Standing Up For The Anthem

Lately there has been an issue in the media that has turned a pleasant Sunday afternoon into a battleground.

NFL players are “taking a knee” to protest our country’s National Anthem.

Why?

Because in one stanza the word “slave” appears?

Apparently so.

The problem is that those who are “taking a knee” and protesting this poem are actually acting in direct opposition to what that stanza, and indeed the whole song, really means.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

This song is about the North winning the war and triumphing over Southern insistence on continuing their way of life. Through the most horrible war, through death and blood freedom won.

“And where is that band who so vauntingly swore, that the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion, a home and a country should leave us no more?”

This is almost mocking in the asking. The South swore they would secede before giving up slavery and their way of life. They would break up this country through war and secession first.

Well they lost.

“Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution”

Meaning, all of the Southern blood spilled was recompense for the life they were living on the backs of the slaves. The North was fighting for the end of slavery and freedom for everyone.

“No refuge could save the hireling and slave”

Before the war there was no place safe for slaves. They faced the dangers of escape where they were hunted down by men with dogs. Slaves were slaves until they died; hence “or the gloom of the grave”

“And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph doth wave”

But the North won. Now the South was also free. Part of “the land of the free and the home of the brave”

Through all adversity and against all odds the North won and Slavery was abolished. Where once in the South there was nothing but bondage or death for slaves, through war and bloodshed and death, the Northern objective was won.

This anthem is the heartfelt outpouring of joy and pride and relief of a man who witnessed the terrors of war and suddenly it was over. The North had won, slavery was over and that tattered, damaged, beautiful flag; that symbol of freedom for all, still bravely flew.

Where once a who people were subjugated to bondage and treated like animals, where there was no place they could hide, no “refuge” that could save them and where they faced this existence until at last they were lowered into their graves. They were now free.

The spilled blood of their former Masters was payment for the horrible practice of owning others.

It was over.

The North had won.

We were one land.

Not broken up.

Slavery was no more.

Now we truly were “The land of the free and the home of the brave.”

This anthem is the shout of victory over slavery. It was the joyful fist pump, “were are your brave threats now, South?”

This song celebrates the Northern victory against Southern determination to keep slaves in bondage.

Every time someone “takes a knee” to protest against this ode to freedom they are completely misunderstanding and disrespecting what it stands for.

It was a shout of freedom for those who had no choices but the terrors of attempted escape or a life in bondage until death and the gloom of the grave.

The Anthem was one man’s way of expressing his relief and joy that the war was over and the North had won.

Oh, thus be it ever when free men shall stand,
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation;
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
Praise the Power that has made and preserved us as a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust”;
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

So stand. “Free men shall stand”

Blessed with victory, thanks to God’s help this rescued land is now free. Free because the North was given an ultimatum; war or secession but the South was keeping it’s Slaves.

“Then conquer we must, when our cause is just.”

Challenge accepted.

And won.

Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty…

Free men shall stand.

And that flag in triumph shall wave.

Over the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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Pedophilia Not Just A Catholic Issue

What happened to the journalistic rule of reporting the news without bias?  Simply writing a quality article containing the facts without slant or the journalist’s personal opinions being reflected?
Today, it seems that sometimes the public forum of the media has forgotten what it is supposed to be doing.  Instead there are news channels that have what appears to be obvious political agendas.  The personal editorial comment, once taboo for a reporter, has become status quo.  Everyone has an opinion, there are experts on everything and somewhere along the way the facts and the fallout seem to be an afterthought.
Of more concern, the media has become honed into a weapon. 
Celebrities engaged in bitter divorces use the tabloids to air their grievances and win support. 
Politicians use the airwaves to sling mud at their opponents, regardless of the truth or the morality of the issue. 
Reporters, instead of printing the facts the way it was taught in school, rush to print sensation and splash.  The “who, what, when, where and why” of something is secondary to the emotion that can be evoked.  That innocent people may become targets or victims of the scorn and rage that follow…well those are acceptable casualties.
The power of the media is immense.  Printing a story about any organization could easily lead to a swing in public opinion.  Enough bad press, for whatever reason, and the readers come to an impression of being “in the know” and informed.  Even if it isn’t the whole story.
Take the Sex Scandal in the Catholic Church.
Headline after headline proclaims the horrible crimes committed by priests.  The cover-ups by The Vatican are shouted from the rooftops.  Everywhere one looks, one is faced with the pedophilia committed by members of the Roman Catholic Church, emphasis on “Roman Catholic”.  When one thinks of a child molester, one immediately thinks “Catholic”. 
Why is that?
 There are dozens of other sex scandals in other religions but they barely get mentioned in the news. The only religion that is getting front page headlines seems to be  Catholic. There is a current headline concerning an Italian expose on Gay priests and their questionable behavior.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100723/lf_afp/italyreligiongaysmedia
Reading the comments after the article, posted by the general public one sees there a HUGE anti Catholic sentiment.  People are blurring the line between a person’s faith and the sinful and wrong actions of a few members of that faith.  One poster commented: “Boycott all Catholic Businesses…”
What?
Why?
What did the Catholic man who owns or runs the local grocery store do to deserve to lose his livelihood?
If one follows that advice then boycott all businesses owned by Baptists, too. “A woman alleges she was raped twice 13 years ago by a deacon of her church, Trinity Baptist in Concord, New Hampshire. Tina Anderson says the rapes resulted in her becoming pregnant when she was only 15.
The former deacon, Ernest Willis, has now been arrested on sexual assault charges.
Anderson also asserts that church officials, led by former pastor Chuck Phelps, covered up the crime.”(1)
Sound familiar?  But why wasn’t it splashed all over the front page of the newspapers?  Why weren’t there panels and experts called to discuss this crime on the TV news programs?
Also, Pastor Darrell Gilyard was arrested Jan. 14 for sending dirty text messages to underage girls. “Dogged for 20 years by dozens of allegations of extramarital sex with parishioners, Gilyard, 45, resigned Jan. 4 as pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church, a 7,000-member mega church in Jacksonville, Fla., that he has served for 15 years. It is the fifth church position that Gilyard has been forced to resign from over charges of sexual misconduct.” (2)
Then boycott all businesses owned by Episcopalians because in the 1960s an Episcopal Deacon, James Tucker, molested students at an Episcopal school in Austin, TX. (3)
The  Lutherans aren‘t exempt, either.
“On Thursday (2004), a jury awarded nine plaintiffs a whopping $37 million in a civil suit against the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America over sexual abuse committed by the now-imprisoned Gerald Patrick Thomas Jr., the former pastor of Marshall’s Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. The total church payout in settlements to Mr. Thomas’ victims is about $69 million.
This case has a depressingly familiar ring to it: Plaintiffs demonstrated that church officials knew that Mr. Thomas had a record of inappropriate behavior with boys and an interest in pornography, yet ordained him anyway.” (4)
These are but a few examples of terrible sexual predation in other organized religions, yet they have hardly been front page news.  
Based upon the how these stories are portrayed, the public in general then develops opinions about who and what Catholics are. Innocent parishioners, who love their faith and have never molested anyone are lumped in with the deviants.  “Pedophile”, “Catholic” one and the same. 
There isn’t an organized religion out there that is filled with perfect, sinless people.
There are a lot of very good, honest, God loving people in this faith who are horrified by what is going on within their Church. Yet public opinion, urged on by the way the media handles each article lays the sins of a few on the shoulders of all.
Was everyone who was a member of the PTL Club bad just because Jim Baker and his wife stole money from the church and committed adultery? They had an air conditioned dog house,(5) does that sinful, wasteful misuse of church money mean everyone in that church were horrible people? Jim cheated on his wife. Does it naturally follow that PTL members as a whole are greedy adulterers?
Anyone who abuses another person is wrong. Molesting children is it’s own type of evil. Pedophilia isn’t a teaching of the Catholic faith.  If one questions the majority of Catholics, one will find that the members abhor and are saddened by what is going on right now in their Church. When they go to church on Sunday and kneel down to worship God, lifting their hearts in praise and prayer they have NOTHING in common with the mentally disturbed sexual predators who happen to wear a Roman Collar.
What does mental illness and pedophilia have to do with the Catholic faithful? With their beliefs and their Sacraments?
Nothing.
Yet based upon the way the media portrays this issue, one would think that Catholics have the corner on perversion.
They don’t.
It is the power of the journalists and their writers who have created this idea and made Rome the byword for pedophilia and the butt of derision. 
The informed public all are very aware of the scandals within The Church.
What about the articles earlier referenced in this piece? 
If each of these terrible tragedies had been handled with equal gravity, the public outrage would then be focused upon the real issue; the fact that sexual predators and pedophiles are found in every walk of life. 
They are disturbed people who would hurt others no matter where they were or what they were doing. 
Prisons are filled with sexual deviants of all faiths and beliefs, some don’t believe in anything except themselves.  They are not classified as “Catholic” or “Baptist”.  They are called “Pedophiles”.
It is past time that the media develop some responsibility in their reporting practices. 
Fair and balanced portrayal of each and every event would result in the news being relayed while protecting the innocent people who are caught in the crossfire and have to live with the stigma that is propagated by biased, slanted reporting.

(1)  http://abcnews.go.com/Health/MindMoodNews/alleged-rape-victim-accuses-trinity-baptist-church-deacon/story?id=10806348

(2)   http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/crime/2009-12-11/story/law_disorder_former_pastor_admits_to_fathering_child

(3)  http://stopbaptistpredators.org/article07/retired_episcopal_priest_investigated.html

(4)  http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/13/us/abuse-by-clergy-is-not-just-a-catholic-problem.html?pagewanted=2

(5)  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tammy_Faye_Messner
 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Muslim Bridge to Nowhere

There is a huge, vocal and heated debate going on right now in the media over the proposed building of a Mosque near the site of the World Trade Center.

The decision to chose this spot, out of so many other, more suitable places to build a Center for Islamic Studies and a place for Muslim worship has divided and enraged the country.

Some argue that in building a Mosque at this sacred place, the Muslim community is making a loud, triumphant statement to the rest of the country. This would be a “trophy” site. A place where the followers of Islam can come to see the devastation wrought by their radical brethren.

Others defend the decision, saying that America is a free country and the Muslims have a perfect right to build their Mosque anywhere they please.

It is undoubtedly true that the people who are going to build this Mosque have the right to do so.

The issue here is not whether Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has the right. Rather the more important issue is why this Imam is so clearly set on going ahead with this project when the rest of the country has been so clearly against such a move?

According to the American Society for Muslim Advancement’s website, a society founded by the same Imam at the center of this firestorm:

Rauf “… has dedicated his life to building bridges between Muslims and the West and is a leader in the effort to build religious pluralism and integrate Islam into modern society.”

Considering this country is embroiled in a war against radical Muslims bent upon our destruction and judging by the outpouring of anger and frustration towards this proposed Mosque, it may be early to think that the U.S is ready for “integrate Islam into modern society”.

In spite of the fact that Rauf says he desires to build bridges between Muslims and the West, he is clearly showing a complete lack of regard for the feelings of the very people to whom he says he wants to reach.

His website goes on to glowingly portray Rauf as a seeker of peace saying;

“Imam Feisal is also the architect of the Cordoba Initiative, an inter-religious blueprint for improving relations between the Muslim world and West & America.”

Just how does Imam Feisal think to achieve this goal? By shoving his religion down the throats of the grieving citizens of this country who lost loved ones on Sept 11? By erecting a Mosque, the ultimate symbol of Islam and the Middle East, right next door to the ultimate symbol of Jihad?

If Feisal Rauf really was concerned about fostering good relations between the Muslim community and the people of this country, the first thing he would take into consideration would be the feelings of the people he wants to win. The old adage; “you catch more flies with honey” is particularly apropos in this situation.

Rauf says he wants to heal the anger, yet he refuses to consider that what he is doing is fueling that very fury.

Yes, he has the right to build that Mosque anywhere he chooses.

It is ironic that he is holding onto those rights and freedoms with a chokehold at the same time that a huge contingent of his own people want to kill us and destroy them.

Imam Sulayman S. Nyang , a Muslim scholar from Howard University is quoted as saying:
“The Koran is saying to humans, this is the final guidance from your Creator, for the specific purpose of worshipping him and creating a civil society where you can live in peace with one another,”

If this is true, then perhaps Imam Rauf might reconsider where he wishes to build his Mosque. As it stands now there will be no peace between the Muslim community and the rest of this country if he stubbornly continues to disregard the deafening outcry against this plan. This is just one more affront against the people of the U.S. by Muslims.

Rauf stands to gain a great deal if he would address the pain and anger his decision is causing and graciously move this Mosque to a different, less inflammatory location. It would be a tremendous gesture of goodwill and healing on Rauf’s part. It would back his words with actions that could be understood and appreciated.

It would be, in fact, a stepping stone in that bridge he wishes to build.

As it is, there is going to be a Mosque build just blocks away from Ground Zero. In order to go to the site of the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil, one will have to pass the worshipping and gathering place of the very faith that caused such destruction, death and pain.

Imam Rauf, on your current course, you are indeed building a bridge to nowhere.

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