The Happy Dancing Danes put tiny Ringsted,
Iowa, on the map back in the 1940s. But little did the world know that
Lutherans in this Danish immigrant colony had split over whether
dancing is sinful.
St. Ansgar Danish Lutheran Church was organized by Ringsted’s settlers in 1882. Twelve years later, the “Schism of 1894” pitted two factions known as Happy Danes and Sad Danes in communities across America. The theological debate that caused the schism (whether the Bible or the Apostle’s Creed is God’s truest word) has long been forgotten. What became a bigger disagreement was whether righteous living allows such worldly pleasures as dancing.
|In 1941, The Des Moines [Iowa] Register featured a story about the Happy Dancing Danes who in the 1940s put Ringsted, Iowa, on the map. In July, the congregations that split 113 years ago over theology anddancing finally reunited.|
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