The Star Spangled Banner is "Too Violent"


I remember several years ago someone asking what song, no matter how many times you hear it, still makes you cry. My answer was The Star Spangled Banner. The anthem means more to me than just the history behind the words. As I explained once before, being married to a soldier in a time of war has a tendency to amplify lyrics like, "[T]he land of the free and the home of the brave."

Instead of amplifying such "violent" lyrics, one college has sought to ban them altogether.

Tiny Goshen College in Indiana has banned the "The Star Spangled Banner: at all sporting events because the Mennonite school's president considers the National Anthem's words to be too violent.

The 1,000-student school had already banned the words last year, but the band could still play the music for patriots in attendance. Now, the school has banned the song entirely, according to NBC Sports.

The school’s board of directors told college President Jim Brenneman to “find an alternative to playing the National Anthem that fits with sports tradition, that honors country and that resonates with Goshen College’s core values and respects the views of diverse constituencies.”
As I understand it, Mennonites are pacifists. Which is all fine and well, but they're also Americans. And Americans have a history. And much of it is filled with violence. Whitewashing or banning representations of our history doesn't make it go away. It is what it is. For millions of Americans who listen to The Star Spangled Banner with their hands gently placed over their hearts, the anthem is representative of so much more than a bloody revolution.

I fully respect the right of a private college to make its own choices. Even so, when I read stories like this, I am left bothered. I suppose it's because, just like the warriors who fought for freedom so very long ago, the generations of warriors who have come after them (including my spouse and yours) are willing to give their lives to protect the freedom of people to say and do all kinds of things. Even banning The Star Spangled Banner.


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