In the aftermath of President Trump’s comments geared toward the NFL and the National Anthem protests there is a vast amount of people speaking out on social media, for and against, those who took a knee. So much so that the some teams did not even come out of the locker room for the Anthem, and Super bowl MVP quarterback Tom Brady has even presented that President Donald Trump's comments were “just divisive.” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones initially said for his players to respect the flag, but ultimately ended up taking a knee with them. Which infuriated the Trump President for sure.
All the while, people on Facebook and Twitter are continually burning the comments house down, while even fake news is circulated concerning an NFL policy on the Anthem.
Today, there are many that really just think the whole Take a Knee deal is disrespectful and shows how people will jump on a bandwagon of something without really every thinking it through. Of course, this fuels even more decisiveness and inequality.
Then there is all of the young people all over the world are watching and they have the great desire to play football at that professional level. This is at least two generations raised on TV and video games with really no discipline in the home, speaking generally of course. So, is the movement is creating a something more than just a protest?
Take a Knee originated with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016.
Kaepernick’s actions were motivated by what he viewed as the oppression of people of color in the country, which also connected him to the Black Lives Matter movement. Of course, he has not even been able to land an NFL job since leaving the 49ers. Of course, Trump claimed responsibility, unapologetically, for Kaepernick’s demise.
If you really look deeper into this, following the all of the Kaepernick mess, this Take a Knee deal was pretty much was almost all but over with.
Then BOOM… The President opened his mouth.
Because the president ran his mouth, very unprofessionally and unbecoming of the highest office I might add, it has made this issue much, much worse.
Now, personally, I did not like the whole Take a Knee deal back then, and I really don’t care for it now. My wife even boycotted the NFL in our house, which continues today. Again, personally, I think that the Take a Knee movement has chosen the wrong thing to protest for their cause or reason.
But, with that stated, let’s go a little bit deeper…
Evidently, “Free Speech” covers the engagement in symbolic speech, such as taking a knee during the National Anthem, or even burning the flag in protest (Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397; 1989 & United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310; 1990). Now I wouldn't do either, even if I did not like something like really bad. But you know, honestly, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized very few exceptions to the First Amendment altogether. However, some words and actions are not protected from government restrictions, such as incitement, defamation, fraud, obscenity, child pornography, fighting words, and threats. Which give the hope that somebody on the great bench of the land had some sense.
An interesting critical thought though is that “Free Speech” does not give a full blanket covering to incite actions that would harm others (Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47; 1919). Also, in Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), the government can forbid “incitement speech” directed at inciting or producing imminent lawless action” and “likely to incite or produce such action.”
So, overarchingly, a person's rights to the freedom of speech really should end when the right infringes upon the rights of others who provided for them to have that right to begin with.
My personal take is that the “Take a Knee” deal was originally built upon the just the surface of the issue of police brutality and inequality. Which in some instances were true, and some were not. You have to really remember that our men and women in law enforcement have one of the toughest jobs ever. But now, the reason Take a Knee has blown up is because of Trump. The real reason, however, that Take a Knee continues on is because of all the excess baggage of sin, hate, fear, pride, and various other issues. The USA has a lot of baggage from her people. Baggage that is being carried around everyday.
So, is this is really an honest reason to protest??
Yes, originally it probably was. But now it is really at the expense of itself.
Through thinking of this, you might think of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s peace protests. However, Dr. King marched, he didn’t Take a Knee on the National Anthem. A worthy cause is great, but not if it is at the expense of something greater.
Strategically and structurally the entire movement is using the wrong mode to protest.
Yes, it is in a sense making a statement symbolically by Taking a Knee, but in using the National Anthem to protest by Taking a Knee, the protesters are actually slapping the very hand that gave them the right as well.
Now you can go all out Super-Liberal here and raise the flag of rights and constitution and other such things, but think about it logically for a moment. What really happens with your protest if you are protesting a worthy cause, but going about it all the wrong way??
As the Take a Knee movement becomes more progressive, it is showing it has a systemic problem in that it is built upon a fallacy in faulty thinking that it can protest something by slamming itself against something else that is sacred to the American people; especially those who serve, continue to serve, and have died serving this great nation.
So, I state it again. Good cause? Yes, probably very much so.
But it is going about it in the wrong way.
Now, with all of that out there, what is this Take a Knee thing really all about?
And, has the movement created anything that is even worth actually Taking a Knee for??
Yes, maybe so.
Is it the oppression of the African Americans in the USA, or police brutality, or inequality??
Is it because the US President said things in a vulgar and very disrespectful way??
Or, is it something else entirely??
I think it is all of the above.
Ed Stetzer speaks some truth into the situation as he presents that “First, the response of many African Americans (including fellow Christians) should give [is] pause to reflect on their response.” Now, Stetzer speaks some truth that really has a lot of meat on the bone, so to speak. But to add to this, I’d say that really everybody should really should give is pause to reflect on their response and not be reactive.
Be Responsive instead of Reactive
Expect Conflict. One thing is for sure, you will never like how everybody does something and somebody is not going to like what you do or how you do it.
Reactive is just that, reactive. Instead of reacting to conflict, there should absolutely be a discernment process to thoughtfully respond to it. Responsive is not allowing conflict to really blow-up automatic response the active practice of actually considering the issue, using discernment, and then thoughtfully responding will go much further than knee-jerking reactions.
Overall, this entire deal really got fired back up over the President shooting his mouth off. Of course, there is life and death in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21; 1 Peter 3:10-12; James 1:19-26).
You know, under the legal power of the US Constitution in the use of Freedom of speech folks also have the right not to speak (West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624; 1943).
Protesting will always be around till the Lord Jesus Christ returns, but how folk’s protests will go straight to the heart of their credibility and the reason why they are protesting. Conflict is inevitable. Yet, conflict can serve as a catalyst for change, as well as an opportunity for growth.
Also, how a person, or group, or team chooses to respond can also destroy the reason why they are responding from the perspective and perception of others who see and/or feel their response.
Remember this: God sees everything and Public officials will respond to pressure.
What is the solution and how do we fix this? I can give you a few things:
- The Lord never said life would be easy.
- Bible does not give us a step-by-step instruction pamphlet for every challenge we face.
- There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution.
- As Christians, we should “ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
- As Christians, we should certainly respect authority (Romans 13:1; 1 Peter 2:13–14; Titus 3:1).
- As Christians, we should use our light to shine to be an influence (Matthew 5:15–16).
We need some Leaders to stand up and be Champions.
We need some Leaders to stand up and be Peacemakers.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).
Know this, “Peacemakers are people who breathe grace… They draw continually on the goodness and power of Jesus Christ, and then they bring his love, mercy, forgiveness, strength, and wisdom to the conflicts of daily life.”
We need more Peacemakers than Protesters for sure.
Here's the Deal… If I protest something at the expense of something else then it gives my entire protest zero credibility, even if I have people that agree and follow the protest.
Free Speech, Yes! Great cause, originally Yes. Good way to do it, absolutely Not.
What do you think of all of this Take a Knee stuff and the way NFL teams are choosing to Take a Knee in support of all of this?