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.
#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
#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.