The effort by activists using the national anthem as a tool to express their resentment over allegations of social injustice in America has just hit a new low. A line has now been crossed demanding appropriate action be taken to disincentivize such activity in the future.
We have already suffered fallout by failing to punish Colin Kaepernick – the San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback who first took a knee, claiming he was fighting for social justice. This left the door open for others to follow. It paved the way for coaches and owners to join their players on bent knee, as team unity was more important to them than honoring our flag. Other teams opted simply to remain in the locker room for the anthem to play out before taking the field.
Again, inaction prompted others to similarly act. We saw those leading fans in singing the national anthem at sporting events take a knee while doing so. But the worst was yet to come.
Before addressing this most recent extreme means of disrespecting our flag, it must be said the evolution of disrespect has been frustrating to watch for those of us who believe otherwise. The pain cuts particularly deep when one considers the values Kaepernick holds near and dear to his heart – basically countering everything America stands for.
It is difficult to find anything Kaepernick values about America other than his own wealth. Occasionally donning a shirt bearing the likeness of Fidel Castro or socks mocking law enforcement personnel as pigs, Kaepernick certainly should not be held up as a defender of the freedoms – especially of speech – he has so caustically exercised. Nor should he be viewed as one cherishing stability in society since his campaign to undermine police authority clearly has a destabilizing influence.
It would seem Kaepernick spent little more time studying Castro than it takes for the national anthem to play. Had he studied history, he would know pre-Castro Cuba was a model of racial integration; post-Castro Cuba was not, despite Fidel’s assertions otherwise. What the dictator said and did concerning racial equality in his country were two different things.
So, in a nutshell, dozens of naïve NFLers have seized Kaepernick as their role model. This is despite the fact Kaepernick honors tyranny, communism and racism, purportedly in a supposed effort to move America toward greater social justice. It is difficult for students of Cuban history to grasp the Castro-to-social-justice connection and then watch NFLers choose a role model whose own role model selection represents the antithesis of social justice. Sadly, this absence of logical thought by NFL protesters suggests they have taken way too many hits on the gridiron.
Such protests, meanwhile, are poisoning a generation of naïve college students as a documentary filmmaker reveals in a clip taken at the University of Berkeley. Conducting a social experiment there, he alternately waved the American and then the ISIS flags on campus. Numerous students denigrated the former while supporting the latter.
But the most recent actions undertaken by a Muslim college basketball player during the national anthem has now raised the stakes to a level that must be challenged. While doubtful the player, Rasool Samir, was acting in a show of unity with the NFL protesters, it is clear he saw their disrespect of the flag as a vehicle for providing him the opportunity to denigrate the flag even further.
As players on the Garden City Community College team halted their warmup to stand silent for the anthem, Samir continued warming-up and throwing jump shots. His actions in doing so come into better focus when one considers his Islamic beliefs. He adhered to a teaching of his religion one is not to render reverence to any un-Islamic symbol, even if the non-Muslim culture demands it.
Although Samir later apologized, he subsequently was kicked off the team. The ACLU has now taken up the player’s cause and will undoubtedly claim he was simply exercising his freedom of religion.
The law is fairly clear now concerning the conditions under which religious practices are constitutional. Requirements are participation must be voluntary for students and there can be no involvement by school officials – i.e., the religious activity must be student-led.
It would appear, based on the above, a good argument might exist that Samir was simply exercising his freedom of religion. Hopefully, however, a court would see his behavior did not involve exercising a religious practice per se but, rather, egregiously rebuking a non-Islamic symbol by poking non-Muslims in the eye to underscore Islam’s superiority. In effect, Samir’s behavior was hate speech with his conduct making him a public nuisance as well. Such behavior deserves to be banned.
An earlier case testing a religious group’s beliefs being able to interfere with others engaging in an activity demanding dignified reverence involved the Westboro Baptist Church. The church’s ideology includes a belief homosexuality is a sin. When LGBT people were allowed into the military, church members began protesting at military funerals. They shouted inflammatory comments, thanking God for dead soldiers – which they claimed were a consequence of His vengeance for this military policy. Their comments constituted hate speech. The courts eventually ordered such protests at military funerals be conducted 500-feet away so as to maintain reverence for the solemn occasion.
Samir’s behavior during the playing of the national anthem achieved no positive religious purpose. It was done, as his religion allows, to disrespect a non-Islamic symbol. Disguised as a religious practice, his behavior was to serve as a poke-in-the-eye of all patriotic Americans in an effort to assert Islam’s alleged superiority. As such, his behavior fell into the same category as that of the Westboro Baptist Church. Samir’s behavior, like that exhibited by Westboro Baptist Church members, was purely and simply hate speech.
School authorities hopefully will take a stand against Samir in the event the ACLU decides to take legal action on his behalf. Failure to do so opens the door to a wide range of opportunities for Muslims to assert their perceived superiority of Islam over Western values. The end result will be to maximize Islamic culture at the expense of ours. Successfully doing so would put yet another feather in the cap of that religion’s proclaimed strategy of using our laws against us to further implementation of their laws here.