Will Protests Against Injustice Ever Unite?
There are so many terrible things that have happened in this world recently. Some have been due to natural disasters and others are due to the division within America. I wish I could speak on everything, but today I’m focusing on the issue of race and injustice.
I think we forget that God is a just God. Or maybe we believe that He is but only when it comes to things that WE believe deserves justice.
There are two extreme sides of the NFL protests, and I stand somewhere in the middle. I don’t have the experience of those receiving the oppression, but I also can’t stand in good conscience against those who do.
Ultimately, I wish I saw people defend those who are hurting as much as they defend the flag.
Before we get too much into my opinions, I’m aware that President Trump said it’s not about race: “This has nothing to do with race,” [Trump] said, “I never said anything about race. This has nothing to do with race or anything else.”
But the fact is that it’s NOT his protest, and he cannot decide what it is and isn’t about. If that’s the case, then the protestors’ motives should be trusted as well: “Many of the protesting players have tweeted or made statements to the effect that they mean the flag no disrespect, but that they believe racial injustice degrades American values.”
I believe it’s the heart behind the act that matters. If people kneel because they truly want to “stand” with those who are hurting, then their heart is in the right place to protest. If some knelt just to rebel or cause controversy, then that is another issue and not the one I’m choosing to address in this post.
You see, I used to view the world through a very “black and white” perspective. And in some things that God speaks directly about in His Word, I still am. But one difficult thing is when people jump to one end of the “fight” without listening to those on the other.
My friend Webly said it well:
“Someone has yet to say what is the right way a Black person should protest because so far it seems that no matter how it’s done, it’s offensive.
We march, people are mad.
We kneel, people are mad.
We die, people are silent.
So what is the right way to peacefully protest and exercise one’s freedom of speech? What wouldn’t be offensive and disrespectful to convey the message and get results, real equality?”
I can’t relate to those feelings on a personal level. I don’t want to relate to how inequality feels. But what I can do is listen. If you do anything at all, just listen to the hearts of those behind or in support of the protest. There is a reason that many veterans and military stand behind the protests:
Marine Corps Veteran Coleman Nee, said:
“I don’t think it’s a very effective protest in that you end up spending more time talking about the action itself than focusing on the issues that the players are talking about.”
No matter one’s reaction, Nee said, kneeling during the anthem is protected expression.
“When you sign up to serve your country, you take an oath to support and defend the Constitution,” Nee said. “When people exercise their constitutional rights, controversial or unpopular as they may be, you have to take some comfort in the fact that people are able to do it. Mission accomplished.”
As someone who still gets teary-eyed every time the national anthem is played, who has performed the song for many events and has an intense love for those who serve our country, I should be standing in an uproar over the recent protests. But, instead, I challenge you to also look at a new perspective and listen to those outside your immediate circle. The only way we will ever unite is moving away from our extreme side of the spectrum and meeting in the middle with love for both sides.
For those who are Jesus-followers, try to view this situation through God-colored glasses. When I picture Jesus here on earth during times like these, I see Him with great love for the military and those who feel oppressed. I truly believe the flag would be the least of His concern and the uniting of His people would be far more important.
My question to all of you is, how can future protests begin to unite us and wake us up to empathy rather than divide? I don’t have the answer, but I’m open to learning!