By Brandon Davis
On May 23, 2018, the NFL released a statement that the team owners and Commissioner have decided that they will fine players for kneeling during the National Anthem. They are allowing players to stay in the locker room as part of their protest, but they no longer will accept players protesting police brutality before their game. The NFL has stated that players must give “proper respect” to the flag during the National Anthem. This statement is in response to Colin Kaepernick’s protest that started during the 2016-17 season and continued with others after he was released and never signed to another team.
Months ago, Donald Trump made it a talking point that he would challenge those who are not standing for the flag. He called them names, told them they were unpatriotic, and that they should lose their job. When the NFL decision came out that they would no longer allow protests of the flag, Trump upped the ante. He tossed out the possibility that they should no longer be allowed in the country or that those who “disrespect the flag” should be deported. A leader of a nation, telling those who do not comply with his decree, but instead protest, calling for those to change their ways or face his consequences sounds very familiar.
In the third chapter of Daniel, there is a story of a king, Nebuchadnezzar, who ruled with an iron fist. He built a golden statue that everyone would bow down to when music played. In that nation, three brothers refused to bow down. Instead, they protested that they would not bow down before any false idols. The King heard about these brothers and decided to make an example out of them. He wanted all of the protests to stop, or he would have them killed. The brothers did not heed the threat, so the king had to take the action that he had threatened. He had them tied up, and thrown into the furnace. The brothers not only survived but were walking and talking in the furnace with another being, that some said looked like The Son of Man. The King changed his ways and tore down the idol that they worshipped.
What is surprising is that evangelical Christians not only continue to support Trump, but they overwhelmingly support the NFL’s decision to force its players to stand before the flag. Many arguments have been put forward from both sides that are valid, but one thing that many people are not saying is that there is a biblical basis for protests. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are not the only example, but I feel that it is the closest parallel to what is happening in the NFL today. I believe that Colin Kaepernick not only is justified in his protest, but he is using his platform to speak up for those who do not have a voice. That is something that Jesus did. Jesus spoke up for the marginalized, the hurt, the broken, the widows, the tax collectors, and for those seen as outsiders.
Proverbs 31:8-9 “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”