Can we learn from history?

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I am a Christian, Caucasian male with advanced degrees in theology and psychology. I always stand for the National Anthem and have great respect for my country. If you are still reading this, perhaps we share a few characteristics, or maybe you are just curious.

Professional baseball and basketball teams are gearing up for their abbreviated seasons, and football may be on the horizon. After the nationwide protests of the last few months, it is inevitable that many athletes will use a kneeling gesture in response to the National Anthem to lodge their political grievances.

When I was a young boy, John Lennon, a Christian illiterate, claimed to an interviewer that the Beatles were more popular to their teenage audiences than Jesus. His experience of the worldwide adulation the band received rivaled commitment to any religious creed.

Many American Christians reacted myopically as if Lennon had compared Jesus unfavorably to pop stars. They loudly demonstrated their angst by very publicly smashing the group’s records and announcing their divorce from Beatles fandom. The Beatles’ overwhelming musical genius compelled most teenagers to return their music, but Lennon never forgot the drubbing he endured. His most memorable composition was an anthem to atheism:

“Imagine there’s no heaven.

“It’s easy if you try.

“No hell below us,

“Above us only sky.”

When he was assassinated in 1980, the masses assembled in New York’s Central Park and repeatedly sang “Imagine” in outpourings of grief.

Now imagine how Lennon may have viewed Christianity if his American audience had recognized that this unchurched musician made reference to a very significant holy man, not to denigrate him, but rather, to offer a measure of the band’s reception. Lennon may have imagined a less caustic religious scenario.

When an athlete refuses to stand for the flag, we have a choice. We can make it about ourselves and flail about hysterically, emphasizing how utterly aggrieved we are. We can egg on politicians and pundits who voice inconsolable offense. Essentially, we can wrap ourselves in the flag and “burn the records.”

Or we can learn something from history, stand at attention when the colors are presented, and keep quiet about the actions of others. Remember, it is no fun to rebel if you can’t offend the people you are rebelling against. The American flag can easily withstand protests; indeed, it represents the Constitution’s freedoms even to demean it.

Imagine how nice it would be if just once we refuse to take the bait.

David Aycock, Ph.D.

Fayetteville, Ga.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Perhaps there is another option to reacting to the message of
    Colin Kaepernick. Rather than standing silently by, or becoming
    irate and defensive, we could actually listen to Colin and attempt
    to understand. We could face our own racism. We could admit
    that our law enforcement has a horrifying problem with systematic racism and brutality. And we could work to change
    things, in our lives and in our country.
    This is the option I have embraced.
    Perhaps if more of us had listened to Colin and his supporters
    years ago and acted on them, we would never have heard the tragic final words of Mr. Floyd George.

  2. Unfortunately, this ‘stand quietly and let all do their thing’ is why we have reached the very cross road where we stand today. At this point, it’s not about kneeling but rather about showing solidarity with a self-professed Marxist organization led my far left feminists whose stated goals are then end of normal family structure and the ‘patriarchy’. This woke organization supports segragation and racial superiority and wants nothing less than the dismantling of our nation to allow for the formation of ??? Stand silently at all of our peril.

    The only way that corporations, including major league sports will leave the political field is when they feel the financial pinch of their choices. Sport was where we could set aside politics (at least since full integration) and come together to cheer for our team with no real angst towards the supporters of the other team. Now, the leftist have infected everything with politics, even infections!

    Sorry, but i’ll not stand by silently while the progress of the last century is turned upside down in the name of ‘fairness’. The American Dream has always been one of coming together, melting together and it’s not okay to be silent when a radical minority of leftist activists change the meaning of words and threaten all who are willing to voice a different thought. The weakness of a society focused completely on profit is laid bare but the conservative priciples that are foundational to our nation are not the same as raw profit and we cannot allow destroyers to conflate them.

  3. You raise good points Doctor. I thought then as I do now, that Lennon intended the “Beatles more popular than Jesus” comment to be more of a startled observation than something he was bragging about. In any event, back then Jesus wouldn’t have come in 3rd or 4th if it were strictly a popularity contest among teens. Right or wrong – that’s a fact.

    Similarly, the song Imagine was simply that – a song Imaging if we did not have faith how messed up the world would be. Back then and now I think he was being ironic instead of dissing religion.

    All of which gets to the Doctor’s point, I think which is- get over it. Not everything is all about you and real or imagined offensive comments that bother you. If you are personally offended by some of the stuff that protesters and partisans and even normal people are putting out – get over it and don’t take it seriously or personally. It its simply not worth it.