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Monday, September 12, 2016

What So Proudly We [Once] Hailed

Okay. Colin Kaepernick interrupted the work flow in several places this past week. He earned himself the topic of conversation on talk shows and office spaces. He had some fans. He made some enemies. When you decide to take a stand, you pay.

As it turns out, the anniversary of 9/11 became a call to something bigger than Kaepernick to remind us of how unity is supposed to work. And patriotism. The Seattle Seahawks made their show of it — all players standing during the National Anthem and locked arm in arm. The way the brotherhood of man should work together.

Colin Kaepernick has left his calling card as a rebel. He may find himself a rebel without a true cause. The majority of Americans are not looking for a football QB to diss our national anthem as a way to protest. Regardless of the meaning behind his protest. He became instead a major distraction to the game of football and to the work for which he is paid.

This is an odd workplace issue for me to discuss. But it is a workplace issue nonetheless, as I will explain.

But first, let me share of few of my personal convictions about what’s wrong in America. First, I am totally convinced that the so-called medical “procedure” of abortion is nothing short of the taking of human life. Yet the running calculator of how many babies have died in this cruel manner indicates that already more than 750,000 babies’ lives have been taken in our nation so far this year.

While protestors wish to speak to the ongoing social ill of racism, Mr. Kaperneick and those who support his protest offer no public resistance to the ongoing killing of innocent, sweet little babies. And there is a great irony here in how abortion plays out regarding African Americans.

The informative website provides great insight. “Minority women constitute only about 13% of the female population (age 15-44) in the United States, but they underwent approximately 36% of the abortions. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, black women are more than five times as likely as white women to have an abortion On average, 1876 black babies are aborted every day in the United States.”

Erma Clardy Craven, now deceased, was a social worker and civil rights leader. She once observed, “Several years ago, when 17,000 aborted babies were found in a dumpster outside a pathology laboratory in Los Angeles, California, some 12-15,000 were observed to be black.” Hispanics also face a high rate of abortion. This is a blight on America and on our world.

How absolutely contrary to American values of freedom and rights can you get than to deprive the unborn a voice … or life?

A second example of the embarrassing injustice in our country is the plight of women who face sexual harassment. Gretchen Carlson, former Fox News personality, was just awarded $20 million in a lawsuit against her former employer—specifically Roger Ailes. Now a number of women have come forward with similar allegations against the man.

But wait…one of America’s best loved comedians, Bill Cosby, is facing felony charges of aggravated indecent assault by three women, and many more complaints as well. Hollywood is filled with starlet hopefuls who succumb to the sexual whims of power brokers in order to get roles in television and movies. Our former chief statesman, William Jefferson Clinton, left a terrible legacy of sexual harassment. How do we have national pride in light of this?

Thirdly, then there’s the murderous city of Chicago. Chicago. Black on black crime that exceeds our moral rationality as we watch even children get caught in the crossfire of gang warfare. Come help us fight that, Colin!

Each of the examples I shared are things that make me embarrassed about life in our nation. They feed anger because of our corporate insensitivities. They deserve the response of many voices of concern. Just like racism.

My causes do not give me privilege to negatively impact my employer. Or I pay the consequences. If I’m embarrassed by our nation, then I should step forward and speak in the arenas where my personal life can be a witness. But I will not lessen the sacrifice made by so many in our nation’s history by refusing to stand with pride for our national anthem. It diminishes the great things that our country has done and is doing.

Moreover, I believe any employer has the right to set reasonable boundaries to show respect for our national emblems and the anthem of our freedom. Celebrity status does not give special privilege to ignore a proper form of patriotic courtesy. Keep your protests out of the workplace. You have every right as an American to use your voice and influence to help fix a problem. Don’t create another one.

The NFL stands as a model in many ways for demonstrating how people of different races and backgrounds can play together on the same team. Professional sports has opened the door wide for people of color to succeed greatly. Many former athletes are featured in our halls of fame. Our sports television shows include many people of color as well. Opportunity exists in this nation like never before for people of all backgrounds.

For Colin Kaepernick, who was raised with an understanding of the Christian faith, he should know this world is fallen and always will be. Until…the return of Jesus and a new Kingdom is established. In the book of Revelation, we get a glimpse of what’s to come:

“I saw Heaven and earth new-created. Gone the first Heaven, gone the first earth, gone the sea.I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven, as ready for God as a bride for her husband. I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: ‘Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They’re his people, he’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.’” (Revelation 21:1-4, MSG)

No more tears. No more death. No more pain. No more racism. Just the celebration of a perfected new world every day by people of every color.

That’s our God. And the future for those who believe. Let the Kingdom anthem be raised!

That’s The Way WE Work. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays from 4-6 PM Central. To listen outside the Chicago area, tune to for live streaming or podcasts, or download the AM1160 app. 

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