National Anthem–to Protest, or not to Protest?

Tonight, like millions of people across the nation, I went to a High School football game. I went to see our local Comstock Colts break the longest active losing streak in the state of Michigan…and they did so with a hard-fought victory over the Bronson Vikings tonight…but that is another story!

Just before the game began, the Announcer asked everyone to stand and face the flag for our National Anthem. Honestly, I was relieved to hear that they did not say something ‘p.c.’, like ‘Please rise for our National Anthem, unless you are otherwise inclined’, or something like that. I was also happy to note that all players and coaches from our team (I confess–I didn’t even look at Bronson’s team) stood at attention.

The band played, and I sang the words…quietly (still, apologies to all within earshot), and I was thankful. Thankful that, at least so far, the ‘p.c. police’ haven’t invaded our High Schools in this way…yet.

It also got me reflecting on Colin Kaepernick’s protest–and the others who’ve joined him.

Yes, he has the right to protest. America does protect the ‘Freedom of Speech’ in the first amendment.

However, it makes me wonder about several questions…

  1. What is the ‘aim’ of those who protest? Is it to raise awareness to some perceived-or-real ‘wrong’ in our country? If so, I would agree–there are many things ‘wrong’ with our country. However, it is still The Place that symbolizes freedom and liberty for all the world–even with it’s inconsistencies. Ironically, the very fact that there is a ‘right’ here to protest shows the idiocy of doing so.
  2. When will there be a ‘win’? What will a ‘win’ be defined as? In other words, ‘Cool–you can protest–so when (if ever) will you stop’? What will need to happen in order for you NOT to feel the need to protest any more? What is Colin’s ‘victory’? Is there one–or is it just about ‘making a point’ (and being in the limelight)?
  3. For a multi-millionaire quarterback, who is paid like that to PLAY A GAME in our country makes me think that maybe there’s another reason for Kaepernick’s protest…he never protested when he was starting, but did so just before he was to be cut….Hmmm…

Here’s my take on the National Anthem: I think it symbolizes the PROMISE of our country–the PROMISE of ‘the Land of the Free, home of the brave’. I think it stands for, and points ever-forward to the hope that one day, we will live out the ‘true meaning of our creed’.

To be sure, we haven’t ‘arrived’ yet, and there are issues to be resolved. There are individuals, and groups, who frustrate me with their lack of respect for  freedom, liberty, diversity, etc. However, I think our nation is SO FAR ahead of other places that, to protest our National Anthem is to say “I can’t support you because you are not Perfect”.

To that, I say, “Guilty as charged; we are NOT perfect”…but we are moving closer.

We are improving.

We are respecting each other…and are getting nearer to our goal.


Most of us don’t know that the Star-Spangled Banner–our National Anthem–actually has 4 verses.

Read this last verse in the rhythm of the first verse (which you know so well)…

“O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand

Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!

Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land

Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!

Then conquer we must, when our cause it 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.”

THAT is worth standing for–whether in a High School football game or in the pro’s.

Just my opinion.

Pastor DaJo

Bonus: Check out this clip from “The Sum of All Fears”:

Published by Pastor Dave Johnson

Follower of Jesus, Husband to Lori, Proud Father to 6 great kids, Co-Pastor of Kalamazoo Community Church. Long-suffering Detroit Lions fan.

3 thoughts on “National Anthem–to Protest, or not to Protest?

  1. I totally agree with you. Why would anyone even suggest such a thing? If people don’t want to stand for America’s right, move to a different country. Don’t tear ours apart with this disrespect.

    1. Gayle,
      I wouldn’t quite say that–I do think the ability to speak critically of our Govt , etc, is important and is part of what is used to refine us. I’m simply saying that protesting the national anthem is not the way to go. I think of the Anthem as an opportunity to reunite under our country’s ideals. Protesting it, in my opinion, misses that point.

  2. Looking at your opinion and why you feel that way I totally agree with your outlook. I was lookin at it in a completely different way. It’s amazing to see how someone else views it and explains why it can change my outlook, and that is good. Thanks

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