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Switzerland may change national anthem to avoid references to God

Catholic World News - August 14, 2013

The Swiss Public Welfare Society, a leading national non-profit organization, has announced a competition to write a new Swiss national anthem without references to God, according to European media reports.

“Officially the [current] anthem is a psalm, a prayer, but of course we have an open society, religiously neutral,” competition organizer Lukas Niederberger told BBC News. “We have atheists, no single god, so this anthem is a difficulty.”

“Many people are conservative, and the anthem is emotional, but if a composer creates a super song, then we can change the tune too,” he added. “But that’s a bit difficult for conservative people, so we say the contestants don’t have to change the music.”

The competition will take place during 2014, and the society “hopes the government will agree to make the winning entry the official anthem in 2015,” the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation reported.

The Swiss Psalm, written in 1841, became the current national anthem in 1981. A four-stanza prayer, it begins:

When the morning skies grow red / And o'er their radiance shed, / Thou, O Lord, appeareth in their light. / When the Alps glow bright with splendor, / Pray to God, to Him surrender, / For you feel and understand, / For you feel and understand, / That He dwelleth in this land. / That He dwelleth in this land.

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Gregory108 - Aug. 15, 2013 2:55 AM ET USA

    Coming next to a country near you!

  • Posted by: Defender - Aug. 14, 2013 7:48 PM ET USA

    Hope Obama's staff doesn't tell him about this...

  • Posted by: geoffreysmith1 - Aug. 14, 2013 10:55 AM ET USA

    "The winner will be decided by a 25-member judging panel which includes people from the literature, sport and yodelling communities." Should be fascinating. The only country in the world to yodel its own praises. Complete with cow-bells and lederhosen. Can't wait to hear it at the World Cup soccer finals in 2018, or the Olympics in 2016. Not that the Swiss will get much chance to play it, thank God.

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