Kneeling For The Star Spangled Banner

Kneeling For The Star Spangled Banner

There is a lot of controversy
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There has been a lot of fuss over the NFL games starting on September 24, 2017, specifically with the way players were treating the national anthem.

Many players, during the national anthem, were kneeling in protest. It started with Colin Kaepernick, a NFL player for the 49ers, who started kneeling to protest racial inequality and police brutality. Since then, several other players have knelt in support of Kaepernick, but there was an increase in kneeling players during Sunday’s Star Spangled Banner in response to Donald Trump’s reaction to the protest.

Donald Trump tweeted “If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!” He believes that the players who kneel during the national anthem should be suspended or fired, and after expressing this belief to the public, 200 NFL players took a knee during the national anthem on Sunday. This, of course, started a huge debate. Is it disrespectful to kneel during the national anthem? And what does the national anthem represent?

One side of the argument says that it is a sign of disrespect because our veterans fought for our freedom. Our veterans fought for our right to kneel, and some lost their lives for that freedom, so we need to stand for the injured veterans and the ones who lost their lives fighting. The other side of the argument says that we have a freedom of speech, that includes freedom of symbolic speech, and we have a right to protest. Before this protest, kneeling was seen as a sign of respect. Players take a knee when someone gets hurt, people kneel to pray, and so on. Others believe the NFL players who knelt on Sunday were just protesting Trump himself.

When he started protesting, Kaepernick said: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color...” He was showing his support for the Black Lives Matter movement going on, but some argue that there is a time and place for that and it’s not when we are saluting our flag. I guess it depends on what you believe the flag stands for. Some believe it represents veterans and all who fight for our freedom. Some believe it represents this country as a whole.

Before Kaepernick started kneeling for the national anthem, he sat. According to CNN “It was [Nate] Boyer who helped him [the quarterback of the 49ers] and his teammates come to the decision to kneel, a more respectful option. Kaepernick was on board” (cnn.com). Nate Boyer was a former NFL player and an Army Veteran himself. Whether you think it is disrespectful or not, the NFL players kneeling during the national anthem got the attention they wanted.

All opinions aside, I believe everyone has a right to their opinion, and I encourage you to be open-minded about the each side of the argument no matter where you stand. Ask someone who thinks differently from you what they think and why.

Don’t let this divide our country apart more than it already is.

Cover Image Credit: Kevin Morris

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

SEE ALSO: To My Closeted Self, I Have Something To Tell You

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. (Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.)

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town. Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community. I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK. What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives. What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all. Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back; same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others. As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being. My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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The American Morality Question No One Wants To Discuss

Trump represents a deeper morality issue in America.
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The 2016 presidential election changed America. Whether you supported Trump or Hilary, the ramifications of 2016 are becoming more and more apparent. November 8, 2016, my fiance and I had our eyes glued to the TV as we watched Trump win. We had started the night expecting to celebrate the first woman president but instead watched our fears come true.

As disappointed as I was, I still wanted Trump to succeed. No American wants their country to fail. The Trump presidency has been a roller coaster that I did not want to board, yet here we are. We have a president embroiled in multiple legal investigations ranging from Russia's interference in American democracy to sexual harassment claims. Our country is more divided than it has been in many years. The question becomes, where do we go from here?

Some may argue that the first step is Trump's impeachment. While that is a possibility, in the long run, I will leave that to Mueller and Congress when the time comes. America's issue is not an issue of our president, but what he represents. Trump represents a plethora of moral issues that have risen to the surface once again in America.

Trump ran a platform on fearmongering of immigrants. The same immigrants that helped build our country. Now ICE is rounding up immigrants across America to deport them if they do not have the proper paperwork.

Trump has a long history of racist actions and comments. The racism that was shoved under the surface is now rising once again. From Charlottesville's protests to police brutality, even to instances such as a Starbuck's manager calling the police on two customers due to their race.

America would have called for Obama's impeachment if his morals were on the same level as Trump's. Trump rebels against what a white Christian American majority preaches. He has had multiple wives (divorces), multiple affair scandals, etc. Yet Americans keep making excuses for him. It is time to stop. Stop making excuses for Trump and justifying your own vote that got us here. Start addressing the issues that are coming to the surface.

I see conservatives saying it isn't a "gun" issue, it is a heart issue that is causing gun violence across our country. If you can believe that, why won't you believe the same goes for our president? That the same goes for the racism and sexism plaguing America. When we have to teach African American boys what to do to survive, something is wrong with our country. Something big.

America's heart needs to be fixed and it has been a long time coming. Years and years of injustices have occurred without a reckoning. Without a moment of truth for those who have ignored the many issues in America. I can only hope that our moment of truth is coming now.

Examine your morals and discover where they derive. Are they from religion? Are they from society? Are they from hate? Are they from love? Who do you want to be? Someone who is fueled by hate or someone fueled by love?

Cover Image Credit: PBS Newshour | YouTube

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