agreement with the students fighting to ban the national anthem from Goshen college. Christian’s are not married to any nation, but instead we are involved in the politics of Jesus Christ which endure suffering and will never capitalize on the poor, support violence, or join any nation that supports these things.
Brisa Peacock, Denton, TX, Christian-nondenominational
Helena Robison Peacock, Denton, TX, Christian-nondenominational
Kayla Robbins, East Berlin, PA, Church of the Brethren
Doug Schirch, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
Mark Leverenz, Rochester, NY, Non-Denominational
Michael J. Sharp, Goshen, IN, Mennonite
Ruth, Hesston, KS, Mennonite
Reconsider playing the anthem, I think it is a better witness NOT to play the anthem
Jonathan Heath, Knoxville, TN, the homeless rabbi
Steven Hildebrand, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Mennonite, Mechanical Engineering Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
Goshen’s history of not playing the anthem Is commendable. It inspires believers around the world and gives us an idea of what it means to be in the world but not of it. please reverse this decision.
Izaak Standridge, Alcoa, TN, Reformed Theology, Mennonite Influence
Let us not capitulate to the prevailing consensus; in doing so, would we not unhinge our message and distort our walk?
xxxxxxxx, Boone, NC , In Christ
I have so learned from the nonviolent, peaceful tradition of the Anabaptists and their refusal to conform to the culture at large. Please reconsider this decision. You can be hospitable and still point to the Prince of Peace. Thank you.
Jeff Vernon, Bellefontaine Ohio, anabaptist
I had the good fortune, as a non-Mennonite, to attend a Mennonite college. This experience exposed me to a radically different world view than the one I experienced in my Protestant up-bringing, one that suggested that we are to put the Kingdom of God above all others. If anabaptist schools loose that prophetic voice, who will proclaim to 20 year olds that there is truely a third way, Jesus’ way? What next, Army recruiters on campus?
Carol Voigts, Wellston, Quaker
don’t betray your heritage and put nation above the unity of world wide Christianity.
Derek Samples, Searcy, AR, Church of Christ
Jamie Arpin-Ricci, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, Mennonite Church Manitoba
It is costly to stand for truth in the face of nationalism and pressure, but we know you will do what is right.
Stephanie, Milroy, PA, non-denom; lover of souls.
Daniel Kiniry, Bryan, Tx, ecumenical, multi-denominational
the pledge of allegiance has no place there or in the lips of Christians anywhere
Lonnie L Richardson, Cheraw, SC, Church of The Brethren
Mary Sue Gmeiner, New Carlisle, OH, Mennonite
I am not a “cradle” Mennonite – my choice 7 years ago was based on the strength of its Anabaptist tradition. This decision by a Mennonite College seems to me contrary to Anabaptist beliefs.
Kyle Peveto, Buna, Texas, Churches of Christ
G. Marcille Frederick, Blue Island, IL, Mennonite
Reid Hochstedler, Lafayette, IN,
No one can serve two masters.
Tom Brenneman, Harrisonburg, VA,
Paul.Stanely. Cook., Blue Island . Illinois. U.S.A., Community Mennonite Church
Gayle L. Dosher, Bend, OR 97701, Mennonite
Please reverse your decision to play the national anthem on campus.
Derek Bennett, Mount Vernon, IL,
Hillary Brown, Decatur, GA, Quaker
Martha Dosher Beck, Carbondale,IL, Disiples of Christ
Graduated from GC in 1968 and value Mennonite values and theology more than ever.
Mark Leichty, Albany, Oregon, Goshen College class of 1984
ann detweiler, albany, or, Missionary Alliance
A congregation-ally homeless Mennonite currently finding much more radically Anabaptist Christians within the Missionary Alliance setting and desperately wishing the Mennonite Church would reclaim their tradition of quiet, gentle, stubborn, servant resistance to being conformed to this world.
A. C. Jones, North Port, FL,
Mary Ellen Meyer, Goshen, IN 46526, Mennonite
I am all for hospitality, but not at the expense of losing the identity for which other Christians are looking to us for leadership in these years. We can be welcoming and still maintain the firm position that our citizenship is not first of all as Americans.
Loyd Nolen Dunaway, Oklahoma City OK , Baptist
So many of our institutions have become americanized. It is a sad thing to see another adopt the world into its values.
Chris Haynes, Kingsport, TN, Anabaptist
David K Janssen, Freeman SD 57029, Mennonite, Salem-Zion Mennonite Church
Jef Schultz, Gualala, CA, follower of Christ – Jesus radical
Feel myself to be a “member” of all churches, all denominations, all faiths
xxxxxxxx, Indianapolis, IN, a regular sinner
Peg Burns, Kansas City, MO, Catholic
Danielle Miller, San Antonio, TX , Mennonite
Pamela Allee, Portland, Oregon, Subud
Our national anthem horrifies me. It glorifies war and militarism. As a conscientious objector I have been unable to worship the flag or understand mindless patriotism since I was thirteen. I am now 64.
K. E. Parsons, Salisbury, MD, Religious Society of Friends (Quaker)
xxxxxxxx, Oakland, CA, visitor to First Mennonite San Francisco
What has me interested in the Mennonite Church is it’s rejection of false allegiances.
Florence V. Davis, Tucson, AZ, United Church of Christ, catholic
For many years I have respected the Mennonite stand for peace and nonviolence. In working with the Sanctuary Movement in Arizona back in the 80s, I encountered Mennonite volunteers who used their voices, their Sacred Harps, to bring an understanding of peace and love, as well as English, to young refugees from Central America. I cannot imagine why Goshen’s witness to Christ’s nonviolence is now to be riven by your singing the US national war song at sporting events. If for tax reasons or for funding issues it is absolutely necessary to demonstrate patriotism, PLEASE consider substituting America the Beautiful, perhaps with the words changed as in the UCC hymnal. An even better song would be This Is My Song, sung to the tune of Finlandia.
JD Hash, Bellevue, WA, Christian
Bryan Hash, San Jacinto, CA, Calvary Chapel
Greg Hagen, Woodbury,MN, Catholic
Susan Beechy Enz, Bordentown, NJ, Goshen College Alum
Janice Hershberger Stoltzfus, Key West, FL,
GC grad 1972
Alice (Kauffman) Hofheimer, Brooklyn, New York, Goshen College offspring
Dane Peterson, Montevideo MN, Jesus Freak
byron murray, Guelph Ontario, n/a
Nationalism isnt healthy
John Enz, Bordentown, NJ, Society of Friends
GC graduate 1972
Judith Beechy, Goshen IN, Mennonite
Veronica Beaty, Oakland, Ca, Christian — Methodist/Mills College
Arthur Joseph Wyse, Kalona, IA , First Mennonite Church — Iowa City
Shame on them for selling out ; this decision smacks of a bottom-line / fiscal matter. — Let’s compromise our Anabaptist values in order to attract a broader spectrum of ( i.e., more ) students.
Mason Singleton, Austin, TX, Jesus follower
Not playing the anthem is a witness to a different way. It acknowledges we can have one and only one way and story. That of Christ.
Janis Miller, Dexter, MI, Mennonite
Maria Ortega Kummer, Iowa City, Iowa, Mennonite/Anglican
This is a defining moment in the history of Goshen College. I pray that you will be faithful to the Lord and His Kingdom of peace.
Bert Miller, Mt. Pleasant, IA, Christian
All of my allegiance is to the living God. I have none left over for a piece of cloth. In the scriptures Jesus does not sing any anthem. It is my belief that this is a form of idol worship. Many are called – few chosen. Do we follow Jesus? Or do we follow the masses who know not what they do?
David Sickles, West Branch, IA 52358, Mennonite
Lindsey Nelson-Piersol, Phoenix, AZ, Christ follower
Karen Beechy Kreider, Royersford, PA, Goshen College graduate, 1966; Episcopalian
Mark Seymour, Elkhart, Indiana, Christian
This is SO out of place for a Christian organization. And the excuses given smack of compromise of Christian values and marketing.
Anthony Harris, Worcester, Vermont, Southern Baptist Convention
James E. Varnam, Bishop, CA, Methodist
David Montague, St Johnsbury VT, Undisclosed
xxxxxxxx, Olds, Mennonite church
As a long term anabaptist institution, i’m counting on Goshen to continue stand apart from other schools.
Clayton Lynch, Little Falls, Universal Life of the Seasons People
Bill LeMosy, IA, Presbyterian Church (USA)
Such a bombs-and-glory anthem befits NO institution purporting to follow Jesus. To sing it would stifle discipleship to the Prince of Peace.
xxxxxxxx, Buffalo, Nueva York, Catholic
Jeanne E O\’Neill, Stevensville, MT, Roman Catholic
Until I read this message I was unaware of the real “war theme” incapsulated in the Star Spangled Banner. Thank you for the enlightenment.
Bethany Caldwell, Philadelphia, PA, West Philadelphia Mennonite Fellowship
xxxxxxxx, Simsbury, CT, Christ-follower
xxxxxxxx, Bowling Green, KY, Western Kentucky University
June G. Yoder, Albuquerque, NM, Mennonite
Roger Yoder, Black Canyon City, AZ, Non-Denominational
I still consider myself Anabaptist, but no longer Mennonite. Thought I would never see this day.
Louis C. Witherspoon, Chicago, IL, Baptist/Mennonite.
arthur mark lerner, MD, huntingdon valley,pa, RC
xxxxxxxx, Chicago, IL, Quaker
Patrick Dwyer, Chicago, IL, Catholic
Pat Fons, Milwaukee, WI,
Jack Hereford, New Haven, MO, CW
Rev. Gregory A. Wright, Phoenix, New York, Plymouth Congregational UCC, Syracuse, NY
Six years ago our congregation struggled over the issue of having the national flag in our sanctuary. After long and patient conversation with a lot of prayer, we decided to remove the flag. It has made a real difference in our worship, and in the message we share with those who visit: There is only one Lord worshiped here. May you find the courage to do the same.
Kelly Tudor, Indianapolis, IN, non-denominational
As an alumni of Goshen College, I am excited to hear this movement is happening.
James Ray Dice, Smithfield, Pennsylvania, Non-denominational
Praise God our Creator. His Kingdom is not of this world. Let us not forget where our true allegiance lies.
Pam Nath, New Orleans, LA, Mennonite
Sara W. Paulson, Port Chester, NY, Lutheran/Trinity Lutheran Church, White Plains, NY
David Bertsche, Norman, Ok, Mennonite
xxxxxxxx, Bloomington, Indiana, Christian
mervin Zehr, lowville, anabaptist/mennonite
If the TRUETH was realy told. the outcome of this issue, will be determined by MONEY. the amount of money withheld by alumni. It’s sad but TRUE. Even in christianity/ mennonite organizations. Money speeks POWER. I ask this question. Would Jesus stand and pay tribute/worship to a pease of cloth/IDOL.
David Kim, Saint Paul, MN, Evangelical Covenant
Sara Albaba, Goshen, Indiana, Muslim
David F. Bishop, Teaneck, NJ, Presbyterian
Goshen College, the eyes of the world are on you to see if you stand up for your faith or bow to the principalities and powers that surround you. You will be castigated by these powers if you return to your Christian roots, but you will inspire others to faith if you have the purity of heart to will one thing.
Sonje Finnestad, Saskatchewan, Canada, Lutheran pastor
Stand firm, brothers and sisters. So many have capitulated.