Here's the practical reality. Our country was founded on the premise that all of its citizens have the right to express their beliefs without fear of reprisal. However, it seems we only agree with that statement if the kneeler in question perfectly aligns with our personal brand of patriotism. The right wing evangelical branch of Christianity, in particular, seems to be of two mindsets on this subject. Tim Tebow taking a knee to express his sincerely held beliefs? Hooray! Colin Kaepernick and his like-minded NFL colleagues taking a knee to express their sincerely held beliefs? Umm. Not so much.
But that's not how patriotism works on a practical level.The constitutional right to speak, or kneel, without fear of reprisal does not exclude persons with differing opinions or football players in the NFL. Tim and Colin have an equal right under our constitution to kneel to express their beliefs. The rest of the country has a right to agree or disagree with either kneeling stance; because this is the land of the free, not the land of everybody has to think just like me or we are all doomed. Anytime you take a stand, even if it is on your knees, you can be sure of one thing. Somebody will question your motivation, your patriotism, and your faith, especially if your strongly held beliefs differ from theirs.
This ongoing conflict is counterproductive to reaching any kind of thoughtful consensus on issues in dire need of calm and rational discussion. Racism is a real and escalating problem. How properly to express faith in the political sphere is a conundrum. Posting snarky memes on social media, boycotting this and that, and spewing hateful words at those with whom we disagree solves nothing.
Maybe we should all take a cue from Tim and Colin. And spend a clarifying space of time looking for a way forward. We have a choice. We can continue screaming at one another. Or we can stop and search for sensible answers. On our knees.
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