It was Ronald Reagan who famously said, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same."
First, it was multi-millionaire pro-football player Colin Kaepernick that refused to honor America by standing during our National Anthem---then, in the past few weeks, other multi-millionaire pro-athletes have joined him.
This weekend, Seattle's Garfield High and other high school athletes from New Jersey to California joined---now, even some middle school kids.
They say that "Francis Scott Key's 'Star Spangled Banner" is the problem---they're targeting the song, not the country.
Is it really the "song" or is it what we have "handed on" to this generation regarding America and Freedom?
Seattle's Q13 TV reported that Garfield coach Joey Thomas said, "The players decided to do this" to bring attention to social injustices.
This rebellion quickly became a national story because it is part of the national narrative, and that narrative is evolving, as they say.
Kaepernick slammed America for inequality and injustice, then people became aware that his girlfriend is an activist Muslim.
As others have joined this "new revolution," the target has become the Star Spangled Banner itself---specifically the rarely preformed third verse that "celebrates the defeat of slaves who fought with the British during the war of 1812," they say.
Black Lives Matter and the New Black Panthers have seized the moment.
Ten-year-old Skyla Madria says she has been kneeling during the past 2 weeks, not because of Kaepernick's "police brutality issue," but because "the 3rd verse of the Star Spangled Banner mentions slavery."
On Wednesday, with Quanell X, leader of the New Black Panther group in Houston at her side, Madria told reporters; "I did not really agree with the national anthem." She is objecting to the 3rd verse---"I decided that's not right."
Madria claimed one coach did not appreciate her silent protest. "He told me you should respect my flag, and respect my nation, and you should stand up for this pledge," further claiming he "yelled at me. He sent me to the principal."
The mom is demanding an apology, the school is saying it didn't happen the way Madria says it did---and Quanell X is seizing the moment---as Saul Alinsky taught him to do.
Quannell X, the black Muslim activist, figuratively standing on the shoulders of a middle schooler told reporters, "So when you talk about saying the Pledge, it says with 'freedom and justice for all?' When in the (expletive) is white America in this country given black folks freedom and justice for all?"
With all due respect to X and the others, mostly white guys died fighting over your emancipation---we call it the Civil War. Most of us had relatives who fought in that war.
X also told the press, "Why would we ask any African American child or citizen to stand up and honor a flag with an anthem written by a slave owner who promised nothing but turmoil to blacks to the grave?"
The words X and the little girl are objecting to reads; "No refuge could save the hireling and slave, From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave..."
While it's true, slaves did fight on both sides in the War of 1812, and Francis Scott Key was a slave owner, the online Encyclopedia Britannica states he "treated his own slaves humanely and freed several during his lifetime"...and "provided free legal advice to slaves and freedmen in Washington DC, including civil actions in which enslaved individuals petitioned for their freedom."
Using this premise, the Black Panthers, Black Lives Matter, athletes, and other activists, including our own president, have begun a trip down a path of no return.
The Boston Globe jumped on the wagon this weekend with a story "verifying" that George Washington's stepson George Washington Parke Custis, following "being bounced in and out of several schools," returned "home to Mount Vernon, where he would be accused of fathering children with slaves."
The Globe "confirms" that Custis did father children with slaves at Mount Vernon---reminding us once again that our First President and First Family owned slaves.
As did Jefferson and others who founded this country.
Do these groups--- Black Lives Matters, the New Black Panthers and other similar groups actually believe that the heart of injustice is the use of the words, "No refuge could save the hireling and slave, From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave...?" Words that are rarely if ever sung, and virtually unknown to the American public?
Ironically, a number of songs have been considered as the National Anthem---at least 5.
Catherine Dunn wrote an article over the weekend in which she identified 5 songs that almost became our National Anthem.
1. Yankee Doodle DandyDuring the Revolutionary War, the British army would sing Yankee Doodle Dandy to mock their American opponents. Rather than being offended the , however , the American troops decided to sing the tunes themselves, reclaiming it as a point of pride in America. The song became America's unofficial anthem for years following the Revolutionary War.
2. America The BeautifulThis song was a top contender for the national anthem in 1926.
3. Hail ColumbiaHail Columbia---the music--- was written for George Washington's inauguration. A decade later, lawyer Joseph Hopkinson added lyrics to the music. Hopkinson addressed the song to "Columbia"---the female personification of America.
The song was considered during the 19th century for our anthem but is now used as the vice-president's entrance song.
In 1861, abolitionist Julia Ward Howe rewrote the lyrics to a popular campfire song called John Brown's Body. The result was "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Because it was an intensely patriotic song which testified to the moral and religious dimensions of the Union cause, it became a rallying cry for the Union. After the Civil War, many northerners wanted it to become the national anthem, but the south rejected it.
4. The Battle Hymn of the Republic
5. My Country Tis' of TheeRev. Samuel Francis Smith wrote the lyrics in 1831. Some say he wrote them in about 30 minutes on a rainy day. For the tune, he used something found in a German songbook that he thought sounded patriot. That "something" turned out to be a version of the British national anthem "God Save The Queen." People liked it anyway and until 1931 it was counted among our country's list of unofficial anthems.
It's not likely changing the words of the 3rd verse of the Star Spangled Banner would address the issues of Black Lives Matter, the New Black Panthers or any of the rest of those who refuse to honor our country in this way.
Nor is it likely that expunging our Founding Fathers, their Declaration of Independence, their Constitution and all the other contributions they made to this country would solve the discontent either.
Systemically, God has been removed from the classroom, boardroom and the public square in the last few decades.
Our Founding Fathers repeatedly told us that our Constitution was made only for a righteous, or godly citizenry.
Our president and his administration have consistently apologized to foreign countries for America, highlighting our mistakes without mention of the great contributions this nation has made to the world.
He has smirked at the notion of American Exceptionalism, while emboldening those enemies who seek to destroy us.
Thomas Jefferson's attempt to explain the wall that protects the church from interference from the government has been inverted and revised to be a mandate against religious freedom.
Religious convictions, based on biblical Truth have been remade to represent "hatred" and "intolerance."
Current leadership has successfully convinced citizens that ethnicity is equivalent to sexual behavior.
This administration, and the woman who seeks to extend it, has shaken its fist in the face of God, declaring "God", rather than man, to be in error regarding the sacred institution of marriage.
The sanctity of life has been mocked as this administration has celebrated Planned Parenthood and other abortion operations. Since Roe v. Wade and its so-called "legal" killing, over 54,000,000,000 baby's lives have been terminated.
When a nation rejects God and godly principles, 3 things happen. Our Founders knew this, and we are discovering it.
- There is a crises of lawlessness.
- There is a loss of economic discipline.
- There is an expanding, unbearable bureaucracy.
America stands in crises, and it's not about the words in the 3rd verse of Francis Scott Key's song.
Historian Arnold Toynbee said there is a predictable pattern of "challenge and response" throughout history.
We as a nation are challenged in fundamental ways, and our response will either pull us back from the brink or push us over it.
In the days to come, we will either follow the path to renewal and restoration or we will follow the path to destruction.
The choice is ours.
Be Prayerful. Be Vigilant. Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful.