Colin Kaepernick and the Future of Freedom

Because I’m far and few between in actually writing post, you likely are well aware of the protest by Colin Kaepernick (and other athletes) during the National Anthem and the backlash it has created. It certainly brings up a lot of strong emotions. Kaepernick, in his own words explains why he is protesting,

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”(NFL.com 8/28/16)

Kaepernick is protesting the injustices that the African-American and Latino communities face. These injustices have only been exacerbated by several high profile shootings during 2016, most recently the shooting of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, OK. It should be noted that Kaepernick is not refusing to support our military men and woman; nor is he saying that America is a terrible place- he is speaking out against  the systemic racism that is prevalent (and has been prevalent) in our nation.

Because of our 1st Amendment rights, Kaepernick has the right to say what he wants and to protest what he wants to protest. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. But it troubles me when I hear discussion about how he should be “shipped out of the country” or he “doesn’t deserve to live here” because those expressions are a denial of our 1st Amendment rights to free speech. Do I think Kaepernick could protest in a better way- certainly, but I won’t criticized his decision to stand up and say what he believes.

This is where the church comes in. What happens when we move away from our freedoms grounded in the Constitution and our Amendments? Suppose we mandate all citizens honor the flag/country/constitution/etc. and take away someone’s free speech. How much longer will it be before we begin to lose our freedom of religion and require all those who do not conform to the norm to be “shipped out?” By protecting the free speech of everyone, including those we disagree with, protects everyone and gives us the freedom to speak out against injustice and the abuse of power when we see it. By protecting the freedom of religion of all people protects everyone who practices religion in our country.

Your turn: Is our flag/anthem more important than the freedoms our Constitution provides? If we prevent people from free speech aren’t we putting all of our freedoms in jeopardy? (Comments that are not inclined to dialogue and civility will be deleted.)

About Steve LaMotte

Husband and father of three amazing children. Campus Minister of Wesley College in Dover, Delaware. Pastor at Hope United Methodist Church in Dover, Delaware. Elder in the Pen-Del Conference. Fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers. Lover of music that makes hipsters cringe.
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