A friend just sent me a link to this story on the web from The Sporting News. (Be sure to read the many comments that follow or you will not understand my reason for posting this story.) The question of what the school plays before a sports event is one of simple choice to my mind. And a pacifist school should be expected to “feel” exactly the way Goshen College does on this issue. But read the replies to this story. Pretty sad stuff. The name calling and harsh rhetorical response is common to our time. Moderation in defense of faith is seen as compromise and hating America. And please do not tell me that many Christians would not respond precisely as these angry people do to this story. The one thing such Americans despise of a pacifist.

This kind of response to pacifism is not new. During World War II pacifists were hated and treated as lovers of Hitler and Nazism. They were a scourge and an offense to God and country. The “religion of the state” has always hated Christian pacifism. The facts of history are actually quite striking here. In the first centuries of Christianity it was far different. Almost every serious scholar agrees that early Christians were pacifists, or at least committed to non-violence in almost every case. The least we can do, even if we are not committed pacifists, is stand against this kind of response that equates God and country so closely.