Tag Archives: National Anthem

NIKE and My Thoughts

The following is social commentary which some may find disturbing. Proceed at your own risk, but be warned.


By now I”m sure most of you are aware of the new NIKE ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick. How could you have missed it?

If you know about it, I’m sure you’ve already established an opinion, and that opinion is probably based on what you already thought about Colin Kaepernick’s taking a knee during the playing of our national anthem.

The whole NIKE controversy centers around something Kaepernick says: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” In response, besides people burning their NIKE shoes and gear, folks on the internet have created alternative graphics featuring the photos of other people, such as Chris Kyle and Pat Tillman.

As stated in a CBS News story, the message of the ad campaign is pretty simple: “The spot’s universal theme is about athletes pushing for bigger dreams. It features young athletes who compete amid various challenges, touching on issues of gender, disabilities and weight loss, among others.”

And I guess that’s a noble theme because, after all, there’s nothing wrong with praising people for pushing through tough challenges to reach their dreams. But what does that have to do with believing in something so much you might even have to sacrifice everything?

And what is “everything,” anyway?

Essentially, what did Colin Kaepernick actually give up?

But let’s stop for a moment and move this in a different direction. What about the whole reason for kneeling in the first place? Are all police corrupt and intent on murdering anyone of color? Not all cops are white, you know. Heck, just this week I had a wonderful conversation with a black deputy who works with kids at a local high school. Is he the reason people are taking a knee?

Oh, I know, it’s all the white cops who are killing black men, right? Yeah, that’s it. That’s why our country is so bad. That’s why so many are taking a stand by not standing for the National Anthem.

But what about Planned Parenthood? What did the founder, Margaret Sanger, believe about blacks? What color of babies die most often in their clinics?

And the police are the problem?

I can think of a couple hundred officers who died while doing something they believed in on September 11, 2001. They sacrificed everything for total strangers. And, honestly, I could introduce you to scores of officers and deputies in my own county where I serve as a police chaplain who put their lives on the line every day for something they believe in.

You know, every time I hear the arguments for kneeling, specifically the race-related ones, I can’t help but remember those African-American heroes who flew in the Red Tail Squadron, those Tuskegee airmen who battled FAR more racism and bigotry to become some of the best pilots who ever defended this country during wartime. To loosely quote what I heard one of them say not too long ago in response to the whole kneeling thing,

“You have that right, but only because of those who fought and died to defend it. We may have our problems, but there’s no better country in the world. If you think it’s better somewhere else, you’re free to go there – which in its self is a freedom many don’t have.”

The Tuskegee Airmen didn’t take a knee; they took to the skies for the country the loved.

Yet, after all I’ve written, what if every policeman was corrupt? What if Colin Kaepernick is the best example of bravery?

There’s still someone who we’d all be better off emulating.

Instead of a football helmet and millions in lost contracts, He wore a crown of thorns and had a stone for a pillow. He could have been king of the world, but they called Him “King of the Jews” and crucified him on a real cross, not just one in social media.

And yet He said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s” (Luke 20:25).

He also said:

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. – Matthew 5:44-45

Look, NIKE can use whomever they want in their ad campaigns. But I have a strong suspicion that if we would only choose some better heroes – like ones who actually DID sacrifice everything for what they believed (did anyone say Dietrich Bonhoeffer?) –  commercials like the one with Kaepernick wouldn’t even be an issue.

Maybe a better observation would be this: Make sure what you believe in is worth sacrificing everything.

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Don’t Give Up On Her Yet

Some people want to say that America has seen her best days. Some want to say that God is done with America.  Some want to give up hope that this nation can ever see a revival of morality and a return to its founding principles.  Some Christians say that we should just abandon ship and only focus on the Ship of Zion.  Well, if America is “going to h*** in a hand-basket,” then we need to do what only a people with a will can do…get out of the basket!

To be able to elect who we want to lead our country is an unbelievable privilege.  Just stop and think about it.  How many countries have come and gone which had a form of government which was set up to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people?”  How many billions live in subjection this very moment to a dictator or tyrant, or even a king?  We have been given a sacred treasure in our Constitution, one which was purchased with the lives, fortunes, and sacred honor of our founding forefathers.  Are we to treat such a priceless gift with flippancy and disrespect?  I hope not, but so many do.

Don’t give up on America, guys.  The journey is not over. This nation is not like all of the ones which have come and gone.  We are unique in our founding, our foundations, and our Founders.  The United States is not like any nation before it, and there is none like it today.  We have the rarest of abilities in that WE can decide who will lead us.  WE can decide what laws we will accept.  WE can decide the moral direction of this nation, for WE are the power and the authority to whom our leaders are accountable.  God, through His providence, allowed our founding fathers to create a Constitution which spells out the divinely given rights of the people, not of kings.  WE ratified our Constitution and Bill of Rights.  WE elect those to whom WE give the authority to govern.  WE can decide when enough is ENOUGH.

God-fearing men and women forged an uncharted, untravelled path when they chose to wade through the pain and suffering of building America.  They fought for freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  The took what was NOT and brought it into BEING.  What is NOT right now, can BE AGAIN.  All it will take is the same level of sacrifice that our forefathers were willing to give.  The United States, “one nation under God,” does not have to cease to exist, or continue to decline….WE can decide right now that WE will begin again as WE did before, so help us God.

What is the answer?  Revival.

The reason we need revival can be found in Proverbs 29:2, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”  Are the righteous in authority?  They could be.  They should be.  Otherwise the people will mourn.

Who are the ones in authority?  Well, in one sense, it is people like our President, or our congressmen, senators, or judges.  The context of this verse of Scripture would definitely imply that.  But, again, America is different.  We the people have no king or dictator.  No princes rule over us.  We are ruled by Law.  We are self-governed.  WE are in authority.  So the question then is this:  Are the people of the United States righteous?  The answer to that has to be an unquestionable “no.”  If the government, then, is of the people, and if the people are wicked, the nation will mourn, not rejoice.

Turn, therefore, oh citizens of this great land.  Turn back to the paths from which you have strayed; to the paths hewn from the wilderness by honorable, moral, God-fearing men and women.  Walk in those paths and follow in the footsteps of those like Washington and Lincoln.  We don’t need to see every man and woman in the country turn to Christ as their Savior.  Not every founding father was aborn-again Christian.  However, the overwhelming majority were men and women who knew that this great nation did not come about by chance, nor simply by the strength of men, but by the Providence of a guiding Hand.  Turn, therefore, back to the God that brought this nation into being, and can just as easily revive it from the dust heap of irrelevance. “WE THE PEOPLE” are in authority, so WE need to get our act together and elect men and women who will do what a righteous people demand.  It can start with just a few.  It can start with YOU.

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov’d homes and the war’s desolation;
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

(4th verse, National Anthem)

P.S. For all of you who doubt that the founding of this nation was based on the faith of Christianity, please refer to the above verse, and the comments from the Supreme Court in The Church of the Holy Trinity vs. The United States, 1892.  Oh, how far we have come.

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