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Archive for September 28th, 2017

Romans 13: 7:

Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

NFL’s Colin Kaepernick ‘takes a knee’ at the playing of the National Anthem because he has said that USA equals racism. Does our nation have racists?  Yes.  Mr. Kaepernick states that our country oppresses black people, except we elected a black man, twice, as President of the United States, the Civil Rights movement ended Jim Crow laws, affirmative action has helped many African-American students to go to the college of their choice and I personally I know it is wrong to use ethnic slander even in private. Many of us cheered the end of apartheid in South Africa.  Martin Luther King, Jr. quoted as the nation’s “promissory” note the Constitution and it is accused of being written by racists. These are not signs of oppression.  Is there room for improvement when some white cops kill black men and women?  Of course and when it is crucial to speak against any kind of oppression against each other.  

Mr. Kaepernick seems to be saying that when the USA is perfect then he will honor our nation again…or not?  If I had to wait for my Father and Mother to become perfect, I would never have honored them, nor my wife, nor my wife me!  We honor someone or something because of the office(s) they hold according to their callings. St. Paul makes it clear in Romans 13 that civil authorities have the office to punish evil doers and maintain order, therefore, besides taxes and revenue (I call this the “April 15 Biblical codicil”),“…we are to render respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”  Our nation is owed this as our nation in our relatively short history, and at many times bitter and bloody history fought a war to end slavery and many other wars to protect, preserve and defend the Constitution of the United States which includes the Bill of Rights to insure a critique of our actions.

In a different way I do not like “taking a knee”as an act of dishonoring. If the a NFL player is a Christian, this is clearly not against civil law but evangelical encouragement and conviction in Romans 13. Two points about ‘taking a knee’ from a Christian perspective:

1.  At the beginning of a sporting event, the stadium announcer may say, “We now honor America”.  Playing the National Anthem at the beginning of a sporting event is a way of doing just that at a game and at other times, e.g. Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day. Granted that honoring America at a a sporting event is not necessary but it is helpful.  I personally love singing The National Anthem and to remember all those who stood and fought for America: from the soldiers of the American Revolutionary War to the civil rights marchers of the ’60s. Our flag still waves.  I wonder:  did Martin Luther King, Jr. sing the National Anthem, quote  and say the Pledge of Allegiance?  I know he quoted the Constitution and the Declaration, those supposed ‘racist’ documents, with full approval and so here is another picture of honoring America:

 

Do Mr. Kaepernick, and others, want to dishonor America?  Please correct me if I am wrong, but it seems so. Yes, it is their 1st Amendment Right to do so.  It is also a First Amendment right  for for an American to speak his mind that marriage is only between a man and a woman. It is also a First Amendment right for example a neo-Nazi to say racist and anti-Semitic speech.  These two examples are being placed in positions of moral equivalency by some.  There are plainly not the same.

I abhor  racist and anti-Semitic speech. Yet, “I may disagree with what you say but I will defend to death your right to say it.” (attribute to Voltaire but written by Evelyn Beatrice Hall in her biography of Voltaire).  Many have defended the right to  hate speech even to their death:   in the wars our nation, under her flag, have fought.  Thank a veteran for defending our first amendment rights. Denial of any American’s first amendment rights is dishonoring the United States. And given an opportunity to “honor America” and not doing so by a Christian is not giving honor to whom honor is due, respect to whom respect is due.

2.  Then there is the use of the gesture of “taking the knee” itself.  Not so long ago, we were all in an uproar over “Tebowing”, when Christian NFL player, Tim Tebow, would “take a knee” and pray during a game.  I do not like the co-opting of a Christian posture, that is, genuflecting and kneeling, a prayer position, to be used as something wholly negative.  I do not think the NFL players who so kneel during the singing of the National Anthem are  praying.  “Forgive us our trespasses…”

An idea for action:  It is  a physical impossibility  to kneel in a stadium.   After the National Anthem and “taking a knee”, instead of applauding, all Christians bow their heads and pray the Lord’s Prayer for our nation, that is, each other. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us…”

 

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