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Should New Zealand get rid of its National Anthem?

November 29, 2012

I just read a blog post by Mark Keown, professor at Laidlaw college (a Christian seminary here in NZ) where he commented on this recent article by Sir Bob Jones of the NZ Herald about getting rid of the NZ National Anthem. I got to hear Mark Keown at the most recent PCNAZ General Assembly make comments from the floor and they always oozed wisdom and his blog post is no different. As for Sir Bob Jones, as this is the only article I’ve ever read by him, all I can say is he seems to be a little bit of a contrarian :p

Also, this blog post will make more sense if your read those two articles. But just to sum up quickly: Sir Bob Jones doesn’t like the Haka, the national anthem, God, God in the national anthem, and is tired of homosexuals thinking being gay is an accomplishment. Mark Keown basically disagrees with most of the article.

I will admit, as a Canadian, I find the Haka kind of awkward, but only because in the few AB’s games I’ve seen, the other team doesn’t do anything. It just seems silly that one team does this elaborate screaming dance thing and the other team just stands there and doesn’t respond. I think both teams should do something or none at all, but maybe I’m just obsessed with symmetry :p

Also, if I were an atheist, I’d probably find NZ’s anthem (read here) kind of awkward to sing. I think about if I were in a Muslim country – wanting to become a citizen let’s say – I would find it quite awkward to sing some of their anthems. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t sing them even if I wanted to be a citizen and member of the society. So if I were a kiwi atheist I imagine I would be quite frustrated that to show civic pride I had to sing an anthem which makes zero sense to me and actually conflicts with a large part of my worldview.

I guess the question becomes how secular does NZ have to get before singing the current national anthem becomes more of a mockery than a hymn of honour? Is holding onto history and culture always a good thing? Let’s say the South African national anthem celebrated apartheid would it make sense to continue to have the same national anthem today? Probably not. They have moved on. Then again, Lebanon for example, puts the cedar tree on their flag even though their country pretty much has no more cedar trees left.

I will say I’m glad that I don’t have to make these decisions! I’ll just stick with my current anthem that Jesus is Lord, He is my King, and Him alone do I serve. I’ll continue to encourage people to join Christ’s kingdom and sing that anthem with me and I’ll leave NZ to do whatever it wants. And as a Canadian, circumstances make it incredibly easy for me to live that ideal 😀 It’s much easier to remain apolitical when you literally aren’t a citizen of the country you live in!

With all that said, I will say that the NZ national anthem sends tingles down my spine and is one of my all time favourite songs. I only wish I had heard it before moving here – it’s that good! Enjoy!

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