Hate Hillary? Take a Knee. Hate Trump? Take a Knee.

By Bob Hartman Published on September 19, 2016

Next sporting event I attend, I’m taking a knee.

When the singer steps up to the microphone, when the band begins to play, when everyone stands and the first notes of “The Star Spangled Banner” echo across the stadium, I’m taking a knee.

Why? Because I can no longer sing praise to a country that allows the systematic slaughter of hundreds of thousands of unborn children each year. And, to give Colin Kaepernick his due, a disproportionate number of those lives are black lives.

You may not agree. But it’s my right, surely. And I’d like to think that there are millions who not only agree with me, but would be willing to join me.

Or perhaps you have a different problem with America.

Perhaps you are fed up with the growing disparity between the rich and the poor.

Why not take a knee?

Perhaps you are frustrated by the loss of well-paid middle-class jobs.

Why not take a knee?

Perhaps you feel that we don’t treat immigrants kindly. Or, on the other hand, think we are too kind to them.

Why not take a knee?

Too much government spending?

Take a knee.

Too little?

Take a knee.

Hate Hilary?

Take a knee.

Hate Trump?

Take a knee.

Just plain flipping fed up with everything?

Take a knee.

Take a knee.

Take a knee.

There is just one problem, of course.

If we all take a knee, no one will know exactly why. So we’ll have to come up with some other way to differentiate ourselves from everyone else on their knee.

T-shirts? Signs? Facebook posts?

And then we’re just back to square one: finding a unique way to advance our favorite cause. Which might then mean that the only option we have left is … to stand.

Which I suspect is the best option, anyway.

As far as I can tell, the singing of the National Anthem and the respect it shows for our flag was never intended as a blanket endorsement for everything that has ever been done in the name of America. It’s the celebration of an ideal, a dream, a series of possibilities that have never fully been realized and that we all need constantly to explore and attempt to achieve. Together.

Taking a knee further divides a nation that is already sadly divided by race and class and political and social differences. Would it not be better simply to admit that, and see the singing of our National Anthem as a call to unity and a challenge to bridge those divides? To seek the best interests of one another and work together to truly be the land of the free and the home of the brave?

And if we’re going to make that sung commitment to work together, does it not make sense that, in that moment, we should also stand together, too?


Bob Hartman, who has pastored churches in Pittsburgh and in England, is now a full-time writer and Bible story teller. An internationally-known story-teller and speaker, he has lead programs at Spring Harvest Christian festival in England and the Edinburgh International Book Festival, as well as taught Bible storytelling throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia. He is is the author of many books, including The Lion Storyteller Bible and The Wolf Who Cried Boy.

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