Switzerland Will Soon Replace Its Religious National Anthem with a Godless One

The text of the Swiss Psalm, written in 1841 and adopted as the National Anthem in 1981, includes lyrics like this (when translated into English):

When the morning skies grow red,
and over us 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
that He dwelleth in this land.

In the sunset Thou art night
and beyond the starry sky
Thou, O loving father, ever near,

when to Heaven we are departing
joy and bliss Thou’lt be imparting
for we feel and understand
that Thou dwellest in this land.

That’s a nice… psalm… but, outside of church, it’s really out of place.

The Swiss government has finally recognized this and they’re ready to chuck their current, religious anthem in favor of a new, secular one:

The new text is to include values enshrined in the Swiss constitution, such as democracy and solidarity.

“The real problem is above all the text,” [project leader Lukas] Niederberger said. He is in the Swiss Society for Public Utility (SGG), the competition organiser. The SGG, founded in 1810, seeks to promote Swiss values and has previously launched social and cultural initiatives.

“Officially the anthem is a psalm, a prayer, but of course we have an open society, religiously neutral. We have atheists, no single god, so this anthem is a difficulty,” he explained by phone.

The contest is set to run the first half of 2014.

Incidentally, the little-known fourth verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is all sorts of Godly, too:

O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

When do we get to have our contest?

(Thanks to @CyningDom for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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