Hold the fort

During the hymn sing Tom called out to sing number 259 in the old red hymnal. The hymn was “Hold the Fort”. The Preacher said, “I don’t know if we can sing this this morning or not. You know “hold the fort” was put on the government’s list of racial phrases that can no longer be used. From the back pew Lynn said, “Yeah, that’s right. I heard that!”

The Preacher told the church that it is seen as a racial slur against Native Americans because we used forts to fight them in the early making of America. Mary, our pianist and Tom’s wife said, “Well, guess what?” She began to play it and we sang it — with gusto! The story of John Robinson, the Department of State diversity officer who released the list of phrases Americans should be sensitive to in everyday speech, can be found here http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2196425/Don-t-say-hold-fort–s-offensive-Native-Americans-warns-state-department-diversity-chief.html.

I have a PhD in trans-cultural nursing and, frankly, I don’t understand this craziness. On the same list “going Dutch” is seen as purjorative because it insinuates that people of dutch descent are cheap. I am Dutch. I am not insulted. I believe we are thrifty people and I take no offense at this phrase. What is a Christian to do? Paul says in Romans 14 and then 13 that we are not to cause our brothers and sisters to stumble. If one is bothered by eating meat or in respect to sabbath days or food sacrificed to idols, ie using the term hold the fort, we are not to do those things. We are also told to obey our government. I intend to be sensitive to my audience, but the people I know think this is as nonsensical as I do. I need wisdom. Your thoughts?

This week I am thankful for

#790 loving co-workers at my new job

#791 the dedication of great people of the Christian faith before me. Today, I especially think of Philip Bliss and his extraordinary gift of poetry and music that gave us such great hymns as Almost Persuaded, It is Well With My Soul, Let the Lower Lights be Burning as well as Hold the Fort.

#792 church helpers that aided a woman when she had to move all her things when she sold her house unexpectedly fast.

Father and son talking at the birthday party

#793 my ill husband making the trip to his son’s 40th birthday celebration. It may well have been our son’s favorite present.

#794 produce from the garden

#795 a wonderful retirement dinner for my high school friend after 31+ years at the hospital

#796 cooler weather and the coming fall

#797 the Labor Day holiday to ride bikes with friends.

#798 cherries and walnuts for my salad.

#799 my husband’s brother, Ralph and our sister-in-law, Paula.

Walking in gratitude this Labor Day Monday,



9 comments on “Hold the fort

  1. I never once thought of this song’s “fort” in this context until I read about this, right now, here! Forts go way, way, back in history, I mean thousands of years… The first “castles” in Europe were also actually just forts… So, huh?

    • Wow, Sylvia. I guess this is more of a “hot” phrase than Mr. Robinson originally envisioned it to be. We are actually insulting much of the world when we use it if we extend his logic. I don’t know if this was helpful or not, but I always enjoy your visits. You are such a good thinker.


  2. Well, really, this is SO stupid to be giving these descent words and phrases more emphasis than they need when we are subjected daily to really nasty and insulting words (which I can’t print here) and everyone is expected to “indulge” these potty mouths. Think next time I’ll just say. “Hey, don’t you know the government has made the “F” word illegal and I’m calling the police on you right now?”

    • Dear Nancy,

      I thought along similar lines when I saw this on the news. My heavens, people are TRULY suffering. Point to any spot on the globe and people are in really dire straits and THIS comes from our government. Oy!

  3. I would have sang with gusto and all my might, too!!!! Unbelievable! You know, there isn’t much left to say freely if we looked long and hard enough. Most of what we speak would offend somebody somewhere because it all comes from some historical background. Forts are in every country. We had forts when we were kids, for goodness sake! Would it be ok if we changed the word to “stronghold” or “fox hole”, or “bunker”????? It all means the same thing. Stuff like this just gets my goat! Now everyone who has goats will jump on me because it’s probably on the list, too!!!! And I’m dutch. And I’m not cheap. And I’d probably pay for your dinner.

    • it is okay Cora, it got my goat too 🙂
      the early disciples while in prison were told not to preach about this Jesus because it was offensive to some…seems to me somethings are always worth doing… the Lord will show where the time to resist is and will help us to do it. Meanwhile… Hold the fort… I’m singing along!
      Thank you Dawn for a fun post… I love your pianist!

  4. Dear Cora,

    You certainly would be the first one to pick up the check at dinner. I believe that with all my heart. As I was reading your reply here President Obama said the information given at the RNC sounded like it could have been a re-run from the days of black and white television. Immediately commentators (tongue in cheek) jumped on that as a racist statement because of this new list that was just released. I’m with you, Cora. I guess we’ll just have to take a vow of silence.

    Love you!

  5. Just…taken aback. That’s all…. It feels systematic… Like the desensitization of our youth through the media… going to extremes to make people forget that GOD NEVER CHANGES WITH THE TIMES…. This feels meant to cause criticism against good people. Good and reasonable people!

    The devil is alive and well and trying to destroy our spirits by making us doubt our own motives. We should not take a vow of silence! They want us stand by and watch this nonsense silently. As God is my witness, we must fight these assaults against common sense!

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