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Catholics kneel during the Eucharistic prayer at Mass. They do this as a sign of respect for the presence of Christ. Some NFL players are kneeling during the national anthem. Some say it is a sign of disrespect to the flag.

So what does kneeling mean?

Vince Hatt

Hatt

Symbols and symbolic gestures often are ambiguous. If a man goes into a bar and raises two fingers, is he ordering two beers, asking for a table for two or giving a peace sign to friends? The bartender has to ask him to find out.

Depending on circumstances, symbols can have opposite meaning. A man wearing a skullcap in a synagogue is seen as a sign of respect. A man wearing a cap in a Catholic Church is disrespectful.

Symbols are important. They are the way we externalize what is going on in our deepest self. In fact, humans can be defined as symbol-making beings.

For humans, water is a powerful symbol. If your home is flooded in Puerto Rico, it’s a symbol of death. If you are sweltering in a nursing home without air conditioning and are given a bottle of water, it’s a symbol of life. In the Christian ritual of baptism, it means both — death to sin and life in Christ. People who are unfamiliar with baptism need to have this explained to them. That is why symbols often are misinterpreted.

Symbols can have multiple meanings that are culturally determined. As more voices in a culture are heard, the meaning of a symbol can change. We are witnessing the change in the meaning of the Confederate flag. This is a painful process for many because symbols touch the soul.

Recently, my wife and I drove to St. Paul to hear the Rev. Bryan Massingale, a black priest, speak about “Redeeming the Soul of America: A Moral Vision for a Movement Against Racism.” Massingale is a theologian, social ethicist and author of “Racial Justice and the Catholic Church.” He said: “Racism is one of the central human rights challenges facing the country; it is the subtext of almost every social concern in our nation.”

In other words, racism is a big deal. Or in Christian categories, it is a serious sin.

Racism is so deep in the American psyche that electing a black president did not phase it. Now racism is being challenged by a much more powerful group: professional football. What stirs the soul of Wisconsin more — struggles in Congress or the struggles of the Green Bay Packers?

Football is uniquely American, dominates the intense passions of millions, involves billions of dollars and commands the scheduling of television. When black players kneel before or during the national anthem, billionaire owners — many of whom who gave millions to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign — kneel with them. Such power.

What does kneeling mean?

Here is the conclusion of reporter Father Thomas Reese in the National Catholic Reporter: “In the case of the NFL, those kneeling should be allowed to explain their symbolic action. If they say it is a protest against racial injustice and not an attack on the flag, their interpretation should be respected. They are the authors of their action and have the unique right and obligation to explain it. Challenging their interpretation of their actions is arrogant and demeaning. To tell them they cannot express and explain their views is to cut off their freedom of expression.”

However, the ultimate test of this symbolic act is whether it will be accepted by the larger American community. When the Dallas Cowboys knelt before the national anthem on Monday Night Football, many fans booed. But they booed Muhammad Ali at first when he nonviolently protested the draft. By the end of his life, he was a national hero.

Sports stars have enormous power in the United States. Will the symbolic action of NFL players eventually be accepted as Muhammad Ali’s was? Stay tuned.

And you might want to sit down. This will take a while.

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(77) comments

oldhomey

Buggs, I want you to read the post you made below, and then I want you to consider the outrageous things you have said about your country on these posts. The CIA killed JFK, RFK, MLK, were behind 9-11, faked the slaughter of second graders, are behind the Boston Marathon bombings, the CDC is purposefully killing children and infants with vaccines, the Justice Department is covering up a Hillary Clinton-led pedophile ring run from the basement of a DC pizzeria? That's just some of what you have been handing out here. And you have the temerity to post:

Buggs Raplin Oct 1, 2017 2:01pm

There are something's that are wrong-kneeling during the anthem-but your liberal politics will not acknowledge it. And that says everything about your character.

Buggs Raplin

The evidence supports all the conclusions I have made regarding the events you listed, save for Newtown where you are in error on my position on that tragedy. I doubt very much the official version, but I've never said the CIA was involved. I don't have any evidence for that so naturally I would make no such conclusion. I do know that on the day false flags occur, the black ops people schedule a training similar to the false flag event. This occurred on 9/11 and the 7/7 London bombings. On the same day as the Newtown tragedy, there was a FEMA training about 20 minutes away dealing with disasters to children. Just a coincidence, POO?

oldhomey

So there we have it. Buggs waves the flag and wraps himself up in it over the incidence of a few black athletes making a protest during the singing of the national anthem. But his real interest and most of his intellectual effort is tied up with insinuating that the U.S. government is entirely corrupted and bent on destroying the Constitution that it is sworn to uphold and protect, and has, in fact murdered thousands upon thousands of loyal citizens both in mass killings and in carefully plotted political assassinations. If the government had actually carried out even five percent of the murderous conspiracies that you subscribe to, why in God's name would anybody pledge allegiance to such a flag and to such a corrupt enterprise? If you claim to be a brave, lone, patriotic voice in the wilderness because of your so-called "truth-telling", you should be putting Colin Kaepernick on a pedestal. I have no reason to believe anything you claim, anymore, such as your statement: "On the same day as the Newtown tragedy, there was a FEMA training about 20 minutes away dealing with disasters to children." I doubt that it happened, but if it did, you could say it was a very sad irony as well as being a coincidence. But it certainly wouldn't prove what you darkly portend that it does.

Buggs Raplin

In your analysis, you left out my hiding in the weeds to escape your intellect., such as it is.

oldhomey

That is your judgment, Buggs, wildly off center, like most things you declare on these posts. Your judgment of yourself is rather worthless when it is the rest of the world weighing your words.

oldhomey

My intellect, such as it is, is not particularly awe-inspiring, Buggs, but limited as it is, it sniffed you out right away as a bad batch of wormy fruitcake. What my analysis left out here is that you and your talk of false flags collides rather violently with your self-righteous hand-wringing over Colin Kaepernick's kneeling as an insult to the flag. How you think you are at all credible in wrapping yourself in Old Glory while expending most of your time krapping out toxically false attacks on our institutions is akin to smugly wiping your behind with the national banner. Your protestations are not exactly convincing. And yes, now that you bring it up, you are hiding in the weeds on this.

Buggs Raplin

The false flags conclusions are based on the evidence. Most Americans, including myself, believe one should stand when the anthem is played. There is no violent collision between the two. POO, you are failing miserably in your comments. I'm starting to feel sorry for you.

oldhomey

Thanks, Buggs. It is SO comforting to get a little sympathy from you.

Cassandra

So what was the purpose of all these government attacks on its citizens? It certainly doesn't seem to be very effective!

MelloRedBuggVet2Lax

You are trying to reason with a cinder block: inflexible and nothing in the center.

Buggs Raplin

Your comment fits POO.

Climatehoax

The hypocrite liberals

Media liberal bias: Tim Tebow was criticized for expressing his beliefs on the football field.
Kapernick and the other ingrates are praised for expressing their beliefs on the football field

Democrats won't fund a wall to keep out illegals.
DemoRats want me to support sanctuary cities so illegals can kill innocent citizens

Liberals hate and won't eat at chik fillet because the CEO believes in traditional marriage
When will liberals stop buying gas because Saudi Arabia believes homosexuals should be killed

Thousands of blacks were rescued by 'rednecks' after the Texas hurricane. Not one was rescued by BLM or ANTIFA

oldhomey

"Some conservatives who wear their faith on their sleeve think any criticism of Tebow reflects an anti-Christian bias. They think it is anti-religious bigotry, fomented by atheist haters. It fits with the new narrative of religious persecution that some are willing to peddle.

"If that’s the case, then the NFL wouldn’t be very popular, because there are so many players who are deeply religious and let everyone know about it. The Seattle Seahawks aren’t cutting Russell Wilson, the quarterback who cited divine intervention as the reason why his team slipped past the Green Bay Packers and into the Super Bowl. Instead, they [threw] more money at him.

"Over and over again, players “thank the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior” before answering a single interview question. Players are always kneeling in prayer, before, during and after games, often in large groups. So it can’t be an anti-Christian bias.

"The NFL is clearly a professional league dominated by Christians. If Tebow [struggled] it [wasn’t] because he[he 'Tebowed' or bowed] down in prayer. It [was] because he [completed] less than half of his passes."

Democrats don't want to fund a $50 billion white elephant wall that would not stop border porosity, and sanctuary cities don't protect killers and criminals anymore than any other place in the nation. When will the U.S. government stand up to the Saudi government that has allowed the funding of much if not most of the radical Islamist terrorism experienced in the last two decades? If I knew my gas was coming from there, I would pay more to buy it from another source if I could. Thousands of "rednecks" were rescued after the Texas hurricane by black and Hispanic rescue workers and first responders. No one was rescued by the KKK or Nazis.

awol2009

new2, anyone else that wants to quote the "NFL" rules, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah, your arguments are petty and pathetic. The 1st Amendment overrides that stupid comparison. What do you propose? Legislating "patriotism"? Yeah, that worked out well in 1930's-40's Germany, then the Iron Curtain countries after that, then North Korea,Red China and Communist Russia as well.

new2Lax

The NFL rules are plaining written describing proper protocol regarding the manner in which a player conducts himself during the playing of the national anthem. Failing to adhere to the rules should be dealt with or change the rules. End of story.

johnnybragatti

Pretty obvious ,for ANY ,free thinking,intelligent and even remotely educated American, our country,
is giving the Trump and crime family and "cohors", the absolute lowest approval(at any level), in The United States of American history.
A very great man once said : "You don"t need a weatherman, to know which way the blows" !
Same gig with the Trump.

awol2009

Colin Kapernick kneeled last year during pre-season opening ceremonies to symbolically make a statement about social injustice. Our current military members, retired veterans, deceased veterans don't/didn't serve, die, or risk injury to keep racism alive and well in our country. Kapernick has been quoted many times to say he loves our flag, our country, our armed forces members, both past and present. I don't doubt his patriotism or sincerity. He donated a million bucks to charitable, humanitarian causes and kneeled during our anthem. Tom Price robbed taxpayers of a wasted million buck$ (and counting), and stood. Who's the real patriot? tRump stirred the $hit-pot when he referred to Kapernick as an S. O. B. and said NFL owners should fire players that won't stand during our anthem. That's pretty laughable coming from a deadbeat businessman, sexually perverted, draft dodging, tax evading $. O. B. that's occupying our White House. The Dictator in Chief (D I C) should take a look in the mirror before he questions or judges a symbolic stance (or kneel, if you will) of a generous, patriotic NFL player.

MelloRedBuggVet2Lax

Let's not forget those who loved it when Rush used to slam Obama for using too much "symbols over substance?" Social injustice is substance. Flags and anthems are symbols.

Snow Cougar Mary Burke

First they came for the statues. Then they came for the monuments. Now they come for the flags. Next in line - our Constitution, and the final subjugation of our people with the complete elimination of any picture, person, song, story, tradition, law, tool and invention - ANYTHING that is reminiscent of "white".

It is an effort to tear down the system so they can replace it with socialism. They see the heritage of the west being straight, white and male. So you make being those three things evil. That really is the endgame of the left and it’s clear they know it. Anyone can be found guilty of a thought crime, and they are using it to tear down the heritage and mythology around the country. Once that is done there is a vacuum and they can replace it with their own magic utopian tonic that will make everything right and just. If you disagree and fight back you will branded with the scarlet letter of whatever "ism" or "phobe" is in vogue.

To destroy a people you must first destroy their history. Leftists seek to delegitimize all institutions. They will say nobody from the past should be admired or held of more importance than anyone alive today because of “equality”. They will remove all portraits, all flags, they will stop national anthems and prevent any anthems from ever forming because to them, it encourages supremacy. Their goal is to get this country to mean nothing, to stand for nothing, to strip its power and beliefs and culture to where nobody will think for themselves anymore, or are allowed to speak against anything. A heard of sheep living in a gray world. And the system they will use to run the country will be an abomination full of hypocrisy. We will wear the same clothes, eat the same food, learn from the same books and watch the same media practice the same religion and 90% of all of it will be brainwashing propaganda for the young ones to carry on the new tradition until nobody knows any different. We would be the last to know what America was like before this change.

Mark my words, they will go after the Constitution because it was crafted by slave owning white men - therefore it’s racist and all laws are racist laws. This will happen and the Republic will be in jeopardy.

Leftism only thrives and survives via deception or force. With their deception crashing (Fake News, Russia Russia Russia), and force not likely to succeed (ANTIFA), they are panicking with good reason. That reason is President Donald Trump and the America loving patriots that support him. EVERYTHING they ever dreamed or hoped for was in their grasp if Hillary had won, but by the grace of GOD, America dodged that bullet, leaving the progressives wondering in the wilderness over the next 30 years.

Buggs Raplin

MY God. Brilliant. The best you've ever done. Thank you.-Chip DeNure aka Buggs Raplin

oldhomey

No, Buggs, Snow is not brilliant. She is simply and falsely adapting something written brilliantly by a protestant minister in Germany who was opposed to Nazis:

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum quotes the following text as one of the many poetic versions of the speech:[2]

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

If you want to compare the bill of particulars these days, it is the extreme right wingers of this nation who are trying to belittle and silence various parts of our society one by one. It is the extreme right wing that invented and wholesales fake news through the alt right, trying to rewrite history both as it was and as it is being made. It is the extreme right wing of our society that is trying to impose its will on all of us, vis a vis abortion, LBGT, tax-funded religious training, imposition of de facto state religion and on and on and on. How long will it be before you, Snow, and other right wingers begin to tell us that God ordained slavery as a divine right established by and enshrined by slave owning framers of the United States Constitution? Does that sound ridiculous? Well, does it sound any more or less ridiculous than Snow's breathless, John Birch-society inspired speculations here about the future of the country?

Buggs Raplin

Thanks again, Snow. Great job.

oldhomey

Thanks for taking my comment head on and showing its failures, Buggs. Since you didn't, your thanking Snow for a great job is a rather empty gesture, isn't it? But then it was the two of you who bought into the Russian intelligence propaganda machine called Guccifer 2.0 in the 2016 campaign season, so I guess we know both of you are a bit lax when it comes to exercising critical thinking skills. You make the perfect couple. Is that why you selected the X Files publicity photo to accompany your posts?

Redwall

Golfing legend Gary Player was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal this week. Player, a South African you may recall visited Nelson Mandella in prison and kissed Mandella's feet, and lobbied for the first black man, Lee Elder, to play in the South African PGA.

Player said he is baffled by the antipathy toward Trump: "You have a man who is duly elected president of the United States and I hear a man on tv saying we will never recognize him as president. I cant comprehend it" Player said. "The lack of respect."

In regard to the demonstrations during the national anthem Player said "I hear from people all the time who cant believe what they see on television. They cannot believe Americans are condemning their own country. Anyone who lives in this country should kiss the ground every day"

oldhomey

Gary Player seems to be confused about the difference in condemning ones country and protesting against the policies of their country and the people implementing those policies. He is to be forgiven. He is a very old man who did not benefit from growing up in a free and vibrant democratic system. Please send that message on to him from me, Redwall.

Buggs Raplin

Seems to me the football protests are over. Thank you President Trump.

Buggs Raplin

Correction: Mostly over. Still some idiots taking the knee.

taxedout

Stand to respect our vets and kneel to honor our God! This piece is a typical liberal smear to muddy the lines of respect to fit a political agenda. Why didn't these football players kneel when Obama was president and would they be doing it if Hilliary was elected? No, they wouldn't. The flag honors the vets. The kneeling antics is a show of disrespect for our brave police officers and nothing more!

"Racism is so deep in the American psyche that electing a black president did not phase it."Really? What did our black president do in his 8 years to help the people of color? Nothing! He planted a seed of hate and divisiveness. Why weren't we having this conversation when he was president? Because of fear and correctness!

MelloRedBuggVet2Lax

The flag honors lots of things, not just vets. It honors the freedom they fought for, the freedom YOU are trying to take away with your warped personal view of things. YOU are the problem, not those who kneel.

Buggs Raplin

Excellent comment; thank you

oldhomey

Not an excellent comment, Buggs. You're batting zero in your comment ratings so far today. Obama planted no racist seeds. Racists reacting to a black man becoming our president, and the best president we have had in decades, planted the seeds and have been nurturing them for eight years, and now we have a president watering and fertilizing those seeds. It is a disturbing time that we live in.

Buggs Raplin

Yeah, blacks did so well under a black president. Talk about delusional. Your 'handlers' at the CIA must be tearing their hair out reading your stuff.

Climatehoax

Only racists make the flag respect issue a racial issue. Liberals

Climatehoax

Stand up, place your hand on your heart and face the flag
It's been that way, protest somewhere else. Kneeling is a powerful symbol, in church, not during the national anthem

oldhomey

Well, I guess we should all bow and scrape in front of royalty when we are in its presence, as that had been that way throughout human history until 1776, Climate, and we should not presume to challenge orthodox political symbolism.

Buggs Raplin

You are full of CIA bullsh*t; you are a soooo out of touch with the American people; you're just a paid political troll out to stamp out truth wherever it appears. That's you POO; that's you.

oldhomey

I am SO upset that Buggs has come back at me and crushed my comment of 9:40 pm with withering facts and reason! How will I ever be able to post on here again with any credibility?

Buggs Raplin

You lost cred a long, long, time ago.

oldhomey

I am truly upset with myself for giving Buggs an opening with my 7:53pm comment and he came back and crushed me further with even more withering facts and reason. You have truly cemented your own credibility with your 6:33am comment. I am SUCH a fool to have given you more rope.

kingman10

always good to hear from our died in the wool local racists, the hoaxer! You can count on him to put those minorities in their proper place. So what about taking off your hat hoaxer? you didn't mention doing that. What about singing during the anthem Hoaxer, you didn't mention that. Or are you trying to protest something? Racist don't like protests no matter where or how they are done by minorities, only the white supremacists and Nazis get a pass on marching and protesting.

Climatehoax

Calling me a racist means you have no rebuttal, as usual, hypocrite.

Buggs Raplin

Here we go again, poor pathetic kingman..so typical of the liberal mind..accuse your opponents of racism, when you can't defeat them in an argument; I propose a new name: kingmanbullsh*t

oldhomey

Watch out, kingman! Buggs is on a rampage here, taking no prisoners in his imagination! He hasn't a thing to say, so he makes well-reasoned, fact-backed fulminations about you BSing. Just duck and try to survive this awful storm. I have been through the eye of his hurricane-force eruptions several times. They pack the wallop of a Hey19 arse-whipping, both of which are fraught with the perils of having a bad case of the giggles.

Hey19

re: climatehoax and buggs posts
how true gentlemen - "pathetic" kingman is a one trick pony. he's posted here six times, and has used the word racist in four of them... of course, he'll no doubt come back at me with a stellar post to call me out; i can hardly wait to read his gibberish. he'll probably call me a racist. lol...

oldhomey

Oh my, kingman, now you are being tag-teamed by the powerful duo themselves, Buggs and Hey19. And like pro wrestling -- the favored sport of our president, by the way -- the matches are all scripted, little fictions that Buggs and Hey19 write out for themselves, pretending they are the winners, because it is all that they can win at. So be prepared for this monumental struggle. Sit down with some popcorn and a beer and be amused.

mocha1

Want to know why Americans are confused about this issue, read this article again and I bet you will be more confused. There is a right and wrong, a proper thing to do and an improper thing to do. This guy does not understand either.

kingman10

well mocha1, why don't you inform us on proper etiquette on what is right and wrong in this great big world. Since you have crowned yourself the know it all decider on what is proper I am sitting at the edge of my seat waiting for your response. Oh I bet it will be a good one!!

Buggs Raplin

There are something's that are wrong-kneeling during the anthem-but your liberal politics will not acknowledge it. And that says everything about your character.

MelloRedBuggVet2Lax

Translation" Too many big words for mocha.

Redwall

My reaction also. The article is intellectual "mush" one would expect from a self professed Catholic leader. You can hear it from the pulpit in most Catholic Churches all day long.

hrpufnstuf

Snowjob just added so much to the conversation again.

Cassandra

Kneeling is such a powerful symbol that the racists are absolutely bonkers about being called out for their hate.

Snow Cougar Mary Burke

Bill Clinton was standing while Monica Lewinsky was on her knees....

Does that make Monica Lewinsky a powerful symbol of Bill Clinton being a rapist?

MelloRedBuggVet2Lax

Med, meds, take your meds.

Cassandra

Were you there, Cougar?

Cassandra

I only ask because you seem to have intimate knowledge of what went down. There are, after all, many ways to give a bl0w job, as I'm sure you know.

kingman10

that's why racists never seen a protest they didn't like, and never will. I see snow job is back showing ignorance at a whole new level.

Climatehoax

Black lives matter and the KKK were started by Democrats. They both use race to divide people. They use hate to injure the other side. Hateful liberal Democrats will never allow our country to heal its division.

Cassandra

There was a time, Hoaxer, that republicans actually stood against slavery and oppression. That all changed with the "southern strategy" that was meant to appeal to racists. The strategy came about because Democrats wised up and changed their tune, rejecting their racist ways of the past. Times change, but people like you stick around, looking for ways to express your racism and hatred for others and refusing to evolve. How sad.

Buggs Raplin

Vince says wearing a hat in church is disrespectful, yet the person wearing the hat has the right to do so. Same thing with kneeling before the anthem. The player has the right to do it, but most people see it as disrespectful. Trump is the big winner on this issue. Just watch tomorrow's games. There won't be many players taking a knee, and if they do, they'll be greeted by mostly boos.

kingman10

again you just don't get it. Its not about winners and losers, and its not about Trump either, but he and you sure like to make it out to be.

Buggs Raplin

No, the whole thing was to go after Trump after his statement on the kneeling. But it failed. Most Americans are with Trump. The arms locked together thing is just a face-saving gesture the NFL hopes will appease angry fans. I hope those fans will boo anyone taking the knee during the anthem.

oldhomey

It used to be a sign of respect for a man when escorting a female in public to walk on the street side of the sidewalk, Buggs. I think it had to do with protecting the damsels from runaway horses, but it was still received wisdom and expected behavior in the 1950s and later. Does anybody notice anymore?

Buggs Raplin

You're comparing apples and onions. Good lord, man, your comments are getting bizarre.

oldhomey

My gosh, Buggs! You're right! Apples are fruits, and onions are vegetables! One grows on trees, the other grows as an underground bulb. I never could keep them straight.

MelloRedBuggVet2Lax

Great article...too deep for the "regulars" to chime in with simple AM radio logic about all those who died, etc. Blah, blah, etc.

kingman10

true that mello. The shallow want to make it about the flag while endorsing racism, bigotry, and hate claiming that minorities have no cause, no claim to equality.

random annoying bozo

it seems that this 'story' has digressed into the shallow wanting to make it about President Trump. everything else this protest may have been about has been shoved aside.

oldhomey

If this is your deep reading of the issue, bozo, I would be careful about how you assign the word "shallow" on others.

duster

Thought provoking analysis. Our country has such a long way to go; we need to listen to others and understand the lives many people live. Thank you Vince Hatt.

kingman10

"They are the authors of their action and have the unique right and obligation to explain it. Challenging their interpretation of their actions is arrogant and demeaning. To tell them they cannot express and explain their views is to cut off their freedom of expression.” I think that about says it all. Some won't be satisfied until they see a professional athlete march onto the field dressed in pointy hats carrying a burning cross during the national anthem. Too many would be willing to join them, including the racists on this forum.

Climatehoax

So when you state your opinion it's free speech, when I state mine it's hate and racism. how do you spell hypocrite? KINGMAN 10

oldhomey

Stating your opinion as an exercise of free speech has nothing to do with the content of your opinion, Climate. If your opinion is hateful and racist, you have stated it freely, and we are free to judge you by your opinion.

Buggs Raplin

To the liberal mind, racism and hate are our biggest problems. That's the liberal mind for you.

oldhomey

I would say the bigger problem these days is telling the truth and falsehoods, Buggs.

Climatehoax

Your kind, the DemoRats, started the KKK and BLM, both groups use the color of ones skin to divide and promote hate

oldhomey

I would say Climate's 9:41pm post validates my 8:03pm post as an example of big problems with spreading falsehoods these days. But we expect such behavior from somebody who uses Climatehoax as a screen name.

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