I really haven’t pursued writing much over the past couple years, other than my post every Tuesday at ACWM, but something has been pressing on my heart for a long time, and I figure instead of just crying over the disrespect in our country, I’d try to spread a little love.
This. This image is why kneeling for the National Anthem during a professional sports game is so disturbing. (if anyone knows where this photo originated, please let me know so I can give proper credit.)
Every time you refuse to stand, you tell a woman like this that her husband’s death meant nothing. You show her that her loss is irrelevant compared what you’ve been made to suffer, that your pain is more important than her pain.
Tell me – how are your actions any different than what you’re accusing your oppressors of doing to you? What happened to treating others the way we want to be treated? Why are you telling all the people groups of America they need to see this from your perspective instead of trying to see it from theirs?
You say that you’re doing this for equality. Awareness. Change. You say that kneeling isn’t disrespectful because you’re fighting for human rights. Sure, you can shout it, sing it, or write it ten thousand times, but your actions speak very differently.
If we really cared about human rights, we would not purposely oppose something that is so sacred to others. We would not intentionally inflict pain on another group of people.
Because for some, standing for the National Anthem and the American Flag is deeply personal.
Those symbols mean more to military families than just representing a place to live – they represent the honor and sacrifice of so many men and women in the armed forces. That flag in their hands is one of the few tangible items left from years spent in service, a representation of a human being who meant so much to them, and is now gone forever.
So yes, it’s very personal! And every time you kneel, you dig the knife in a little deeper to the wound of that loss. Those symbols may not matter much to you, but it means everything to them. By kneeling, you are denying them of a basic freedoms – to watch a game and be entertained, without being fed politics or being slapped in the face.
If we truly cared about injustice and human rights, we would choose a more appropriate platform, one that doesn’t inflict pain or dishonor on the men and women who give their lives to military service, and the many who gave up their lives.
What has kneeling really accomplished?
What good has come out of it?
How have injustice or oppression or basic freedoms been righted?
Some applaud that these actions are bringing awareness to inequality, and to that I ask this: those people who are now so aware, what are they doing to make the world a better place? How has all this kneeling brought one ounce of healing to our nation, because all I see is more division!
And to those who don’t seem to care how their actions might be negatively affecting others, I ask: Is it really worth it? Was there really no other way? Was hurting military families really the right thing to do to get your way?
All of this just reminds me of that truth that hurting people hurt other people. I realize I am a tiny voice in a big world, and that I have no influence over what professional athletes choose to do with all their time and money. While I would beg them to reconsider their actions, to chose another venue for their protest, or to actually do something that will bring about change, I think it best to turn my attention to those who are hurting.
So to you, that Mama who lost her son in combat, I understand your pain when you turn on the Sports channel, because my son just recently joined the military and I am a mix of very real emotions. Your sacrifice, and his, is noted and appreciated.
To that wife or sister who supported a soldier for decades as he served, I give you my love and say “thank you for your service”. My brother put in more than 20 years and I couldn’t be prouder. The world needs more servants like them. You, sweet lady, are just as valuable as the men and women who are out there doing the hands-on work.
And to those children who barely know their father because his sacrifice took him far from home, I say “stand and be proud” that such a man loved you enough to fight for you. And when you join in the movement to make the world a better place, be sure all your actions are motivated purely from the desire to do good to others. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Love “does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” 1 Corinthians 13:4