Knee Jerk Reactions

I stopped wearing a Dodgers hat when the Dodgers left Brooklyn. William Penn refused to remove his hat before the English court, after being arrested for speaking to an “unlawful assembly.” The Government ordered that no religious group larger than five persons could gather (except for the Church of England). Wanting to avoid an unnecessary confrontation with the world’s authorities Penn (the eventual founder of Pennsylvania) chose to enter the court without a hat (against the custom of the day) thus eliminating the necessity of removing it as a gesture of deference to the government’s magistrate. God was this Quaker’s Magistrate and Master. The Bailiff insisted they enter with hats and placed the hat on Penn’s head, which he now refused to remove. Penn was sent to jail for this crime of fashion. William Penn wrote pamphlets that called the Roman Church a “whore” and the Puritans “hypocrites and revelers in God.” So much for political correctness. Making a person bow has always been a sticky wicket since Shadrach Meshach and Abednego refused to bow down before the King’s statue when the music was played in Babylon, Mordechai refused to bow before Hamman, and the first Christians refused to offer a pinch of incense upon Caesar’s altars. Conscience trumps trumpets. Whether someone insists we shout Hail Columbia, Hail Caesar, or Heil Hitler beware of the mob. Before the Roman Gladiators were to fight to the death for Rome’s amusement, the warriors would stand before the Emperor’s box seats and declare “We who are about to die, salute you.” The great controversy about sports figures “taking a knee,” is like an argument between two worms about saluting flags and honoring great and heroic worms. Twenty-two titans crashing into each other for one hour on Sunday in a kind of human demolition derby says volumes about a dying empire that has much too much time on its hands. My philosophy after coming home from Vietnam was “don’t die on the wrong battle field.” Dying on a football field is a foolish place to die, even if it is to prove a political point or who is more patriotic. Football is a strange and violent wreck creation. When it comes to “taking a knee” I recommend two. The church was most powerful when it was down in the arena on its knees, and not in the stands. -id