Friday, October 27, 2017

The National Anthem Controversy With The NFL

I had a wonderful time watching my son graduate from Airborne School at Fort Benining, Ga. We met many wonderful soldiers and officers who are serving their country and making amazing sacrifices so all of us can live in relative peace in a violent world. We met many African-American officers and soldiers who are serving their country and who love the flag and the great nation that it represents. What an amazing bond these white and black soldiers share together down here. I could not help but compare the dedication of these men and women to those NFL and other professional athletes who refuse to honor the flag of our country. I have been thinking about this for some time but feel compelled now to state my feelings.

The article below I wrote with much prayer and meditation. I trust it points us all to the correct solution to the problems that we are currently facing in our country.

The NFL Protest

The protest by the NFL players to kneel during the national anthem is really a protest built around the Black Lives Matter Movement. This movement is based on a number of presuppositions held by many blacks today that puts them on opposite side of the rest of the population in the country. It is this widespread distrust of the American government, the police departments, the white population, so-called institutional racism, and our country’s past that fuels this protest. For many people to sing the national anthem and to honor our nations founding fathers when some of them were slave holders is very troubling. I can understand that. But it must not be forgotten that many of the great heroes of history, and particularly of our American history, were flawed men. Are we all not flawed men? We are all born in sin. There is not a holy or righteous man among us apart from the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ and only after we have been born again and enabled by the Holy Spirit to keep God’s laws do we even start to have a personal righteousness. We must not forget that in spite of their many flaws, men such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and even Francis Scott Key did some very note worthy things. These men made great sacrifices, and they helped give us the greatest democratic republic in the world. When we sing the national anthem, when we celebrate the 4th of July, when we honor  the flag, we are not saying we are a perfect nation. We are not claiming that our founding fathers were perfect men. We are just giving honor to whom honor is due. We are giving thanks for the many personal sacrifices that these men made that helped to create the greatest nation on earth. In spite of our flaws and the flaws of our ancestors, where else in the world could these NFL athletes enjoy such a country with such freedoms and blessings? There are many nations around the world, that to show the kind of disrespect and contempt for the government that these athletes are doing would land them in jail or  something much worse. 

If we can only remember those individuals who agree 100% with our point of view, if we can only celebrate perfect men whose opinions agree with our own, then nearly every statue must come down. Nearly every hero in history will need to be replaced by those that meet  the new standard set up by the politically correct police who have decided what is good or what is bad. And every generation coming behind them will do the same thing as statues, heroes, and men that are honored are replaced by those that the current generation approves of.

There can be no denying that most white and black Americans see things radically differently from one another. This divide of thought and opinion grows wider by the day. If this is to end without violence, then there must be a coming together on the basis of biblical law and justice. Not until all people in this country are treated fairly, biblically, and with true justice as those who were created in the image of God and therefore worthy of respect, Christian kindness, and love, will we hope to see these massive issues that divide us solved. The Bible alone has the answers through the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have spent my life preaching the gospel to both black and white Americans. I have spent my life loving my black neighbors and friends. I deplore all ungodliness. I resist all forms of bigotry and true racism. But I see this racial divide growing day by day. 

So let’s all be honest. The controversy with the professional players in the NFL has little to do with free speech. This is a major clash of worldviews. No one denies that all Americans have the right to freely speak their mind on any issue they choose. All Americans have that right. All—except those whose opinions differ with those whose Politically Correct views are offended by people who see things differently from them. These protesters show disrespect to the symbol of our freedom and our nation. They do it on television in front of millions to see. The public that attends a game or tunes in on TV has no opportunity at that moment to voice either their approval or disapproval. The protesters are not concerned about free speech. They are shoving their contempt down your throat. By kneeling  during the national anthem they are saying to all America that they think we (this) is a racist nation. They are shoving their political views in our face. They are telling all of us that they view our history with disgust. They have a totally different view of reality of the majority of Americans. These protesters believe that institutional racism is holding their communities back. These athletes believe that they are victims of a racist society.  They cannot see the progress the country has made through the years. They cannot even appreciate that they are millionaires in a nation that is the freest on earth. These protesters have the blessing of the media, the institutions of higher education, the entertainment industry, and the entire Democratic party to cheer them on. 

Does racism exist in this country? Yes, it does, because men are sinners. Racism, contrary to the opinions of many black leaders, is a two way street. All men of all colors have racist tendencies. All men need Christ. All men need the gospel. We have made great progress in this country, but this will never be a perfect country because men will never be perfect. Do these athletes see anything worth celebrating? Can they say anything good about this land? We as Americans should be working together to build a better country, not working against each other by tearing each other down.

These athletes are celebrated as heroes, as courageous champions of civil rights, and the van guard of an enlightened people who are resisting centuries of oppression from racists bigots. Even our president is now being called  “White Supremacist.” These athletes think every police officer is plotting to kill them and every conservative is a racist. 

If anyone else should try to exercise their right to free speech, to even question issues such as climate warming, reverse discrimination, race baiting, socialism, political correctness, multiculturalism, immigration from Islamic countries, or the need to stand and show respect to the American flag and national anthem, they are shouted down on our college campuses. They will be refused permits to speak at many other campuses. They will be called racists, white supremacists, bigots, and a number of other degrading names. The media does not come to their defense. The main stream news agencies even heaps further insults upon them. For those whose freedom of speech contradicts the thought police, who have decided what is acceptable to believe, they are excoriated without mercy. These athletes and others who hold these presuppositions feel that they alone have the truth. They believe that their views are centrist, normal, and morally right. Their opinion alone is what matters. And anyone who differs with them are the extremists.

This protest has very little to do with free speech. It has everything to do with a group of people whose presuppositions, worldview, and opinions about this country are as far removed from reality as could be. Just try to engage in a serious and respectful conversation with any one who holds these views and you will see how quickly disgust, anger, and the feelings of contempt come to the surface. These people have deep seated suspicions of our country, the police, the political process, and of most white Americans. They hold these suspicions in spite of the progress we have made, in spite of the billions we have poured into their communities, in spite of the amazing opportunities that they have as rich, affluent athletes, and in spite of the fact that the greatest danger to their communities does not come from the police but from people in their own community.

These protesters have no sense of true patriotism. They have little love for this country. They have little respect for the police. They have no appreciation for the American flag or for those who have served and died for their freedoms. When we do see them wearing t-shirts with their heroes on them, they are often communists and revolutionaries. Do these protesters ever voice concerns about the Black Panthers, the racist rhetoric coming out of the Black Muslims who call all white people devils? Do they  reject the revolutionary beliefs of men like Jeremiah Wright? These protesters do not see people as made in God’s image. They do not see people as colorless but only see in black and white. So poisoned is their heart that race is the driving force in their lives. They see everything through that prism. The hatred is so great that no amount of progress could ever be enough. Not the fact that for the past fifty years nearly every mayor of every major city is black. Not the fact that we elected our first black president. Not the fact that more money has been poured into the communities and services to promote affirmative action than ever before. The rhetoric coming out of these communities is crying for revenge and reparations. For many it seems that nothing short of a complete revolution would ever satisfy these critics.

What these protesters do have is an ingrained sense of victimhood. They see themselves as oppressed, persecuted, discriminated against, and disenfranchised. Reason with them? It’s impossible. These professional athletes, wealthy, successful, celebrities, heroes to the youth of our country, living the good life, enjoying benefits that billions of people in the world would die for—don’t have a clue. And God help anyone who dares to question them.

Our only hope is that the preachers of the gospel both black and white get back to declaring the Word of God as the anecdote to the racial divide that is tearing this country apart. Apart from that, I don’t see a lot to be optimistic about.