The Board of Directors at Goshen College, a private, pacifistic liberal arts college in Indiana, asked President James E. Brenneman to find an alternative to playing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at sporting events.
The Board concluded that playing the national anthem “compromised the ability of college constituents to advance the vision” of Goshen College, in which the institution strives “to be an influential leader in liberal arts education with a growing capacity to serve a theologically, politically, racially and ethnically diverse constituency both within and beyond the Mennonite church,” according to a press release.
The release stated: “Goshen College had not played ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ prior to sporting events, since beginning to participate in intercollegiate athletics in 1957, although it was never officially banned from campus.”
The decision to move forward with the ban was not without controversy, even among the Board members, the release reported.
“Goshen College has been and remains a ministry of Mennonite Church USA with an enduring peace tradition,” Carlos Romero, executive director of the Mennonite Education Agency and an ex-officio member of the Board said, according to the press release. “The Board’s decision reflects a belief that faith and honoring country can co-exist without disturbing higher allegiances to God.”