Christian players annoyed by criticism for anthem protest

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Eric Reid and other Christian players who support Colin Kaepernick’s social justice motion want believers on the contrary area of the controversial anthem protest to ask themselves a straightforward but powerful dilemma: What would Jesus conduct?

Reid joined up with Kaepernick, his former San Francisco 49ers teammate, in kneeling for the “The Star-Spangled Banner” last year because he really wants to be a “voice for the voiceless,” a lesson derived from a Bible verse within Proverbs. The 25-year-old safety-turned-linebacker explained he has mentioned faith with Kaepernick, who is always unsigned.

“It’s the building blocks of why we started doing this,” Reid told The Associated Press about Oct. 29. “Most of us have a take pleasure in for people. The Bible tells us take pleasure in your brother as yourself hence that’s why we’re doing it.

“We need to speak up for individuals who can’t conduct it for themselves. My faith is usually ultimately what led me to begin protesting and it’s what remains to operate a vehicle me. Faith without functions is dead. Personally i think like the past calendar year before we began protesting, god, the father has prepped me because of this moment.”

Reid made the decision to kneel following a meeting with Kaepernick and ex – Green Beret and Seahawks long snapper Nate Boyer. Kaepernick initially sat for the anthem before his dialogue with Boyer. They chose to kneel because they experienced it’s a “respectful gesture.”

But the motion has drawn heavy criticism since it continues to envelop the NFL. President Donald Trump exacerbated the situation earlier this season when he suggested staff owners should fire any players who knelt through the anthem.

Kaepernick, who led San Francisco to consecutive NFC championship game titles and a single Super Bowl, filed a complaint that staff owners colluded against him due to the protests, which are targeted at raising awareness for law enforcement brutality against African-Us citizens and other issues.

Reid said he’s “baffled” that some persons misconstrue player demonstrations to be protests against the anthem itself, or perhaps the American flag, or perhaps the military or law enforcement.

He’s especially frustrated by Christians who lash out against the players.

“I do find some hypocrisy with the persons that phone themselves Christians,” Reid explained. “If you understand Jesus, he went into the home of God and turned over the tables and was angry and explained they made the house of God into a marketplace therefore i would say that is something that He’d do.”

However the issue has been so divisive that Christians can’t agree.

“This is simply not about black, white, brown, red or yellow; it’s about respect for the country and its own flag, which symbolizes we happen to be ‘one’ country under God,” explained Joseph Bruce Sofia, senior pastor at Gloucester County Community Church in Sewell, NJ. “The nationwide anthem speaks of oneness rather than division; it speaks of anticipation and unity, of poverty to prosperity, from the ghetto to the Presidency. The Biblical principle of sowing and reaping is usually in effect below. Sow discord and we’ll reap discord. Oppression is a horrible thing, and must be studied on head-on, but have it to the city hall or courts or public media but, in my opinion, using the nationwide anthem during a football game draws a brand in the wrong sand.”

Carl Lentz, the business lead pastor at NY City’s Hillsong Church, said many people, including Christians, are ignoring the true issues.

“What we see now in tradition is what’s easier? To make this about a flag, which it’s never been about, or even to in fact say, Colin, what’s your beef? What’s your enthusiasm? What’s going on?” Lentz explained. “Our country has a sad history of missing the tag, missing the moment, and deflecting issues. To judge he for putting his profession on the line for something he’s passionate about, I really do not appreciate. It’s sad.”

Baltimore Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson, a strong advocate for social reform, said he’s disappointed when Christians put “politics above the gospel, empathy and understanding.”

“We talk about what Jesus would conduct. Let’s think about that,” explained Watson, who offers been standing up for the anthem. “How should I Biblically look at this condition? Is definitely my response as an American going against what my response ought to be as a Christian? If I’m a Christian, I want to delight in the things that (Christ) delights in and those things happen to be blind. They’re not based on color, creed or tradition or money.

“Being kind is not predicated on you skill for me. Justice is not predicated on if I experienced injustice or not. We are able to advocate for people who’ve experiences that we don’t even have. Authentic justice is usually blind and righteous. Christians ought to be about expanding and advertising the gospel. If you listen or think about the subject material that players and persons are worried about, you could not as someone who reads scripture change a blind vision to it.”

Philadelphia Eagles security Malcolm Jenkins, one of the founders of The Players Coalition, said the Christian network could effectuate positive transformation if it wasn’t divided.

“As big as we are, simply because much influence as we have on coverage and politics, if the Church ever before got behind really being for equality and really being for justice, it would show up, it would come,” said Jenkins, who has been raising a fist through the anthem. “But frequently we don’t show the empathy, we do not take the time to listen and we’re just as segregated as the globe is at this time.”

Watson emphasized the value of both sides listening to each other.

“These guys love America. We’re not traitors, we just want this region to be better on some things,” Watson explained. “When we’re in a position to sit and communicate with one another, it allows us to understand. None folks are perfect.

Reid was one of three players who took a knee Sunday on Veterans Working day weekend.

“Our protest is against systemic oppression just like we definitely say,” Reid said. “I didn’t wish to stand today. I’ve a military background in my relatives. I’ve spoken to family members who don’t feel disrespected.”

(AP Pro Football Article writer Josh Dubow contributed.)

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