In Reason We Trust – Oct, 2017
Everyone Should Respect Our National Anthem, But only so far as the lyrics reflect your world view
I take issue with the recent rambling and incoherent opinion piece “We should all respect our anthem” (Sept. 9). On the surface the article was laughable but read a little deeper and you find the disturbing values expressed are exactly what is wrong with America. A comment in the Portland Press Herald exposes the article’s disturbing values very well, “Despite references to the importance of ‘personal freedom’, unless actions meet a certain narrow prescription, they are demonized as inadequate and the basis of many ills”.
One of those disturbing opinions is the national anthem expresses who we are as Americans and shows our sacred respect for all who gave their lives on our battlefields to defend a democratic society. The Star-Spangled Banner, written by Francis Scott Key during the war of 1812, referred to America as the “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave”. Those are lofty sentiments but the reality is that during the war of 1812 American Black slaves were doing all they could to be captured by the British. The slaves knew they were more likely to be treated fairly by the British than they were by Americans. Apparently Americans forgot to respect all the Black soldiers who gave their lives on our Revolutionary War battlefields to create a democratic society in the first place.
Those who protested making the Star Spangled Banner our national anthem in 1931 did so because they objected to calling America the “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave” and had long referred to America as “Land of the Free and Home of the Oppressed”. They also protested because they opposed the values of its author who said Africans are “a distinct and inferior race of people, which all experience proves to be the greatest evil that afflicts a community”.
Today many sports figures protest during the singing of the anthem to remind us that honoring Francis Scott Key is still un-American and that America has not yet lived up to the values expressed in either the Constitution or the anthem. For over 200 years the anthem has claimed to express who we are as Americans but Americans still deny minorities their full citizenship. This last is clearly expressed by a president who openly supported racists at the white supremacists rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Anyone can see that the national anthem does not truly expresses who we really are as Americans.
The article also admonished us to honor the Pledge of Allegiance “with liberty and justice for all”. I agree, just so long as ALL means everyone. Liberty and justice for all means any woman who wants an abortion should be able to get one and any same-sex couple who want to get married should be able to do so without restrictive laws and social stigma.
The author claimed that prayer will end bigotry, hate, violence and racism and quoted President Lincoln to support that position. Lincoln also said that “Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other” and “God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time”. The South prayed to the same god the North prayed to but asked to continue a system of slavery based on bigotry, hate, violence and racism.
The article went on to say that we need to pray for our government to heal some of our flaws and injustices by creating a fair and affordable health care plan, more and better-paying jobs for all our citizens, laws that protect all our people equally and “respect for life in all its stages”. This last is a thinly veiled anti-abortion statement.
The four goals outlined above are attainable but there is the rub, how do we attain them? Many will pray that our government attain the above goals by repealing Obamacare, building “the wall”, deporting DACA children, ending same-sex marriages and reversing Roe v Wade. Many others, who pray to the same God, will pray for universal healthcare, giving amnesty to DACA children who know no other country, strengthening same-sex marriage laws and making a woman’s ability to choose a constitutional right.
So tell me, given that “God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time” and that people on both sides pray to the same god but ask for very different outcomes, how is prayer going to solve anything?