Over the last several days, Colin Kaepernick has been in the news for refusing to stand for the Star Spangled Banner. This blog is about my journey after Shayna’s passing and I’ve pretty much kept it non-political, but this will tie in if you stick with me.
I personally support Colin Kaepernick’s decision. Whether I agree with his particular cause (and I do), I support anyone who stands up (or sits down in this case) for his personal truth. As long as that protest is done in a non-violent way, I’m all for it. There is no “appropriate time or place” to protest. Protest, to be effective, must be disruptive. Black Lives Matters people have tried marching, but as long as you get a permit and march where and when they tell you to, no one pays attention. Shut down traffic and people will listen. I’m not advocating violence, but MLK recognized that rioting is the language of the unheard. And his protests were disruptive. If you don’t listen to people long enough, they will raise their figurative collective voice until you do. Colin Kaepernick had a 10 month social media campaign before anyone paid attention to his simple, non-violent, silent protest.
We have always taught our girls to speak their truth. Shayna was great at educating her friends about the black experience. Kayla is still doing it. It’s part of our duty, part of the assignment we signed up for when we agreed to be a black family in America. We cannot and will not stay silent. I have over 1,200 “friends” on Facebook. Pretty much every day I offend a portion of them. Sometimes it’s the conservatives. Sometimes it’s the liberals. Sometimes it’s the atheists. Very often it’s the Christians. I told people I don’t sing the national anthem or say the pledge of allegiance. I will stand for them, but I don’t participate. I don’t celebrate the bloody war that started our country, the rich white, slave-owning men who said they were doing it for “freedom”. They weren’t being murdered. Their wives weren’t being raped. They weren’t religiously persecuted. Their land wasn’t being taken. They weren’t enslaved. They threw someone else’s tea into Boston Harbor and started a war basically because they didn’t like paying taxes. The national anthem celebrates war, and the third verse (which thankfully no one knows) celebrates slavery. I am not singing that song. Some say this means I’m not a patriot. That is not true. I love this country, but I won’t whitewash its history and I will continue to goad it into living up to its ideals. I am a patriot. I’m just not a nationalist.
Then there is the pledge of allegiance. It’s fine. Say it all you want. I’ll go with Jesus on this one. Jesus is my example and He says to let your yes be yes and your no be no. Do not swear on anything. I do not swear. I do not pledge allegiance to anyone or anything other than to God/Humanity, to Tywana, to Kayla and to Shayna. This is the only thing I will swear to. I will do the most good I can for the most people I can for as long as I am here. But, I’m not pledging my loyalty to any particular country.
Yesterday, I let people know I don’t sing “bloody Jesus” songs either. What I mean by “bloody Jesus” songs is songs that celebrate the murder of Jesus. I do not celebrate the cross, which is an instrument of execution/murder any more than I would celebrate an electric chair. The image of Jesus covered in blood, or worse yet, me covered in His blood has always creeped me out. We used to sing a song that was literally about being “washed in the blood”. As a very sensitive, literal and visual kids, the image of me standing in front of God sitting on a throne- filthy me, worthless me, disgusting me, only sneaking past God into Heaven because I was drenched in blood. Well, let’s just say that’s not a pleasant image for me. Songs like “Washed In The Blood” conjure up images that have haunted me since youth. I won’t sing them and I won’t attend a church that does.
The thing that has fascinated me over these past days is how one man’s personal truth and commitment to it can just absolutely piss off another man. I posted a video of Mayim Bialik (many of you know her as Blossom from her childhood show or Amy on Big Bang Theory). She was speaking her truth of how she can be a woman of faith and a scientist at the same time. Two of my atheist friends felt the need to chime in and criticize her for basically saying nothing and for what they see as logical inconsistencies. One accused her of simply pandering to try to maintain the widest possible audience. Both jumped all over me and anyone else who said her video resonated with us. Why they felt the need to do that I’m not sure about. It seems they are insecure in their “atheism”. Too bad.
Then, last night, a guy had to send a personal message to me telling me he had lost respect for me and decided to unfriend me over the comment I made about not singing hymns about Jesus. Well, first I didn’t say I didn’t say that, I said “bloody Jesus” songs and second, why do you feel the need to tell me? He didn’t ask why I made the comment. He didn’t ask why I refuse to sing certain songs. He took it upon himself to be personally offended and to unfriend me and tell me about it. Maybe he thinks I’m trying to maintain a certain number of Facebook friends. Maybe he thinks I’m running some sort of business and it’s like losing a customer. don’t get paid for what I do. And, if he had asked, I would have been more than happy to explain my point of view and give him the respect of saying he is entitled to his. But, he didn’t ask. So ‘bye Felicia.
Jesus is my role model. It’s amazing how some see Him as this happy go lucky, never offend anyone kinda guy. If that were true, He wouldn’t have been murdered. Jesus spoke His truth with love and compasion, but He spoke His truth to anyone willing to listen. And to anyone not willing to listen, He said ‘bye Felicia.
In Matthew 7 He said: “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”
And in Matthew 10 He said: “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.”