Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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March 24, 2010

GC officials host discussion after playing Star-Spangled Banner

GOSHEN, Ind — Goshen College is bringing the conversation back home.

Now that the national anthem has played and the national media has left, the college is figuring out how to move forward. To that end, the school held a special convocation Tuesday morning in an effort to shape the course of the discussion to come.

GC President Jim Brenneman opened the convocation with some brief comments on political megacouple Mary Matalin and James Carville, as well as his own relationship with his wife, to share a starting point for the convocation’s message.

“My point in this round-up of family differences is to say I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that in spite of our differences, each of us would lay down our lives for the other without hesitation, without question,” Brenneman said. “Our love for each other was and is as strong as ever, hands down.”

Following his own comments, Brenneman introduced the two speakers, Dr. Joe Liechty, professor and director of Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies, and Dr. Kathy Meyer Reimer, professor of education. The pair presented opposing views on the anthem issue, with Meyer Reimer speaking first, in opposition to the anthem’s use.



Anabaptist convictions

She began by qualifying the basis of her argument, explaining that playing the anthem was not a matter of eliminating an outdated tradition, but removing one of the symbols and sacred rituals born out of Anabaptist convictions.

“The anthem controversy also speaks to how we make decisions both large and small when there are conflicts between what we feel is asked of us by our faith and by the good country in which we live,” Meyer Reimer said.

While one of the main reasons behind playing the anthem is showing hospitality, she said she believes it actually made the college less hospitable. She said the most hospitable thing to do is to clearly express why something is and invite them into open discussion. That was not the case, Meyer Reimer argued, with the college’s prior practice of not playing the anthem.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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