Star Spangled Banner ban: Even the wordless music is “too violent”

posted at 5:35 pm on August 26, 2011 by Tina Korbe

Indiana’s Goshen College banned the lyrics to the Star Spangled banner ages ago, but, now, the school has banned the national anthem’s musical accompaniment, too:

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. …

Art professor John Blosser told The Goshen News that there is much national pride at the school, but that most people aren’t going to blindly accept what the country does.

NBC Sports’ Rick Chandler weighed in, saying: “I suppose we could have followed the example of the Mennonites and simply fled, giving the nation back to the British. But then we’d all be playing cricket.”

Not since the 1913 riotous debut of Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” has sheer music been so “violent” — and, somehow, I don’t quite think an adapted 18th-century British tune rivals Stravinsky in its power to incite.

I have no idea why this pesters me enough to write about it. When I first heard of the school’s ban on the lyrics, I defended Goshen. And a defense can be made: The private school has every right to ban the anthem and to uphold its pacifist religious principles. Plus, it really is teensy-tiny. Just 1,000 students. If those few students really want to attend a school that plays the national anthem, they can choose to go elsewhere. But it just seems so, well, petty to ban it at a time when even the last vestiges of patriotic unity have begun to fade from the political scene.

As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, I can’t help but remember the overwhelming, enveloping sense of patriotism that followed the tragic attacks. The Heritage Foundation has challenged patriotic Americans across the country to commit to flying their flags on Sept. 11 (tweet a picture of your flag flying @Heritage with the hashtag #Flag911 to show your support!). In light of little Goshen’s skittishness, I’m hoping folks will play the Star Spangled Banner loudly that day, too — in opposition to senseless violence and in support of the defense of American ideals.


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