Since, this is a self-identified Mennonite blog, I would be negligent not to mention the new Tour de France
winner, Floyd Landis, is a Mennonite from Lancaster County, PA. This is kind of like finding out that the singer of a catchy new pop song that just hit number one and won a grammy is sung by a Muslim woman originally from Mecca itself. Not that there is anything wrong with it, mind you. But frankly, it is a bit annoying when people emerge from the clearly defined, labeled boxes I like to put them in for my own convenience.
It has been noted in a few places that Floyd did not put his hand over his heart and sing the national anthem during the award ceremony. This should not be unusual for Mennonites who are true to their heritage of not pledging fealty to the state, as such a thing is reserved only for God. It is refreshing to me to see someone not bow to the cultural pressure that is so strong these days to do the exact opposite. I'll leave the propriety of raising a champaigne glass in victory as an exercise to the reader. :)
I found a great blog posting from an Anabaptist named Hugo Schwyzer, who is, naturally, a progressive, since he makes so much sense. He does a great job of explaining the difference between waving a flag and swearing allegiance to it:
Actually, carrying the flag on a bicycle and refusing to place the hand over the heart during the national anthem are both quite consistent with Mennonite principles. To be a Mennonite, classically, is to believe that citizenship in the Kingdom trumps national allegiances. In practice, that means refusing to swear oaths of obedience to any temporal authority; it means refusing to salute flags or to genuflect before earthly kings. But there's an important difference between saluting or pledging allegiance to the flag on the one hand, and waving it on the other!
One can be a radical Christian (a phrase many Mennonites apply to themselves) and love America! It is one thing to love America, another to pledge solemn allegiance to it. To wave the flag can be an expression of affection for one's native land, akin to waving the banner of one's university or favorite football team. (I once had a very large Cal banner that I waved with great enthusiasm.) Floyd Landis may be a Mennonite, but America is the nation of his birth -- there is nothing in Anabaptist theology that suggests he can't be fond of, even proud of, his country.
Say it ain't so Floyd. He appears now to have failed a drug test after stage 17.
For the record, bike riding, beer drinking, champagne celebrating, national anthem not singing: all pretty much OK by Mennonite standards. Drug taking: Not so much.