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Chosen NationMennonites and Germany in a Global Era$
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Benjamin W. Goossen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691174280

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691174280.001.0001

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Raising the Faith

Raising the Faith

Family, Gender, and Religious Indifference

(p.71) Chapter 3 Raising the Faith
Chosen Nation

Benjamin W. Goossen

Princeton University Press

This chapter traces the formation of the Union of Mennonite Congregations in the German Empire. Despite hopes that all Mennonites would grasp the necessity of supporting a national association, enthusiasm among rural conservatives proved elusive. In unionists' parlance, a majority of Germany's Mennonites exhibited “religious indifference.” Yet resisting incorporation into an aggressive national organization was not synonymous with irreligiosity. In fact, those most adamantly opposed to the Union counted among the country's most conscientious, strictly observant members. Invocations of indifference, then, represented less a dispassionate interpretation of religious mood than a normative claim about what it meant to be Mennonite. Like other nationalists, unionists aimed to collapse difference, obscuring a pluralistic field in which individuals practiced their faith in diverse ways.

Keywords:   Union of Mennonite Congregations, German Empire, Mennonites, religious indifference, irreligiosity, nationalists, unionists, faith

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