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Preacher's Corner: Truth about the Star Spangled Banner

Ronald McCarver • Updated Sep 29, 2017 at 5:00 PM

Unless you have been under a rock for the past few weeks, then you have heard the passionate debates about the national anthem and how we respond to its presentation. Many Americans have weighed in on this trivial rhetoric and ignored some of the more critical issues that need our attention here in the U.S. 

Have we forgotten we are on the brink of a nuclear war, the realization of at least three natural disasters in America, which includes Puerto Rico, major terrorist attacks in several nations that are our allies, terrorist attacks within our own nation by our own citizens and the attack of Christian values by our neighbors and friends. 

I truly believe we continue to make our nation vulnerable for attack, because we focus entirely too much attention on issues that continue to divide us and forget the values that make us stronger, including our First Amendment right, the freedom of speech for every American (Proverbs 6:19).

It is a sad situation when the president uses public profanity to bully our citizens because he disagrees with the way they express their First Amendment rights (Ephesians 5:4). The underlying motive for this action has nothing to do with the flag, the Star-Spangled Banner nor the belief that there is disrespect for our military. 

When one billionaire decides to tell another group of billionaires how to discipline their employees, this is not about disrespect. Rather, it’s about control. Powerful people tend to want control over all things including control over their financial equals. How dare our president use his political power to disapprove the use of our First Amendment right just to satisfy his inflated ego? Shame on you, Mr. President. 

How can we continue to teach our children to let their words be seasoned with salt, (Colossians 4:6) if the leader of the free world has such a foul mouth? 

How many of us know all the words to the Star-Spangled Banner? Can we truly embrace a song that had such a challenge becoming officially recognized as our national anthem? The song was originally written with four verses, but we seldom hear anything but the first verse. The fourth verse was deemed as supporting slavery, and during the Civil War, a fifth verse was written by poet Oliver Wendell Holmes that condemned the action of the Southern states and labeled the Confederacy as “traitors.” I wonder if those who love to keep the Confederacy alive know that a verse was added to our national anthem, which belittles the Confederacy. 

When Colin Kaepernick chose to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem, he did not break a law; he did not go against team rules; he did not go against NFL rules; nor did he disrespect the military or the flag. He simply applied his First Amendment right to peacefully protest. His protest was about racial inequality, police brutality and unfair treatment of American citizens of color. 

In turn last weekend, many NFL fans burned team jerseys, sold their season tickets and peacefully protested using their First Amendment right. Each of these is an example of democracy at work.

The truth is that when we don’t know all the facts, let’s keep silent (Ephesians 3:7). This Bible verse is good for first graders and those who speak out like first graders. As Christians, we cannot support anyone or anything that sows discord amongst our brothers and sisters. If our leaders continue to promote our differences instead of collaborating our similarities, then we need to elect new leaders who support the peaceful protests that are afforded each of us through the Constitution and the action that it entitles each of us to as instituted by our First Amendment rights. This is the truth, and it will make you free (John 8:32).

Ronald A. McCarver is associate minister of Church of Christ at Bellwood in Lebanon. Preacher’s Corner features a new local preacher each month writing a column.


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