The Mennonites No Longer Hate AmericaS

Just hours ago, Goshen College, a private Mennonite-affiliated school in Indiana, played the National Anthem before a sporting event for the first time in their history. It wasn't without controversy. Of course.

The Mennonites are one of the historic peace churches, which endorse nonviolence in all situations. That includes war, and the "Star-Spangled Banner", if you haven't noticed, is quite the paean to the War of 1812( for what it's worth, a pretty righteous war). In the 116-year history of Goshen College, they've avoided playing the anthem (the tradition of playing it before sporting events dates back to World War II, another awesome war.)

Until today. After much debate (there's even an entire section of the school's website devoted to the issue), they played an instrumental version of the anthem before this afternoon's baseball and softball games.

Visitors to sporting events have raised concerns over the policy for years, Beyeler said. A task force studied the issue last spring. College President James Brenneman, approved the playing of the anthem in January.

"I am willing to change this one practice as an act of hospitality, because I know how committed we are to keeping Jesus' call to peacemaking and non-violence as central to this college and the wider church," Brenneman said in statement.

The move has its supporters, including those Goshen students in the photo up top. (Also, they're clearly not the "plain dress" sort of Mennonites.) But by the media's favorite metric for determining popular support — Facebook groups — students opposed to the institution of the anthem far outnumber those for it.

Not for nothing, the school mascot is the Maple Leaf.

National anthem creates rift at Christian college [Indianapolis Star]