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Tag Archives: the National Anthem

Marching Band on the Run?

There aren’t that many positive news stories that come out of high schools today.  Encouraging news is suppressed, replaced by the outlandish to grab the attention of busy people going through life.  While young sports enthusiast often travel weekends to compete in athletic competitions, music lovers do the same if they are part of a marching band.  The leader of each band is known as a drum major, usually held by a senior.  These events are held on Friday and Saturday nights and occasionally on Saturday afternoon after football season.  Judging has evolved over time as music and presentation is now open to a creative frenzy with props, running and unusual formations.  This lowering the bar from merely sound quality has caused some choreographers to go off the deep end.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things, Philippians 4:8.

According to several news reports, a Mississippi High School Band Director took his band’s halftime show to a new low.  Last Saturday in Forest Hill, Mississippi high school band members were given several props.  These plastic rifles were used to promote social justice with students holding four boys dressed up as police officers hostage at gun point.  This might have been funny if part of some sort of Saturday Night Live skit, but after two Mississippi police officers were recently shot and killed, this display was unacceptable.  Forest Hill was playing Brookhaven, the hometown of these dead officers.  Immediately following this halftime show, social media was set ablaze, reacting to this insensitive dramatization.  As of earlier today, the band director was suspended without pay until the school investigates this matter leaving band members in limbo.

A wise man’s heart inclines him to the right, but a fool’s heart to the left, Ecclesiastes 10:2.

Does anyone think this punishment fits the crime?  Were school officials too harsh or not strict enough?  If you remember a couple months ago, a high school football coach was fired after kneeling and praying with his team after a game.  This act was deemed unforgivable, something that required an immediate dismissal.  Perhaps, if this man just waited until the National Anthem and then kneeled, that would have been okay, right?  However, the moment you add prayer to kneeling, that’s it.  According to public officials, this is the line that you can’t cross.  The double standards and hypocrisy that exists today in public education is undeniable.  If you take the right stance, liberal or progressive, you might have to go away for a while, but you can keep your job.  Anyone who supports the Bible, prayer or Trump, you will be shamed like a band on the run.  What do you think about this most recent event?

by Jay Mankus

 

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The National Anthem, 9/11 and Professional Sports

When I was in high school, the National Anthem had become passe.  Sure, the sporting events that I attended played an old version on a lame sound system, but it was tradition.  Unfortunately, this continued without much meaning, unless of course you were contending for a championship or title.  Like standing for the pledge of allegiance at the beginning of the school day, playing the National Anthem before a sporting event is what you did.

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets, Matthew 7:12.

On September 11th, 2001, I was just about to head into work when I received a delivery from UPS.  Without any introduction, this man proclaimed, “the twin towers are on fire.!”  Surprised, I replied, “what?”  As soon as he left,  I turned on the television, watching in awe.  Every week I traveled up to East Rutherford, New Jersey for work, greeted by these towers in the skyline each time I arrived.  A couple of weeks earlier I made a special delivery to the John Hancock building.  After these two buildings fell to the ground, the tradition of the National Anthem became more than just a song.  This one minute and thirty second song became a way to honor, remember and respect those who have died serving America.

Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor, 1 Peter 2:17.

One of the perks of my father’s job when I grew up in Delaware was that his company bought season tickets for the Philadelphia Flyers and Phillies.  When there weren’t any clients in town to entertain, the family was able to attend games a few times a month.  In 1987, my dad scored tickets to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.  To inspire the crowd, Lauren Hart sang God Bless America, the song Kate Smith made famous singing at sporting events.  Although the Flyers lost this game and the series 4 games to 3, I still get chills when I think about the Spectrum rocking at the end of this anthem.  When you put the National Anthem, 9/11 and professional sporting events together, you get a recipe for honor, patriotism and time to pay respect to the veterans of the USA.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Split Decision

In the context of boxing, split decisions occur when judges view a contest from opposing points of view.  Unlike unanimous decisions where there is a clear victor, contestants may sway judges by a great comeback or regaining control of a fight.  While modern technology and social media use round by round scorecards today, no one knows what the judges think until the final results are announced at the end of each bout.

 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand, Matthew 12:25.

Throughout the course of each day, arguments tend to result in split decisions depending upon your worldview.  These disagreements can create divisive debates that divide rather than unite.  After President Trump’s comments last Friday in Alabama about National Football players kneeling during the national anthem, professional athletes, owners and most of the media created a firestorm.  After these attacks went viral, citizens from the heartland, Nascar and veterans chimed in to support their president.  A week later, a split decision still exists, with convincing arguments on both sides.

 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges, Matthew 12:27.

During the first century, another controversy began to brew.  The Pharisees felt like Jesus was making a power play, introducing a new concept to Judaism.  This teaching was heresy in the eyes of religious leaders.  Jealous of Jesus’ ability to heal, a rumor spread about Jesus working behind the scenes with the Devil to fool everyone.  Using logic, Jesus began to poke holes in their theory, responding with the two passages above.  These words remind me of today’s current debate over standing or kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem.  In the end, if America doesn’t come to a point where people agree to disagree, the end will be in sight.  Therefore, the next time you attempt to play the role of judge and jury, take a step back and let God be the ultimate judge.

by Jay Mankus

 

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