Sep 292017
 

I asked my friend Rob Murphy to write about why he has strong feelings about the current NFL protests…because I know his heart for God and people.

He graciously consented and this is his article.

 

Please refer to our Code of Conduct (under Pages in the right sidebar) before replying.

I Would Like To Be Decent

Let me begin with a clear statement:

“I’m going to give you the real deal: I’m an American, I don’t desecrate my flag and my national anthem. I’m not gonna do anything against the flag and national anthem. I’m going to work within those situations, but this is my country, and I’ll work out the problems, but I’ll do it in an intelligent manner.”

You have an agree/disagree response to this statement.  I have proffered this statement earlier this week and been told several times that it’s everything from “boorish” to “exclusively white privilege”.

The interesting thing is, it’s not my statement.  It’s from NFL Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown.

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Our culture is so divided now that several African American men have been deemed “not really black”.

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Anyone with a semi-functional use of Google can suss out Jim Brown’s bona fides as a man who knows the Civil Rights struggle in America.

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But even his life-long, first hand experiences are being deemed cheap currency by some in our culture.

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The Great, Impossible Divide

The greatest difficulty I (and many of my friends and peers, race or color an irrelevant factor) have is finding a unified voice in what these protests are about.   I’ve heard everything from a stolen Presidential election, police brutality, racism among law enforcement, illegal and immoral ongoing wars in foreign lands and even the blanket statement ‘racism’.

The originator of the NFL protests, Colin Kaepernick, made clear his protest motivation:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”   

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It’s a clear and concise statement.  It is in dramatic conflict with other declarations he’s made in public appearances regarding historic civil rights figures like Malcolm X and Fidel Castro.  Those men are prominent figures in global civil rights for varied reasons.

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Most recently, the anthem protest issue has become clouded with many voices protesting many different issues via the anthem protests.

Surveys have shown that the protests have sown immense disunity among followers of the NFL.  Favorable views of the NFL amid the protests have fallen by half in one recent survey.

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Since 2001, the NFL has made a specific marketing and strategic earning plan based on exploiting a sense of grief, alliance and patriotism in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and the subsequent declaration(s) of war.  The United States suffered horrific civilian loss on 9/11/01 and in the intervening 16 years, grievous loss of military personnel in wartime.

The NFL has profiteered from the war, a perceived surge in patriotism and exploiting the plain sympathy most decent people experience when we see some family experience loss of a loved one during war time.

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We’re empathetically driven to celebrate when we see loved ones restored following a tour of duty for graduations, births and birthdays.  The NFL (and other entertainment agencies) have manipulated the public’s empathy and sympathy.  The NFL has repeatedly brought our Gold Star families, organizations that bring services to wounded vets, and a cavalcade of those who have suffered over what has become an interminable war with what seems no end in sight.

I believe the NFL is guilty of crass exploitation of those who have suffered loss during the last 16 years.

I recognize the crass exploitation by the NFL (and others), but I refuse to further cheapen the loss and suffering by stacking more crass exploitation upon these families by nodding approval or participation in a protest.

Practicum

As a pastor, I’ve officiated and assisted at many funerals.  I’ve officiated a funeral of one family member who died of AIDS related illness.  I did not lecture on the dangers and physical consequences of my family member’s ‘alternative lifestyle’.    That would have been monstrous.  I assisted in a funeral for a woman who was killed drunk driving.  I did not lecture her children or family on the dangers of alcohol abuse.  That would have been appalling.

Is it true that drunk driving claims lives?  Yes.  Is it true that decades of casual sex may result in death and disease?  Yes.

But the people there were invited as a memorial, remembrance and an offer of hope and comfort through the comfort of shared humanity and even words of hope from God Himself.

Gold star families are invited to these games.  It is very likely an exploitive act by the NFL.  Certainly, Disneyland benefits from the positive “marketing” of hosting “Make A Wish” Foundation recipients.  How ghoulish would it be to go to some child at Disneyland who “Made a Wish” and attended Disneyland with his or her family and say “This is all corporatism; you don’t really matter, this is all a money grab by Disney.  You’re going to die just like all the other Make A Wish kids have died and you will not be remembered.”?

There are countless commercial breaks during a football game.  Literally hours of programming time to make a commercial that reaches out to every viewer at home and make an appeal to bring about any kind of change in all of society.  Those commercial breaks allow for the undivided attention of the entire stadium audience.  There is a lengthy halftime that also allows for commercials and in-stadium promos.

The average NFL game lasts over three hours.

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The game (in theory) consists of 4 – fifteen minutes quarters and 1 – fifteen minute halftime, officially.  That’s an hour and fifteen minutes of runtime.  Commercialization expands that game time by nearly two full hours.

There is ample time to inform the viewing audience at home and in-stadium of any (most?) social ills occurring in our country.  There is opportunity to inform, fund-raise, protest.  Two hours of commercial time is longer than the average feature film.  Entire wars and revolutions have been distilled into two hour movies.

The national anthem lasts around 2 minutes, 20 seconds.  In comparison to the entirety of the game, it is barely a commercial break.  It is a fleeting glance of time.

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That seems a very short window to show simple decency to invited guests who have suffered loss in service of our country.  There are literally hours at the disposal of any player(s) or spokespersons to make any declaration their conscience demands and all their creativity allows.

I am unclear on what is being protested.  So are the protestors and the viewing audience.  My conscience is clearly telling  me what to do with  2 minutes of decency.

  162 Responses to “I Would Like To Be Decent: Guest Article by Rob Murphy”

  1. Will this post produce a thread of honest soul searching observation? It should.
    We need a better perspective…
    Are we asking man to do today what even God can’t do? Eradicate injustice? As the saying goes, life isn’t fair….
    So, I guess the question is, what can we all do that IS healing and constructive?

  2. Rob,

    I was originally not in favor of the protests. I am now coming around to the opinion that they may be necessary, especially over the past couple weeks. However, you present a fair, reasonable, and thoughtful case against the protests.

  3. The point Rob makes is one that has been either overlooked or poorly explained.

    A great many people associate the flag and the anthem with honoring deceased service people.

    I was unaware of that…I’m not exactly a patriot.

    That being the case, there needs to be a show of respect for those families before any protest…

  4. Rob,

    I am in favor of the protests, but I very much appreciate your thoughtful approach. As someone who came of age in the 60s, I believe there are times, by word and action, to protest injustice (racial and otherwise), undeclared wars, and corruption in politics. My understanding, which admittedly may be flawed, was that these protests were initiated over the concern with racial injustice, especially involving law enforcement and the judicial system. I consider the manner in which it has been done to have been benign in comparison with alternative forms of resistance. During the Vietnam era there were heroes who fought and, equally, there were heroes who refused to fight (some going to prison as a result). Speaking truth to power is always a bit messy but, I believe that in the long run it is healthy in a representative democracy.

  5. (1) I am grateful for a blog which not only encourages diverse voices, but enforces civility.

    (2) I am not black and cannot imagine walking a day in their shoes in this country vis-a-vis law enforcement and the criminal justice system.

    (3) Taking a knee at a sporting event is about the most modest form of civil disobedience I can imagine.

    (4) If a black athlete believes that taking a knee in response to racial injustice is what he is convicted to do, I will not condemn him.

    (5) Here is what one white police officer recently told a white motorist who was frightened after being pulled over in a traffic stop: “Remember, we only kill black people. Yeah, we only kill black people, right?”

    That is my application.

  6. It’s just bad taste. It dishonors those who have given their lives so these players can do what they do for a large paycheck.

    Perhaps a better way of addressing racial injustices would be to use their status as pro athletes to start a conversation with local government and law enforcement in the off season.

  7. I am a vet, I should begin by telling you this. I was in the US Navy during the Vietnam War era. (I did not go to Vietnam.) I got the ribbon to prove it.

    However, has the military cornered the market on the flag? Is it theirs alone? Does not the flag belong to all Americans, be they field hand, college professor, Wal*Mart clerk or football player?

    Is this the case for all countries? Don’t citizens of all countries honor their flags, even the countries that seldom engage in warfare and have a very small military? Why is the flag so tied in with the military in the US?

  8. Here’s something that really dishonors America and the flag and that’s the Confederate flag of the treasonous CSA. Yet often it’s the same people upset about the NFL protests that want to keep the traitorous CSA flag.

  9. A professional football player has more than likely been exploited most of his life… working hard for the man, eh? Could this whole dust up stem more from an underlying sense of being used by someone else – usually a white guy – to further his wealth and stature? The other side of the coin is that, without a venue and an organization what would it profit one to play the sport? Just wondering…

    Until recently our flag represented the victories of the perseverance in the struggle for freedom and justice… “Oh, say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave o’re the land of the free and the home of the brave?” That bravery was the struggle to gain the freedom. The history of the average European down thru time found them living their lives as serfs… or slaves… Yes, the song was written when not all were free, but it still represents that struggle and, in my view, it should be held in high esteem – honored – it represents every person who has been brave enough to stand up for the cause of liberty…

    The flag that flies over the United States represents something that should be honored – the cost of the struggle… it should be flown by every black person today to honor those who went before in this land and paid the price of their freedom…

    Most of us can tell stories of injustice that were never and will never be resolved in this life.
    So…
    I must say amen to JoelG’s comment: “Perhaps a better way of addressing racial injustices would be to use their status as pro athletes to start a conversation with local government and law enforcement in the off season.”

    Taking a knee a protest? That’s childish and refutes the very claim to respect. Yes, there is such a thing as privilege, but it isn’t white. It isn’t any color; sometimes it’s good luck and sometimes it’s evil. However, these football players are blessed with it and they should use it wisely to achieve a good end… or so it seems to me, tonight – dunno, tho, do i? 🙂

  10. Can you imagine an athlete in the Olympics. Lets say someone like Michael Phelps when he won his gold medals decided to use that time on the podium when the Anthem was being played to take a knee in disrespect with billions of folks all over the world watching at home. In a way in a smaller scale this is very similar. Its disgusting.

  11. Frankly, I’m tired of the NFL teams engaging in all this. I want to tell then to get off their knees and take the next step: engage in or even coordinate community discussions that will be redemptive and healing in nature. It’s easy to take a knee or stay in the locker room. But it is hard work to do more. And, if they’re going to make a statement, then they need to back it up with more than a kneel. Maybe after the season is over, put their money where their mouths are and sacrifice time and effort to engage their respective communities in discussion and steps to heal. Unless they do that or something similar, I just see much of this as bandwagon BS. I’m weary of it all.

  12. Em wrote:

    “Most of us can tell stories of injustice that were never and will never be resolved in this life.
    So…”

    Yes, I remember that bully in high school who always demanded the best parking space in the school parking lot. I was traumatized by the injustice.

  13. Steve. something similar did happen at an Olympics.

  14. Xenia, I know of the boycotts of Olympics. Has anyone ever taken a knee on the podium before though after winning a metal?

  15. Yes, Steve. It basically did happen. Tommie Smith and John Carlos gave the black power salute while the anthem was being played during their medal ceremony.

  16. When the white supremacists in Charlottesville were marching with Nazi flags or in white robs or with torches or with confederate flags, was the President calling on their employers to fire them all from their jobs? Just asking, because I missed that from the President and I also missed the national indignation.

  17. Yes, that happened at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Tommy Smith and John Carlos, gold and bronze medalists, stood on the podium and raised black-clad fists.

  18. #15 You beat me to it,

  19. Wow, I never heard of this story before. I wonder if taking the knee is more or less of a show of contempt than the black power salute? We do live in much different times now.

  20. Steve,

    You wrote:

    “We do live in much different times now.”

    Pertaining to this discussion, what do you think is much different about the present time vs. 1968?

  21. #12 – sarcasm noted, Jean… that is not what i’d call an injustice, many people have had their lives ruined by those in power or influence, it’s just easier to spot when it also involves blatant racism… you must be one of the white privileged, eh? lol 🙂

  22. Good point Jean. Speaking of bad taste…

    There’s nothing more dishonoring to WWII Vets than knuckleheads waiving around the Nazi flag. Apparently that didn’t register with Trump.

  23. Many vets and surviving families of vets who have paid the ultimate price in service to this country understand that Kaepernick’s protest is not dishonoring them, the flag or the country. Like all protests it may make us all uneasy as well it should. It seems so many are intent on deflecting from the most unsettling part of the protest. The reason it began. .

    This year as in the last, at least 1000 US unarmed citizens will have been killed by police. The number includes a predominant number of black men, women, and children. But not exclusively. It also includes a startlingly high number of disabled, mentally ill, people of all economic status,

    Interrupting our comfort zones is pretty much the standard definition of protest. Deflecting from the main issue a standard response. The same deflections occurred during every preceding civil rights and peace movement.

  24. Em,

    Does it matter whether injustice is easier to spot? Racism has been spotted (except by Trump and some of his supporters) and people are protesting against it. Is that not their 1st Amendment right?

    Do you have injustice to protest? If so, you also are free to exercise your 1st amendment rights.

    Yes, I am white privileged. I pray for the day when I’m not.

  25. Pertaining to this discussion, what do you think is much different about the present time vs. 1968?
    _______________________________________________________________________

    For one we have social media. Internet and cable news. The viewing audience is just huge now. We had a black president for 8 years and correct me if I am wrong but I don’t know any laws that overtly discriminate against blacks. I don’t think that was the case in 1968.

  26. Steve,

    Do you think that the absence of “laws that overtly discriminate against blacks” means that racial injustice and discrimination against blacks does not currently exist: (i) in employment, (ii) in education, (iii) in the criminal justice system, (iv) by law enforcement, and (v) in exercising the right to vote?

  27. I get the feeling that white people want to have control over black people. Completely peaceful protest? No, do it another way.
    Violent protest? No do it another way.

    It’s like anything that isn’t instituted by whites isn’t going to be good enough.

    Understand that if you tell them exactly how to protest so that us poor little white people won’t be offended, then that’s not protest.

    Those taking a knee are not hurting anyone, they aren’t prohibiting business or anything else. When the protest is thoughtful and peaceful, we should listen.

    We don’t understand the protest?

    We should listen.

  28. The ways the laws are applied and how justice is meted out on the streets, in the courtrooms and in the area of mass incarceration remains extremely discriminatory and prejudicial.

  29. Jean, discrimination does exist and always will. You asked me what changed from 1968.

  30. Josh, I never was a football fan and usually the only game I would watch is the Super bowel. These kinds of headlines make me want to find something else to do on Super Bowel Sunday. I usually like the half time show but I’m afraid that will become one big political protest.

  31. Steve,

    I asked because you said things have changed. I figured you thought there is some relevance to the change.

    However, when you say “discrimination does exist and always will”, do you mean that our country and us as individuals should work as hard as we can to diminish discrimination, or that we (or better yet the people who are discriminated against) should just learn to live with it?

    I ask this question to inquire into whether you are troubled by racial injustice against blacks and other people of color, or not?

  32. Josh,

    “Understand that if you tell them exactly how to protest so that us poor little white people won’t be offended, then that’s not protest.”

    But is kneeling during the national anthem really getting their point across? Or does it say something that they don’t intend? I question the method and how it comes off. I’m not a flag waving American, but I do believe in honoring those who died for my freedom.

    Steve,

    Remember the Rodney King case?

  33. Jean,

    First and foremost we need to look at our own hearts first. I definitely have prejudices against certain people and the Holy Spirit works in amazing ways to reveal this to me. He humbles me and I seek forgiveness and the cycle repeats. Currently God has not been revealing to me that I have these kinds of prejudices against blacks. We all have blind spots and possible He will reveal this eventually to me. However, this is the Holy Spirit’s job. We can not manipulate anyone to try to convince them of their own blindness. It will never work.

    Now on the other side of the coin when I feel an injustice is down to me, I think I do need to learn to take your advice and learn to live with it. Kind of like turning the other cheek like Jesus taught us. Greater is our reward in heaven kind of mentality. Now I am only referring to myself here. I would never say this to anyone who is a victim in anyway where I could help.

  34. I must live in a PNW bubble as I see no color discrimination in employment, education or in exercising voting rights … from my part of the world that observation seems out of date… However, Anne’s 29 is accurate and has several causes that desperately need immediate attention

  35. “I must live in a PNW bubble as I see no color discrimination in employment,”

    I agree. You do as it pertains to America.

  36. I submitted my comment #36 too soon. It should have include the following:

    Em wrote:

    “I must live in a PNW bubble as I see no color discrimination in employment, education or in exercising voting rights …”

    I agree. Outside of your bubble, the reality is diametrically different.

  37. @35. I’m in the bubble with you. Regarding Anne’s #29, the incarceration rates are problematic but I don’t jump to discrimination right away to explain it.

  38. We’ve talked about the NFL kneeling business in my family quite a bit. The people who disagree with the protest seem to fall into several categories:

    1. Serious football fans. They see it as a distraction. Get on with the game, this isn’t the time or place for anything except football.

    2. People who don’t believe African Americans have anything to complain about.

    3. People who think African Americans might have a point but you are making me uncomfortable, cut it out and find some way to protest that is out of my line of vision.

    4. People who, for reasons I find unfathomable, believe the American flag is all about fallen soldiers and has no other purpose than to symbolize the American military.

    5. People who, for this one situation only, seem to think people should be quiet about politics while on the job.

    6. People who are resentful of rich football players

    7. Trump die-hards

    >>>People who approve of the protest include:

    1. People who hate football.

    2. African Americans

    3. People who see racial problems as a serious problems in the US

    4. Anarchists and people who simply hate America and enjoy chaos

    5. Trump-haters

  39. Xenia,

    I know a lot of people who associate the flag with fallen service people.
    I was unaware of such…but it seems like something that out of grace we should respect, while also recognizing the valid protests.

  40. Michael, I agree but I don’t think the US flag is the private property of the military.

    When I see the US flag, I think of a lot of things. I think of my family, my friends, beautiful mountains and rivers, American food, coyotes and mountains lions, my diverse neighborhood, American-style English – all the things that make America home and that I love. Even though I am a vet and my husband is retired Navy and my dad was in the Navy in WW2, I never think of the military when I see our flag. Never. The military does not own our flag, nor does it own the National Anthem, bellicose may it be.

  41. Xenia,

    In a season when we are hell bent for civil war, I’m ready to compromise wherever possible to let people know they’ve been heard and understood.
    In normal times I’d be saying the amen to you, but these are not normal times…

  42. When I served in the military 6 years active duty, I served along side many men and women of color. They were every bit as valuable to the mission as white men and women.

    In my opinion, if Americans of color are going to be allowed to suffer and die defending America in foreign wars, then at home they should be afforded equal protection under the laws of America and the same ability to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as afforded to white Americans.

  43. Michael yes, but in the same vein, I can’t tell African Americans they shouldn’t protest during the flag/ anthem because some people believe it represents the military, and only the military. I have to listen to everyone.

  44. I had this discussion with my husband. He’s of the “the flag represents the military” POV.

  45. Xenia/Jean thank you for your service.

  46. Jean, I have a multi racial family… in the early 1970s my daughter’s friend’s father pulled into the neighborhood gas station and couldn’t get service – he was black… Today all skin shades get equal respect! here – equal shots at a good life – or as equal as the human race can provide – as alll skin shades also share a common old sin nature, with all the problems that brings, too
    I am sorry that your part of the world still lives in that old era – sorry that you can’t celebrate the changes we’ve experienced here in the PNW… I hope things change in the rest of the country as they have up here….
    I think the next step is to accept that virtue or lack of it, has no color either

    God keep all close and comforted this night

  47. This is a helpful article for it reasonably discusses the issue and raises some valuable points. I agree that the protests at sporting events are not clear in their intent or focus. There are likely dozens of varying slants and angles. I think, as Xenia’s comment pointed out, last weekend’s protest had a lot to do with Trump’s comments about protesters, and the backlash was predictable. I’m a ‘tweener on this, for I believe there are legitimate issues that need to be addressed beyond the usual partisan disagreement, but foundational, social problems that continue to plague many of our citizens. Peaceful protest is a time-honored action in our nation–and it sure beats the alternative–rioting and bloodshed. Protesters in the past have burned the flag–much to the consternation of many citizens, but the SCOTUS upheld it as a constitutionally protected example of free speech. Further, peaceful protests in the 50’s and 60’s, even the 30’s were met with forceful resistance and backlash. Nothing new here except the nation is so polarized and divided, not into two sides, but dozens of positions. What I object to is the lack of clear plans or action. A protester without a plan is pointless. What is it one wants, and what is the path to get there? Demands that are too general are dysfunctional from the start. I hear no specific statements that clearly delineate a path to a better nation. I am happy to stand corrected.

  48. the exercise of free speech has stepped on my toes many times–and I would fight and die to protect the right for it regardless. Christians enjoy the right to speak freely, even when others think the message to be hateful. Christians enjoy the right to peaceful protest when they march or picket at an abortion center. Christians have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with the constitution and laws of the USA since its inception, and many would argue that the documents that are bedrock to our nation are directly influence and created by God-fearing, Bible-loving men. To react so vehemently against the protests is short-sighted as it relates to the bigger picture of our rights and responsibilities under the laws and policies of our land. If those are only alright for “us” to utilize and rely upon, we are the worst of hypocrites.

  49. I live in the PNW, Portland to be exact. i have seen more overt racism here, in stores, on the street, on transit, than anywhere else I’ve lived in the country. Elderly black women in my building have been verbally and physically harassed(pushed, shoved elbowed) on the bus and train. Walking down the street, people will shout out the n word at them, objects thrown at them . Police won’t even come out or take a report. People’s homes get graffitied. Another elderly friend got harassed while we were trying to eat at the meals on wheels center. We have several loud and proud white supremacist groups who have been around a long time in OR, WA & ID who have gotten a lot bolder this last year. It’s really frightening and sad.

  50. Fil,

    We sure miss you when you’re not here.

    Everyone,

    This is how I hoped this would work…thank you all for a thoughtful discussion.

  51. Kaep’s #TakeaKnee is a protest against racism. Period. It is not up to the oppressed to fix it. By reminding those who have long benefited from it, or forgotten how people still struggle under the weight of it, perhaps enough people of conscience and good will may be moved to
    the work on behalf of those affected by it. And those who still embrace racist attitudes will not feel so emboldened to practice their hate.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/25/opinion/colin-kaepernick-football-protests.html

    A lot is being done off the field as well advocating for police accountability, strengthening vulnerable communities etc.

  52. I think Rob’s thoughts expressed here are a bridge, rather than a gate. Most commentary regarding this subject are gates–celebrating whose in and attempting to shame those outside the gate. I have grown to detest politics as expressed in contemporary culture. I have come to personally reject anything that is reductionist in nature, and politics, as currently expressed, is reductionist to an extreme.

    Regarding the flag, I do not believe that flags belong in church, or that church is a place for political expression beyond a recognition that the Kingdom is our first allegiance and Christians are free to vote their conscience. Having said that, multiple generations of my family have been buried under that flag as veterans by custom are. My brother will be as well; though I am a veteran, I am choosing not to be, not as a protest, but simply as a gift to those who would offer military honors of some time–I choose not to inconvenience them.
    I think it is common decency to refrain from using an iimportant symbol to those families who have suffered the loss of loved ones in service to this country to score a political point. Trashing symbols that are meaningful to some is no way to start a conversation–but a great way to end one.

    For all this talk of making others uncomfortable, and the necessity of that, it seems that the conversations are one-sided. People are looking for victory without charity for those who lose–look at the language of hate and humiliation applied to those they disagree with (on both sides).

    I had no candidate in this last election–I felt the choice came down to a person of reputed personal decency with a vastly documented history of systemic corruption and a personally vulgar person that had little public record of corruption. Our political class was once referred to, by noted satirist PJ O’Rourke, as a ‘parliament of whores’. I think that is perhaps to generous a description. I do not believe Obama is a Muslim, neither do I believe Trump is a white supremacist, yet even people in the church throw those terms around. The one thing I am convinced of is that no one is interested in persuasion, but many are interested in dominance. I don’t see the character of Jesus in either side politically, and I feel more comfortable while the battle rages than what will result when either of these sides wins. History tells me that the side to bet on is the progressive side–it is easier to destroy than conserve. I feel for the younger generation who will have to live with a more authoritarian dynamic than I have had to in my 60+ years. Whoever does not properly care now will be made to care–and that provokes a bit of dread in me.

    I mourn for the church that we identify more with political movements that with Jesus; I fear our emphasis on winning politically will just result in alienating ~50% of our neighbors. My prayer for the church is that we get smaller–that we begin to focus on those within our 5 senses, that we look and act like Jesus toward them–and that we smash the personal idols of political power.

    My two best friends are 180 degrees from each other politically–and they love each other. Wish we could all be like that…

  53. I posted this in another thread but it seems folks like to ignore it. Kaep and Davis started the protest by sitting. After talking with veterans they changed position to kneeling specifically to honor vets amidst their protest. Kneeling is done because of their conversation with veterans because that is how the flag is handed off when fallen soldiers return home. I definitely agree with Josh above (@28) where he questions when it is ok for our black friends to protest because the uproar ignores what’s actually being done in favor of trying to control, isolate and eliminate (without addressing) the protest.

  54. Rick @53. Well said and completely agree.

  55. Brandon, the only person kneeling is the officer or senior NCO presenting the flag to the family; it is a sign of respect to the family that also places the presenting individual at eye level while he or she offers words of condolence to the family. No military member, other than that individual, kneels–respect is rendered by the act of standing. I have been to too many funerals where military honors are rendered; no veteran or active duty personnel kneel except for the presenter. Separating what is true from spin is very difficult in these trying days. Kaep has worn t-shirts celebrating Che and Castro–I take his symbols seriously regarding his priorities.

  56. Trump’s recent tweets about Puerto Rico are proof he is a racist.* Let there be more peaceful protests until this man is chased from the White House in disgrace.

    ____

    * Not interested today in a discusion about the meaning of the word “race.”

  57. Progressives exploit natural disasters for political gains. That strategy doesn’t work for conservatives and Trump needs to be more sensitive and learn. Not interested in chasing him out of office less this country become complete anarchy.

  58. @rick feel free to completely dismiss his discussuions with veterans. I won’t though.

  59. My wife was called up for jury duty this last week. The crime was attempted murder and assault. The assailant was a white man, the victim an African-American (shot through the groin, two months in the hospital). There were over 40 in the jury pool, half black and half white. My wife was selected with 11 others (and two alternates). The jury and alternates were all white, as was the judge, as were the prosecuting and defense attorneys. The witnesses were, in the main, African-American. When, as a juror, my wife sent a note to the bench questioning the make up of the jury, she was informed that both attorneys had agreed on the selection.

    Now, if I had been shot by an African-American and I went to court only to find an all black jury, a black judge, a black prosecutor and a black defense attorney… I think that I might be concerned about the arrangement.

    In 2017 in America, this sort of thing happens all the time. It may seem naive to others, but for me protesting injustice is not so much a political act as it is simply a display of decency and humanity.

  60. Duane, A jury is supposed to be a jury of your peers. 50% black, 50% white jury is way more than the proportional to the number of blacks vs. whites in the country as a whole. So I’m not sure I understand your point.

  61. Hi Rob! So good to see you! Thanks for this thought provoking article. I am in agreement with you in this.

  62. ***I know a lot of people who associate the flag with fallen service people.
    I was unaware of such…but it seems like something that out of grace we should respect, while also recognizing the valid protests.***

    I don’t understand what you mean when you use the word “respect”. Presumably, the people who hold this view of the flag would only feel respected if protests like this stopped and people stood at attention for the anthem. Personally, I feel that the idea that the flag = fallen service people or = the military more generally is not an appropriate view of the flag. But were I to voice that that opinion to someone who held those views, I would inherently come off as disrespectful. How do you show respect when holding a differing view will be seen as being inherently disrespectful?

  63. Wow. Excellent editorial.

  64. “How do you show respect when holding a differing view will be seen as being inherently disrespectful?”

    I think conversations like this go along way in helping to understand other points of view. After reading Duane’s post I think all are hoping for decency and maybe giving folks that benefit of the doubt would be helpful and good for our own sanity.

  65. #61 Steve

    I wasn’t saying 50/50… and I think the point is somewhat obvious.

  66. I agree with J2thePerson. It’s what I’ve been trying to say and you said it better.

  67. “I feel that the idea that the flag = fallen service people or = the military more generally is not an appropriate view of the flag.”

    I understand this point. At the same time, the military is the only reason we are free in this country. Where I live I’ve seen protesters marching against the police… with police protecting them and helping block off streets. It seems counterintuitive.

  68. Brandon, I am not dismissing anything, simply trying to keep the conversation going. I offer my experience and whatever expertise growing up in a military family, being in the military for a prolonged length of time, and attending multiple funerals where honors are rendered confers. There is a lot of weirdness out there; if someone chooses to burn the flag on the street, say whatever they want about the country or its veterans, I simply am not bothered. During the one time we as a nation have traditionally honored the dead–and their families–it would be nice if we could commit to doing one thing of meaning together rather than always using it as on opportunity for a statement that can be made in the 10,078 minutes the week holds other than this time in question.

  69. I serve 10 years active duty military, in my opinion, giving them what could have been the best years of my life. It was an organization that operating on principles of peer pressure, coercion, and threats. Objects were rarely clear, understandable for times of contingency management, and such thinking trickled down to day to day operations. It was a strong hierarchical organization with an equally strong pecking order. I rose to a significant place in that pecking order only to see the futility and unfairness that it generated.

    I was never so happy to leave the base for the last time. I have never been back, I don’t have a pictures or plaques on my wall of those days. I do the best I can to keep them from my memories, that is, until I attend some event where the National Anthem is played, and that whole experience hits me like a flood. I stand quietly and respectfully, and I never cheer when the song is over. I only wish that it really meant what the mythology has spun it to be.

    I told my wife and children over 25 years ago that I do not want a flag on my coffin. I do not want my time of service to be what they remember about me.

  70. ***At the same time, the military is the only reason we are free in this country. ***

    I disagree with that understanding of the military, and that too is going to be seen as inherently disrespectful regardless of how politely I may try to express myself and regardless of how many times I reiterate that I believe the military serves a useful purpose even if that purpose is not protecting our freedoms.

  71. An interesting perspective on the military and flags from Tertullian… we’re not the first ones that are facing these questions.

    https://ericdarylmeyer.wordpress.com/2008/09/11/tertullian-on-military-service-christ-among-the-barbarians/

  72. Pstrmike, I totally understand your feelings–and respect them. I think I am great at compartmentalizing. I always focused, on the three bases (one overseas) I served on, the people I served with. There was a wonderful saying: The unwilling, led by the unqualified to achieve the impossible for the ungrateful. The incongruence and paradox were sources of humor, as well as frustration–I choose to dwell on the humor. I was far enough down the military food chain that I did not have to pay serious attention to the things you had to; I loved those I served with and was loved by them in ways that has never been my experience in civilian life. I experienced honor among the lowly that I have not experienced in civilian life. Perhaps if you had been in a less important position, you might have had a different experience.

    Like you, I have no plaques or memorabilia, just memories of those I served with. I would have died for them, and would have killed for them, if the situation demanded it. Not for country, I simply think nationalism is too abstract a concept. Occasionally, people will thank me for my service; I tell them I appreciate their thoughts and encourage them to thank those who saw combat–I personally did not. Like any system, there are problems. I had the privilege of interacting with many combat veterans and some former POW’s (I served in the post-Viet Nam era). I was always impressed with the grace, humor and courage I saw in them. Humanity, apart from the system, whether government, church, or military, is what attracts and moves me. One thing it taught me is that those who aspire to power, in whatever system they choose, ought not to be entrusted with it. The Christian ethic of laying aside what we feel we are entitled to–that has meaning.

  73. Perhaps it is time in this country that instead of playing the National Anthem and presenting the flag at sporting events, we choose a different song, and perhaps a different symbol that has nothing to do with our military. Set aside the current flag and anthem for military ceremonies exclusively (many think the Star Spangled Banner too militaristic, anyway).

    A separation of civil religion and military, if that makes sense. I would think that America the Beautiful could replace it, or some more secular song (This Land is Your Land) could be played. As to a flag, have an artistic competition to arrive at a flag that represents best our current value system. This could reduce a lot of conflict.

  74. @53 Rick “Regarding the flag, I do not believe that flags belong in church, or that church is a place for political expression beyond a recognition that the Kingdom is our first allegiance and Christians are free to vote their conscience.”

    I attended my friends Assemblies of God parish as a guest once. At the end, they had us do The Pledge. It felt off to me. Why were we doing this in church? Feels like idolatry. Then they had us do the pledge to The Christian Flag. I just stood there. That was too much for me.

    Our church had the former Congressman who made the movies Agenda and Agenda 2 speak last Sunday. While there are points there to be made, I don’t feel that they belong in church.

  75. The New Victor, I totally understand your feelings; I would not have made a scene but would have been glad to leave when it was over.

  76. “Christ is also among the barbarians!”

    Then there’s that. Wow.

  77. pstmike, I ended much like you. When I got out and turned in my gear they said I could keep my jacket and boots – I said no. Then they found my medals and to those I said no. I wanted no evidence found in my closet.

  78. It strikes me that we are assuming too much these days…that media is seemingly so divorced from reality that we don’t think there could be real consequences for our words.

    We don’t really think that North Korea could nuke us or that we could scream ourselves into a real Civil War.

    I’m not willing to make those assumptions.

    When half the country thinks that symbols of something they hold sacred are under attack, they will attack back.

    I may not hold them as sacred, but if I want to live in peace with people and seek the united good, I must at least recognize those concerns.

    The old art of compromise has been lost, but it needs to be recovered…there has to be a way for everyone to be heard and believe their concerns are addressed.

  79. Forget the flag and anthem – I find it appalling that we do flyover with our warplanes.

  80. #74 Rick

    I like your idea of “This Land Is Your Land”, but only if we include all the original verses…

    As I went walking I saw a sign there
    And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
    But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
    That side was made for you and me.

    In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
    By the relief office I seen my people;
    As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
    Is this land made for you and me?

  81. Then there’s this from PRRI,

    “The number of Americans who say that racial tensions are a major concern in their community has risen dramatically since 2012, jumping 18 points, from 17 percent to 35 percent. At the same time, concern about crime as a major problem has risen from 33 percent to 48 percent.

    Reactions to the recent killings of African American men by police vary widely. Fifty-three percent of the public believes that the killings are isolated incidents rather than part of a broader pattern (44 percent). Approximately two-thirds (65 percent) of white Americans say that killings are isolated incidents, while only 15 percent of black Americans say the same. More than eight in ten (81 percent) black Americans say that the recent killings are part of a broader trend of how police treat African Americans.

    “While religious leaders have mobilized in the last year to talk about police violence, discrimination, and racial inequality, these efforts have had little measurable impact in the pews,” said Dr. Robert P. Jones, CEO of PRRI. “White Christians across denominational families are far less likely than black Christians to perceive that there is even a problem.”

    White Christians are more likely than members of other religious groups – or whites as a whole – to say that the recent killings are not part of a broader pattern. More than seven in ten white evangelical Protestants (72 percent), white mainline Protestants (73 percent), and white Catholics (71 percent) believe that the killings of African American men by police are isolated incidents.

    At the same time, many (43 percent) Americans say that discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities, while 55 percent disagree. Half (50 percent) of white Americans—including 60 percent of white working-class Americans—agree that discrimination against whites has become as big a problem today as discrimination against blacks and other minorities, while fewer than three in ten Hispanic (29 percent) and black Americans (25 percent) agree.”

  82. Michael, I share your concerns–I think that we are already two, if not more, distinct nations (perhaps tribes would be a better word to describe it). I think the church has an incredible opportunity to learn, and practice biblical, Sermon on the Mount type, peacemaking. Be a bridging people between these two distinct nations. Sadly, I think Christians would rather be on a winning side rather than work on bringing reconciliation between these two sides.

    Sadly,

  83. ***When half the country thinks that symbols of something they hold sacred are under attack, they will attack back.

    I may not hold them as sacred, but if I want to live in peace with people and seek the united good, I must at least recognize those concerns.***

    So, what I don’t understand is…Substantively, how do you live at peace with the people who are offended by national anthem protests? Is there a way to live at peace with them while also protesting during the anthem? Or, is the only way to live at peace with them to stop protesting? How do you show that you are recognizing their concerns while also protesting?

  84. Rick,

    I wholeheartedly agree.
    I have very strong feelings about the current administration, but it’s time to lay aside rancor when possible to invite real discussion.

  85. “Sadly, I think Christians would rather be on a winning side rather than work on bringing reconciliation between these two sides.”

    I think it is part of the issue, if not at the heart of these issues, that we’ve all been convinced that someone has to win and, therefore, someone else has to lose. It is a binary approach that will destroy us as a civil society… and as the church.

  86. j2,

    Protesting during the anthem is obviously counter productive.
    By deeply offending the very people you hope to reach, you guarantee that you won’t be heard.
    It would seem to me that protesting before or after the anthem, as well as utilizing other platforms available to this group, would be much more effective and much less divisive.

  87. Duane @ 86…exactly.

  88. for me this thread has been an interesting read… we’ve all heard the phrase to “plant the flag” and that brings to my mind the statue constructed off of the Iwo Jima flag planting in WW2 (yes, i know it was restaged for the purposes of the photographer)… below that hill were the bodies of men who died to capture the hill (symbolic) and all of America saw that photo in Life magazine and thought, “we’re planting the flag of freedom from tyranny for all mankind.”

    Off of that mindset or capitalizing on it – dunno – America took a wrong turn somewhere in the 1950s… we somehow became a national Don Quixote out to save the world… or so the drum-beat of the politicians thundered… even God can’t “save the world”

    most who post here are a generation younger than myself and associate the flag with politics and the Vietnam debacle – the heroes became the guys who burned the flag as they cried, “hell, no, I won’t go.” and the soldiers (draftees, mostly), i understand, who came home from that war were heckled and spit on… i never saw that, personally… so, the flag doesn’t represent now what it has represented to most Americans? i guess not, but i wish it did… for 200 years people did struggle to build a new nation – the flag then represented all the hopes and sacrifices made to build it…

    i have read that Kaepernick got off the bench and onto his knee when a friend advised him that the “knee” was more respectful and pious (he claims to be Christian, doesn’t he?) and now the demonstration has become one of standing as a team and linking arms in solidarity… the only good takeaway that i have from this whole wimpish display is that last one… why can’t we all link arms in solidarity and tell our leaders that this nation will circle the little guy, no matter his color, and protect him from abuse… at the same time, God give us wisdom to demand good behavior out of every citizen…

    it is very telling of a buried sense of superiority, when we stand off to the side – arms linked or not – and say that someone can’t help but do bad things because of how they’ve been treated… well, no, unless they are evil, they can be helped to not do bad things… isn’t that where we “link arms?”

  89. I don’t know enough to determine whether the current anthem protest is counter productive or not. But, I doubt that protesting before or after the anthem would garner much attention, and if it did, people would still end up being mad because “they’re not being professional enough. Just play the #%$^ game and earn your millions of dollars. Stop wasting our time.”

  90. ” One thing it taught me is that those who aspire to power, in whatever system they choose, ought not to be entrusted with it. The Christian ethic of laying aside what we feel we are entitled to–that has meaning.” that is worthy of carving in stone … IMHO

    i have really been comforted by the wisdom of Rick’s words on this post … some others have also posted good and enlightening comments, but his stand out for me today…

  91. I don’t think the protest before the NFL games has been counterproductive. Many good people who may have thought racism was no longer such a big deal because we had a black president for eight years and other minorities have reached levels of success in their fields , have been made aware of the magnitude of the extrajudicial executions of US citizens and have had their consciousness raised, They have done the research and joined the struggle for police accountability on the local and national level as a result of one man taking a stand. Because of that, Mr. Kaepernick feels it has been worth risking his career, enduring the death threats, etc. It has done what it was intended. Brought the issue to the forefront of the national discussion. As always is the case in discussions of injustice and inequality, it’s bound to get messy. To try to reframe his protest as otherwise is deflection, perhaps unintentional, that avoids the primary, difficult purpose. Certainly there are many in the justice system would prefer the deflection.

  92. The NFL’s players have rapsheets that rival many gang members’, and consistently ignores those rapsheets and pays and plays those players. It is 501(c)3 which pays out billions of dollars to athletes, coaches, corporate execs, ad agencies, etc, and somehow fudges is numbers to remain in the red. You cannot expect justice or morality from the world. It is a perfect picture of the soul of America.

  93. The NFL that is.

  94. Descended,

    You don’t know much about the NFL.
    It is not a 501(c) 3, indeed, it is not tax exempt at all anymore…the individual clubs never were.
    http://www.snopes.com/politics/taxes/nflexempt.asp
    The NFL has never claimed it’s “in the red”.

    In terms of players with “rap sheets”, the NFL actually polices with a heavy hand in my opinion.

  95. Michael

    Well I stopped watching around 5 years ago

    when it was 501(c)6. So I guess I did jump the gun a bit,

    however it was the Ray Rice controversy that possibly pushed them, finally, to give up their tax exemption.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cnbc.com/amp/2014/09/12/tax-exempt-the-nfls-nonprofit-status-by-the-numbers.html

    As far, as the leniency toward accused and convicted felons exhibited under Goodell et al.

    http://blog.masslive.com/patriots/2017/05/nfl_arrests_which_teams_have_t.html

    Not many cut nor even counseled, or even put in rehab. Sometimes we turn a blind eye to our favourite things. I know it happens to me.

  96. Interesting insight on that first link.

  97. Why should an employer be involved in discipline?

  98. That’s a big discussion I don’t have time for, not even a definite opinion on. It’s not either/or. What I said was

    “You cannot expect justice or morality from the world. [The NFL] is a perfect picture of the soul of America.”

    I think the numbers prove that point.

  99. #98, that question is one i’ll be pondering a while.. there is more there than the simple answer that first comes to mind as government regulations and rampant litigation has created a strange atmosphere today

  100. First off, that article about the offenses is ludicrous…I am so tired of this kind of crap.
    No mention of fines, suspensions, or discipline.

    I guess if it’s on the internet, it’s true.

    Second of all, when did employers become the legal system?

    Inane…

  101. Whether you agree or not with the protests, here are words from Malcolm Jenkins who has been protesting with the Eagles since last year. He is a thoughtful and articulate man and I believe it is at least worthwhile to hear his perspective.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/what-protesting-nfl-players-like-me-want-to-do-next/2017/09/30/507fc4b0-a513-11e7-b14f-f41773cd5a14_story.html?utm_term=.0ef28009ffdf

  102. #102 – KevinH that is what needs to be the focus – this man is addressing what needs to be done – not cheap momentary gestures that really – IMV – distract …
    Kind of like the example in Scripture of saying to the beggar, as we brush past, ” Be warm and blessed. ” There is no virtue in an empty gesture is there?

  103. Michael, even though it is totally wrong headed IMV, employers can and do get sued because an employee dropped a stitch and the result has been the creation of whole departments devoted to covering the employer’s rear… but you already knew that, I know..
    😳
    inane and insane

  104. If anyone liked the Malcolm Jenkins opinion piece posted by Kevin in #102, then please understand that his article is a fruit of the player protests. In other words, if you like Jenkins’ article, then you must understand that the player protests were not cheep gestures or distractions, but began a conversation which evolved into a substantive conversation as represented by Jenkins. If it had not been for the player protests, in all likelihood Jenkins never would have written, much less would the Washington Post publish, his article.

    May the protests continue and intensify until the legislators in this country take tangible action to address the grievances Jenkins’ expressed. I anticipate that it will take much more protest and articles like Jenkins’ to move the politicians.

  105. No, Jean, I must disagree with you regarding the player’s demonstration of disrespecting the anthem claiming that is their way of crying for justice…
    It is a cheap gesture as it cost these relatively wealthy men nothing of time, stature or resource… easy, political and slick
    Jenkins, with or without the Washington Post exposure was working intelligently, using his resources to address and seek to solve what is perhaps historic and unsolvable (oppression of poor and ignorant souls). I don’t know what his approach is – good or misdirected – I suspect, however, that it is a good one and we can hope and pray for its success…
    God keep

  106. Em,

    Jenkins has been one of the players who has been protesting since last year. It is quite possible Jenkins would not have gotten the opportunity to work in some of these other ways, including having his piece published in the Washington Post, if he had not first gotten people’s attention by protesting.

  107. Actually Michael, it does mention who was cut and others who underwent counseling, or received fines and/or community service. Perhaps it was mainly concerned with the legal side of things. If you know of particular stiff fines or actions against players by the NFL for legal offenses off the field perhaps you could enlighten me.

    I think this Randy Moss article sheds some light on what the NFL will fine and not fine for.

    talk about inane…

    Maybe you know if he was fined by the NFL for assaulting the female officer?

    https://www.thoughtco.com/randy-moss-antics-1335699

  108. Descended,

    You obviously don’t follow football and gather your information from click bait websites.

    I’m a Viking fan.

    We have a player under suspension currently for a DUI.
    Moss was fined and suspended many times for his infractions.

    There are players who have been suspended for a year for smoking something legal in the state of Oregon.

    What all you folks who don’t follow football don’t seem to understand is that the players have a union and the powers of the commissioner have to be defined in collective bargaining.

    Do you check to see if the cashiers at the grocery store have criminal infractions before you shop there?
    Plumbers? Electricians?

    I find all of this inane…

    If you don’t like football, don’t watch it.
    If you know nothing about the game, don’t comment on what you don’t know.

  109. Randy Moss is a good example.
    Randy Moss was a jackass.
    He was also the greatest wide receiver I ever saw.
    I enjoyed watching him play.
    I didn’t want to hire him to babysit.

  110. I look at football players as modern day gladiators and nothing more. They market themselves for my entertainment. If they leave the game with their knees broken and their brains scrambled, who cares?
    So if along the way they wish to gripe and protest, no harm no foul as far as I am concerned.

    .

  111. Kevin and Jean, i just can’t concede the point… would there have been no opportunity to work to mitigate the misapplication of arrests and sentencing without football players using the cameras at game time to put on a little show?
    I’m sorry, but if there was really a consensus of serious concern these fellas would have been banding together to make their presence felt in the halls of justice… they would have been a force to be reckoned with, had they cared enough to do so…
    some of them are smart enough to organize such and they’ve never done it…
    nope, it’s too easy to just look good by doing something for what? a minute and a half? looking like concerned heroes of great stature and then back to business as usual… just the way it looks to me… however…
    if the end result is good, it won’t be if the politicians are the ones “solving” the problem, if the end result is good… then it’s all good

  112. “It is a cheap gesture as it cost these relatively wealthy men nothing of time, stature or resource… easy, political and slick”

    Many say that it cost Kaepernick millions.

    “would there have been no opportunity to work to mitigate the misapplication of arrests and sentencing without football players using the cameras at game time to put on a little show?”

    May are working hard and giving millions to do just that. The kneeling is to bring awareness to the cause.

    “nope, it’s too easy to just look good by doing something for what? a minute and a half? ”

    Look good? Despite the hate they’ve received?

    Em, I respect you as much or more than anyone on this blog. Your opinions on this are pretty disappointing, though.

  113. Josh the B, I appreciate everyone’s view on this… The hate these athletes are receiving now is an unnecessary thing IF these athletes had had the maturity to have put their efforts and a portion of their wealth toward addressing a mature attack on this situation some decades ago… This isn’t as simple as bad cops picking on innocent people of color…
    We all have to come to terms with the fact that we’ve made incredible progress as a nation, but people aren’t perfect – far from it – Kaepernick is an intelligent man with issues – as are many of our college educated now due to immature academic leaders IMV
    I just don’t think demonstrations build anything… They may reroute, but they don’t solve. It will take decades to overcome what the Blacks endured after the Civil War – I pray that we succeed, but it will take mature, nurturing people of good will, who realize that the human race is corrupt – leadership that demands and is worthy of respect

    BTW – those pro football players have years of hard work and discipline under their belts and, perhaps a little luck, they deserve respect for that – football isn’t an easy game to master… The principles the player’s have mastered could be applied to real life and contribute so much to the solution of these issues. IMNSHO. 😊

  114. Thanks em.

    I just don’t see why there is such a backlash against peaceful protest.

  115. Josh, because it “attacks” two American idols: football and the military.

  116. I like peaceful protests. Like the ones the ladies do who demand the right to go topless like the guys do.
    I think I hum the national anthem a little when they march by. 🙂
    I know, I’m a pig.

  117. Xenia – maybe so.

  118. Xenia/Josh

    Xenia, you might be right, but there’s a part of me that hears a sub-text about “keeping them in their place…” that I find profoundly disturbing.

  119. “keeping them in their place…” that we will always have with us and it speaks to a certain evil mindset that isn’t created by racial conflicts… it is systemic to the human race and, like other evils that infest the human race it is profoundly disturbing, indeed… sadly, we feel better about ourselves when we feel superior to another person

    in the 1950s we had a caretaker for my grandfather in his last years, a woman from Mississippi who told me, a teenager, about have to keep n*s in their place, “I made that young buck lie down in the road and I whipped him good!” a very sad commentary – i knew, even then, who the inferior person was…

    i have a cousin (i have lots of cousins 🙂 ) who has a degreed profession in which she found employment in a major city in Canada… she asked her clerk, another white lady, to go to lunch with her as they’d become friends – a little while later her superior called her into her office and chastised her for associating socially with someone of a lower class, someone who was not a professional of her stature – it seems in Canada that was a serious breach of class etiquette then…

    that said, while we will always have those people needing to feel superior, i hope, Dr. Duane, that you are wrong in this instance – i hope, as a nation, we’ve moved beyond that… dunno, tho, do i?

  120. i hope, as a nation, we’ve moved beyond that<<<<

    But that's the point, Em. We haven't.

  121. All the theories expressed here undoubtedly have some validity, but for most i think the think the push-back comes from feeling they’re disrespecting the ceremony (which probably doesn’t belong in sporting venues anymore unless it is an international event). The ceremony of singing the nation’s anthem. A declaration of pride and allegiance.

    It’s an extreme version of the emotional kick-back you’d expect from a neighbor if your kids were egging his house and car, i think…

  122. The protesters are acting because they want to see the country improved.

    Eggers are acting because they are hooligans and are not interested in seeing their neighbor’s welfare improved.

    So I don’t get the comparison.

  123. i remember right after the Twin Towers were destroyed, i was sitting on my porch and there were carpenters building a house across the drive (those guys have their radios blasting all the time they’re working, i think)… the radio was playing that song with the line, “and i’ll gladly stand up next to you… God bless the USA.” words to that effect…
    i’d like to think most of us who call ourselves “Americans” today feel that way… it disturbs me to see this hullaballoo now – it is a step backward where most of us don’t want to go…

  124. you’re focusing on the perps, Xenia 🙂 i was focusing on the response

  125. “i’d like to think most of us who call ourselves “Americans” today feel that way…”

    We don’t…but we should respect those who do.
    That is not to say that we all don’t share some sort of connection to country, but it is not in the traditional sense.

    The notion of mutual respect has died a rather horrific death at the hands of division…

  126. Michael, I think J2 has asked a good question.

    How do you propose that respect is shown to those who hold this view of the flag / anthem?

    Is no protest the only way?

  127. Josh,

    Whether I hold the position or not, I must recognize that these symbols are sacred and vital to a huge number of people in this country.

    You will not convince people of the holiness of your position by violating that which is sacred to them.

    I noted some teams this week knelt before the anthem and stood while it was played…it doesn’t take much creativity to both protest effectively and honor that which is important to your neighbor.

    It is self defeating to do otherwise.

    This is something I’ve thought about for a long time…I stand for the anthem out of respect for those around me, not because I feel it a proper ritual.

    I do not salute the flag, nor do I pledge allegiance to anything but Christ…I have always found that to be a violation of my own faith.

    I’ve always tried to avoid offending those who believe differently on this matter.

  128. I respect Em and of course I respect my husband. I show them respect by listening to them, acknowledging that there might be two sides, not calling them names, etc.

    But where does it end? Someone will always be upset by any kind of protest that is mounted. Does respect mean we must give up protesting because there are people who will be upset? Does that mean we have to find the least offensive, least noticeable form of protest…. and what might that be, I’d like to know, because just thinking private thoughts about things is enough to send some people into a frenzy. Maybe they could send postcards with bunnies and smiley faces to the powers that be, expressing their concern. (And how many people would that also offend, I wonder.)

    Nope, this is how these football players have chosen to protest and who am I, Mrs. Privileged White Lady, to dictate to them how I think they should demonstrate? Who asked me? I’m not the one whose sons are being shot by the police, am I?

    Showing respect doesn’t mean caving in.

  129. “violating that which is sacred to them.”

    I would guess the answer would be that the lives of black men is sacred to those kneeling.

  130. i realize that our nation’s present state is very perilous, that we’ve corrupted, exploited and debased it’s ideals… but i still think that deep inside most of us resides the ideal, the reason so many will do almost anything to get here… but…

    without realizing it, what we’re doing is killing it in an attempt to force it to full fruition… those of us who know Christ, who follow His teaching,who believe the Word know that we cannot make the world or even this nation as perfect as we’d like it – the ideal will truly have to wait for Christ’s return… and that thot gives me pause as i think of the predicted false prince of peace…
    it’s a beautiful day in the mountains, but the air still feels ominous

  131. I am the last person who will argue against protest.

    However, if I’m going to protest , it will be in the hope of actually seeking solutions to whatever I’m protesting.

    I do not see how creating huge offense in the very people who you are trying to persuade is effective.

    On the other hand, when I die I may end up being the patron saint of those whom protest with noble motives in futile ways…

  132. “I do not see how creating huge offense in the very people who you are trying to persuade is effective.”

    That is what a protest is. If it weren’t inconvenient to the listening party, it would never be heard.

    These protests are 100% completely peaceful. American as apple pie.

  133. my son was almost shot by the police… he was riding his bike before dawn to meet a friend to go fishing when a car came up behind him and a voice said, “stop right there!” the voice didn’t identify himself as the police and my son’s first instinct was to jump off his bike and run to the nearest house, but something in the tone told my son to stop – he turned and faced a policeman with his gun drawn and pointed right at him… he came that close to being shot by what i’d describe as an inept police officer… turns out there’d been a burglary and the homeowner described a youth that fit my son’s description…
    it isn’t all black and white

  134. Em, now imagine how that would’ve ended up if your son was black.

  135. Tamir Rice is your son, except black.

    He’s dead.

  136. Thoughts on kneeling- Rob knows we disagree

    1- I am white Republican Protestant southern male and sick of racist accusations and from a state with the stars and bars. And I started out opposed and changed my mind because I think racism MUST be more vigorously faced and I think some of it was in my initial reaction.
    2- Every time someone protests we say wrong place and time. We respond to a protest with a lecture. We parse the protestor and the protest and eliminate them from conversation. Wrong.
    3- It doesn’t hurt to stop and listen. It doesn’t hurt to try to have conversation. Usually there are no blacks in our white conversation … Rob brilliantly circumvented that with Jim Brown but I wonder if any black people are weighing in. I surveyed but did not look closely
    4- Protesting symbols is actually the most powerful way to get heard. Offending the general public IS the point. This was a big opportunity for church leaders to bring people together and hear it out.
    5- This thing was a mist in the wind until POTUS stepped on his tongue for 50th time. I voted for him, or really, against her and I cannot wait for it to be over. When he pulled out the SOB rant in Alabama I knew he had gassed the fire and that he gave validity to the racist narrative because he is too stupid to know that “fire that SOB” plays differently in Bama than in reality tv. He undermined every pastor’s moral voice with his immoral voice.
    6- The gold star family narrative is a hijacking of what this is about. Watching the PBS series on Vietnam clarified who the real flag desecrators are in our nation. Usually they get voted in with lots of waving flags.
    7- Worst of all nationalism is a heresy of epic proportions and it seeps into conservative Christian consciousness so readily. Our allegiance is to the cross and not the flag and we folded like a pup tent when they removed prayers from these events. Of course that was its own problem.

    And Rob is a man of conscience and honor and I love his zeal and respect his viewpoint. So I am not getting into it with Rob. However, I am sure the veterans are on both sides of this though likely weighted with him.

    My post sounds more like a rant than I intend but there is not enough time for me to clean it up just now so bust me some but try to receive my words.

    I intend to have some personal meetings with servicemen and people of color… some of whom are both. My church is very multiracial and cultural

  137. earlier i gave a mild illustration of an offending neighbor showing you disrespect by egging your house

    it’s a bit of a reach, but a funny illustration – well kinda funny – a neighbor’s dog disappeared and another neighbor’s kid (he ended up in jail as an adult) told them that they’d seen us pick up the dog and drive off with it… eventually the dog was found, but those folk wanted to believe they’d been wronged and were sure that we’d taken their dog and dumped it – soon after, we opened our front door one morning to a very large pile of dog manure on the threshold right outside the door…

    this is the destructive mindset, the need to feel wrong and to get even, that won’t ever be eliminated from the human race and i think it is color-blind, showing up in a myriad of destructive displays

    i cycle back to the contrast between a protest and joining forces to solve a problem… if these athletes would band together to attack the problem with the intelligence and the reason that they’ve shown they’re capable of, we’d get somewhere… what politician, judge or official wants to face 24 or more very large, healthy, intelligent men in his waiting room asking for an explanation … forget the postcards with bunnies on them … lol … 🙂

  138. ” he is too stupid to know that “fire that SOB” plays differently in Bama than in reality tv.”

    He knows.

  139. Now let me simplify … have a meal with some black friends. Ask them what they think. Shut up and listen.

  140. “if these athletes would band together to attack the problem with the intelligence and the reason that they’ve shown they’re capable of, we’d get somewhere… ”

    Em, they are doing this. It’s just that nobody cares until they take knee in front of the precious flag.

  141. #135, it was before dawn and that policeman coming up from behind had no idea what color my son, in his hooded jacket was… and he would have been shot, if he’d not stopped and looked back to see who it was that was after him… it wasn’t his color that saved his bacon

  142. BD – I Agree and have SO appreciated your thoughts on facebook. @140 is the best.

  143. BD,

    Under “normal” circumstances I would be shouting the “amen”… but in a country where the people seem to be looking for an excuse to open fire on each other, I’m urging more circumspection and caution.

    I might be wrong.

  144. Apologies if I am unduly raising a ruckus. I assure you my general congregation would not support me and I do not wish to be vitriolic. When the lines of agreement are largely racial you just might have a racial issue.

  145. Em @142 – To a large degree, it probably was. There is so much ingrained in our society that makes dark color people more threatening, and not as much of an issue to kill. (thus the reason for saying Black Lives Matter).

    Luckily, we can ask this question because your son survived, but many who happened to be black did not. I think it’s worth considering.

  146. Worst of all nationalism is a heresy of epic proportions and it seeps into conservative Christian consciousness so readily

    Don’t know where I heard this, it was a few years ago, but it’s true now and will continue to be long after Trump is dust.

    Patriotism, yes.

    Nationalism, no.

  147. BD,

    Because of your background, it is very important that your voice be heard…very.

  148. Attacking symbols is always what protest is about. Raise of hands – who besides me has ever burned an American flag?

  149. #144 …. the people seem to be looking for an excuse to open fire on each other

    They open fire on each other, even with no apparent reason at all.

    One thing I a certain about: If any of us here had a black son who was killed by the police, we’d be cheering the NFL kneelers on. Some of us with white sons can imagine having black sons and can still cheer…..

  150. @ 150

    Xenia, I have two black nephews. They have grown up with my white kids. I have seen how they are treated different…really by everyone. Our society in general.

    Definitely changed my life and the way I view everything.

  151. When I said I was turning off the NFL I thought of:
    -the church members who wonder what I am really saying one a dear friend retired military and black. I wrote him to ask what he thought “If we are willing to listen to the message spoken ineloquently by he who has eloquent speech writers, why not listen to the message spoken by those without speech writers who are trying to use a platform that cannot be filtered.” I heard him
    -the black guys on my high school and college teams who integrated white schools some not of their own accord. I wanted to kneel with them
    -the workers at my dad’s company who worked with the only white guy in the crew who was the boss’s son…yours truly.
    My soul heard them asking.
    The same kind of conscience drives Rob for the gold star families and he is right. So we choose on the horns of a dilemma. God help us.

  152. Who has burned the flag.

    Not me.

    I am a complete hypocrite, I must confess to you all.

    One day I am in college, a member of the campus anti-Vietnam protest organization.
    The next day, I am in the recruiter’s office, signing up for the Navy.

    This is because I was, for all practical purposes, homeless. I chose regular meals and a place to sleep over principles. And I got out as quick as I could. The military is a dangerous place for young women, as I have recounted here before.

    So when people thank me for my service, I am embarrassed. I should say to them, “Thank you, taxpayer, for three square meals a day and a bunk to sleep in.”

    I was still anti-Vietnam War but I kept these thoughts to myself, since I wanted to eat.

  153. I’m not a flag burner and always stand during the anthem, and have taught my kids to do the same.

  154. @153 Thanks Xenia … I suspect more sons are looking for a future than looking to fight wars they know have no rationale other than our determination to maintain our status in the world.

    I cannot connect the dots coherently when people tell us that soldiers are fighting to keep us free and they continually come home and tell us they’re fighting for the guy next to them.

  155. Listening to, living with, loving dearly, men women and children as individuals, precious, cherished human lives, not abstractions or an unknown “other” indeed makes all the difference in the world. Then indeed one truly wants them to have each and every blessing taken for granted by many.

  156. There was something I saw on Facebook that seemed like a non sequitur to me.

    Some people were cheering on the NFL kneelers. Others said it disrespected the flag. Then someone posted a photo of the Vietnam War Memorial and said because he fought in that war, American has its freedoms and the flag must be respected.

    How does this follow? If anything, that war was (theoretically) fought so the Vietnamese could enjoy some freedoms but it had zero impact on American freedoms and in fact, set into motion a long string of circumstances that pretty much has us where were we are today.

    And the wars that followed…. I get fighting the Taliban and ISIS but what’s up with all this nation building warfare? How does this preserve American freedom?

    So to me, the idea that the last decades of perpetual warfare have been conducted to preserve American freedoms has never made sense. And since it’s all balled up with the issue of the flag and the poor treatment of vets, etc. etc. we have created a morass that is bound to make everyone angry about something.

    When someone today thanks a soldier for fighting “to keep America free” I simply don’t get it. Most joined the military like I did, to get some income and maybe an education, not to kill Iraqis to keep America free. If our freedoms are in peril, it is from the inside, not from an outside enemy. (Unless NK sends the Bomb, then Katy bar the door.)

  157. @157 I’m with her

  158. Xenia,

    I have often thought the same things you’ve written, but feared verbalizing them.

    Thank you.

  159. A strong military is a deterrent to those who would do innocent people harm. No different than a strong police presence deters crime in a neighborhood. That’s how the military keeps us free.

    Regarding thanking for military service… I thank the plumber who only does it for the paycheck and not for me and my plugged drains. I’m grateful regardless.

  160. Today has shown me that if I can’t find it in the Beatitudes, I shouldn’t “fight” for it.

    I am asking God to make my heart mourn with those who mourn, and I had been, but today is a bit different.

    Interesting feedback and commentary.

  161. Rob M, thank you for getting this discussion going with a very well thought thru post…

    Sat. (#89) I posted a comment (I’ve overdone it on this thread) that pretty much still sums up this schism in our viewpoints for me… I

    It seems we all see the situation from the history of our experiences, so maybe there is no absolute for us beyond what beyond the summation of #161…

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