Mennonites and the State

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I was disappointed, but not too surprised, to read the story about Mennonite Goshen College deciding to lift its ban on “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

I was raised in the Mennonite Church, and I’m sure I was much more receptive to libertarian ideas because I was taught from a young age that killing people is still murder when the government does it.

Sadly, it seems that in many ways Mennonites are getting away from that.  The older people have become increasingly Republican and pro-war.  People who join the military are no longer shunned (formally or informally) as they once were.  In contrast, during World War II, my grandfather was denied communion when he worked in a factory that temporarily made war materiel.

Meanwhile, the Mennonite colleges are on the far left, so it’s not hard to imagine that they are more open to embracing the state now that Obama is running it.

As a family member reminded me, Mennonites and other Anabaptists have a long history of suffering and dying for their beliefs, so it’s particularly pathetic that they would cave to comparatively mild social pressure on this issue.

12:48 pm on February 22, 2010