Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Prayer or Protest?

The photograph above (lifted from the Internet) shows three men in Philadelphia Eagles uniforms. Unless it's a doctored photo we can probably assume they are real professional football players at a stadium. Why they are on one knee isn't exactly clear.

So we can't say for sure what they are doing. Which means President Donald Trump can't tell if he should applaud or attack the trio with his next tweet. To cut to the chase: Are they praying or protesting?

Hard to say without more information. This morning it seems Fox News used it as a photo to document three Eagles players protesting during the playing of the National Anthem with the familiar take-a-knee gesture that so outrages Trump.

Then Fox News soon had to apologize, because it turns out the photo documented three Eagles players praying. Which means that what's in the minds of the kneeling men, in the moment, is what matters in the long run. Their intentions and perhaps the context.

Were those three Eagles players exercising their freedom of religion, or their freedom of speech?

That dilemma reminds me of the flag-burning issue that used to rile situational conservatives and prompted a drive to create a Constitutional amendment to ban flag-burning.

And it reminds me of a piece I first wrote on that issue in SLANT, back in the day: This link will take you to a shorter version of it, a 2006 rewrite I posted on SLANTblog entitled “The Third Man.” Note: Four days after this June 23, 2006, post the effort to pass the anti-flag-burning amendment in the U.S. Senate failed by one vote.

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