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As a kid I was taught to respect the national anthem. I do not recall a lecture explaining point by point why this should be done. It was simply taught by example. And I even remember as a little boy being given the treat to join my uncle and his buddies to sit on the railroad track, located adjacent from the football field and quite a distance away, to watch the high school football game for free. Even this bunch, sitting on greasy railroad tracks and some drinking stuff from bottles in brown paper bags, elected to stand while they prayed and then sang the national anthem. All knew instinctively it was the right thing to do.

I understand the purported reasons why some of these athletes think it necessary to sit, or hold a fist in the air, or stay back in the locker room during the performance. We have social problems in America. Some feel that law enforcement and the legal system is sometimes unfair. And I know that racism is still alive and in some places quite well. Also, politics plays a major role with this particular matter. Conservatives tend to be one color, progressives another. It all comes together to make for an ugly and sorry scene. My puzzlement is why the national anthem must be trashed to make a political/social/racial point? Surely there is a better way? A big problem, I think, is that we seem to have forgotten how to be civil to one another. And we’ve forgotten how to sit down and talk. Too many let others do the thinking and talking, others with less than pure motives- politicians, pundits, television anchors and sports commentators, radio hosts, and even preachers. Yes, I said preachers. I have a problem with these “preachers’ who spew far too much inflammatory politics and far too little love, and seemingly nothing of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Any preacher who has gotten his bank account fat from the pulpit of politics would surely make an Old Testament prophet turn over in his grave.

The national anthem pays tribute to the resilient American spirit, the military, and the flag. After thousands of rounds of enemy mortar, Old Glory still waves proudly. And verse four, which these days we never sing, gives God the credit. America has problems for sure. But our national anthem is not one of them.

So I am telling some folks that I do not appreciate your mistreatment of the national anthem. Maybe you would like to explain it to me? My ultimate allegiance is to Jesus Christ. If you love the same Lord, then you are my brother or sister. Concerning this, it does not matter the color of your skin or political identity. If we cannot worship together, love one another, or simply sit down and discuss our differences- then we are a sorry bunch indeed. Jesus did not die on a cross for such nonsense.

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