I stand at the Flag and I love those who kneel.

Football Players running with American Flag

So, recently, if you are not living under a rock, you have heard of the big controversy revolving around the NFL and the belief that many of the professional football players are disrespecting the flag and what it stands for. I feel that you have already heard about it if not, yet, already made an opinion about it. It started last Friday, when, during a rally, Donald Trump called out the NFL players and the head of the teams for disrespecting the country. He went to as far as calling them derogatory names, such as “Son of a bitch”, for taking a knee during the national anthem. He asks the viewers to go as far as boycotting the league and refrain from watching the games. This led to discussions (and some arguments) left and right about what is right and whether or not the players are disrespecting the flag and the country that we live in.

But I am not here to take a side or convince you to take a side because I simply don’t think either one is completely correct. The fact is that we need to understand both sides of the situation. I don’t think that those who take a knee really see how important it is to “respect and honor” the flag and what it stands for and vice versa. I believe that the reasons and meaning for their actions gets lost in translation, especially when all we do is complain or speak without listening. What does the flag stand for? What is the reason that the players and fans are protesting?

 

Why does it look bad for us?

So, my main demographic is the Christian community. We need to realize that whether we take one side or the other, we have higher standards when we respond to both sides. If you are getting bothered by their protest, but not by the oppression happening in our country against minorities, then you need to look at your priorities. What I see happening with those who are being responsive is that we are patriots first and Christians second. A patriot is more concerned about the National Anthem, while a Christian is going to be more concerned about a human being.

There is nothing wrong with being patriotic, loving the military, or loving this country. I appreciate the opportunity with being here and having the rights that many fought for us to have. The fact that I am able to write my thoughts and opinions on this matter is one that I probably don’t have in other countries. Same with the military; we all know people who serve or have served, especially because some of us can’t or simply choose not to.

And yes, there are many of you who are concerned about both, but there is a big outcry in this country and online because many are not. They only focus on one or the other. We need to think about the responsibilities that we have as Christians, which I will go into in a bit.

 

Back to the Beginning

Why did this all start, though? Why did Colin Kaepernick originally start this trend of taking a knee during the National Anthem? Kaepernick took advantage of his persona and fame to protest against the oppression of African American people. At first, he sat during the National Anthem but took responsibility to speak to former Army Green Beret, Nate Boyer, about the issue.

“We were talking to him about how can we get the message back on track and not take away from the military, not take away from pride in our country but keep the focus on what the issues really are,” Kaepernick said after the game. “As we talked about it, we came up with taking a knee because there are issues that still need to be addressed and there was also a way to show more respect for the men and women that fight for this country.”

“Once again, I’m not anti-American. I love America. I love people. That’s why I’m doing this. I want to help make America better. I think having these conversations helps everybody have a better understanding of where everybody is coming from.

Ok, so I am showing this so that we could understand why it started and why, if you take the knee, you should remember the reason for doing this.

Now, as for the people that are not happy with the stance that many of the NFL players have taken, we have heard the argument that, because of our freedom, people are able to do whatever they want during the Anthem. We need to realize that these people are not protesting because they hate the flag or this country. There are also many who are upset with the words Trump used against the players as opposed to what he said about the white supremacists and anti-fascists a few weeks ago during the whole fiasco in Charlottesville, VA.

There are a few people who take it to the extreme and do disrespect our country because they don’t realize the privileges they are permitted, such as those who stretch or stay in the locker room. There are good and bad people on both sides. Sitting and stretching and blatantly ignoring what is happening when it’s time to salute the flag is the patriotic version of denying Jesus and walking over his grave (yeah, that is an extreme example).

Think about this, if there is a food protest against a company, people refrain from certain places or certain ways of eating. They do not protest food in general. I also heard it this way; whenever Rosa Parks chose not to give up her seat, she did not protest transportation at that time or the weeks that followed suit.

 

Why I love those who take the knee

If you really are patriotic, how do you present yourself when the National Anthem is played on television? Do you stand up at your home and salute or do you continue to sit on your couch? What about when you go watch a UFC or boxing fight at a restaurant, do you salute the flag and pay tribute to the military there? We need to realize that what we say shouldn’t be only about what happens in public, but what happens in private, as well.  Do things only matter when people are looking at you and not in private? That is something we need to think about.

Finally, the reason as to why I am making such a big deal about this, even after it has been talked about countless of times this week is because we are not choosing to follow God’s commandments by ranting about what is right and wrong and by framing your profile picture to show what you do as a prideful stance of what you are and where you are. Nationality is not what Jesus talked about when he talked about the greatest commandments. He talked about love. To love God and to love your neighbor. That includes those who decide to kneel down or stretch during this moment in the game.

I think that this is something that we forget easily and was forgotten about quite a bit in the New Testament times, as well. After Jesus spoke about this, Paul had to remind us how powerful love is in, what we call, the chapter of love (1 Corinthians 13). For Trump to call people names as he has does not show that he understands love. For us to take his side and boycott the NFL or demean the players or people that “take a knee” is not showing that we understand what Jesus for us to do.

It’s interesting how we are always reminded in the New Testament about this commandment. It’s because it truly shows God’s law and what we do changes if we focus on this. I appreciate the wording in 2 John 5-6, as the attributed author, John, explains that he isn’t showing anything new when he talks to his audience, but that we remember to simply what walk in love. In that same manner, I am asking you guys not something new, but that we simply learn to love on those that we disagree with. TO love on others that are outraged with what is happening around us. Hate and disapproval do not make this better. Love makes the country we love better.

But in the end, that is my view on this. Talk to me and help me understand your side of this topic. I also am putting together a post that goes more in-depth on the subject of love. Expect that to come out in the coming weeks. Also, if you noticed, this was a return to a small hiatus. You’ll hear more about that in my next post, coming soon.

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