1951 Law is a rule of conduct enacted by competent authority for the sake of the common good. The moral law presupposes the rational order, established among creatures for their good and to serve their final end, by the power, wisdom, and goodness of the Creator. All law finds its first and ultimate truth in the eternal law. Law is declared and established by reason as a participation in the providence of the living God, Creator and Redeemer of all. "Such an ordinance of reason is what one calls law."
- Alone among all animate beings, man can boast of having been counted worthy to receive a law from God: as an animal endowed with reason, capable of understanding and discernment, he is to govern his conduct by using his freedom and reason, in obedience to the One who has entrusted everything to him.
This has been a tough couple of years in the United States. The unrest and worry has been palpable. The frenzied media has made heroes by making stuff up out of whole cloth, but at the same time we have had to address racial tensions and misuse of authority. It has been a bumpy ride. The problem has not been helped by the element of violence against Police Officers carried out by people who claim it is in retribution for unlawful killing of Black men at the hands of Law Enforcement.
Recently a well-known athlete chose to demonstrate his solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement by not standing during the National Anthem before a televised football game. He did not violate employer policy as the NFL does not require its employees to stand during the National Anthem as a way of protecting possible religious beliefs (there are some sects of Christianity that do not take oaths or stand during the anthem or serve in the military). His demonstration had actually been going on for sometime but oddly enough the very day he was scheduled to return to active player status somehow his stance (or lack thereof) was leaked to the press.
The outrage has been immediate and almost comical. He has actually been 'accused' of converting to Islam, being un-American, called foul names, I mean it has been amazing. His jersey has been burned, Facebook Memes have flooded the internet...it just goes on and on and on.
This kid did not make any obscene gestures. He did not use foul language. He stated that he has the utmost respect for Law Enforcement and the Military. He did not grab an assault rifle, hide in a building and start shooting at police. He sat down.
I am often accused of being too lenient when it comes to people I love but this is not a similar case. I don't love this guy. I barely know him. For all I know he is converting to Islam. I don't really care other than I wish he would throw the football better and learn how to properly read a defense.
Here is what I care about: I care that we as a country not forget that the reason men and women serve in the military is to preserve a freedom not always honored in the rest of the world. That freedom is essentially a freedom of thought and expression. If I believe that the intentional abortion of an unborn child is immoral, the fact that it is legal is immaterial. I have the right to protest that law, to protest that action in a peaceful and non-violent manner. I do not have the right to burn down an abortion mill or bomb a Planned Parenthood office.
If this young man believes there are injustices being perpetrated against people of color in this country and those injustices are not being properly addressed by the powers that be OR by the country's own citizens then his is the right to take an action that would bring our attention to that issue. He does not have the right to walk up to one of the cops on duty at the football game and punch them in the face as an act of protest.
Look, do I agree with his stance? Kinda sorta. I know there are problems in this country that must be addressed if we are going to move forward. One of those problems is crime in our African American Community. Another of those problems is racial prejudice, religious bigotry and the true war on women which is the perpetration of the lie that abortion on demand is somehow liberating. We have a lot of problems - poverty, poor education, lack of opportunity and the fact that we have been in an almost constant state of war since our revolution of 1776. We have a lot of wounds to heal.
I also believe this country, this America, is still the best game in town. It is the fundamentals upon which we were founded that allow for a rich young athlete to stage a protest without being hauled off to a gulag somewhere to disappear. It is the rights upheld in our US Constitution that make it possible to change laws and, eventually, hearts and minds so that we no longer legally sell human beings. It is this country that stands against places that would shove people into ovens and it is the actual laws of this country that make it possible for me to attend Mass without being shot.
Do we have problems? Oh you bet we have problems. We are more concerned with what bathroom someone goes into than the fact that 12 year old girls are driven to Planned Parenthood by their 'boyfriends' for artificial birth control and abortions. We are more concerned with using correct language than we are about a crumbling infrastructure. We care more about football than God.
I am going to be unpopular with a lot of people because I support this young man's right to do what he did without agreeing with everything he states. People on both sides of this issue are going to be angry with me because I don't think he really gets it right AND I support his right to protest.
However, I know what I think and I know what I mean. I know what is important to me and I know why it is important. I care more about people and their rights than I do the egg of a California Condor.
I have to - I'm a Catholic.
I hope you can accept me but if not....well.....
You are in my prayers.
PS: please pray for the healing of Sister Pauline Quinn, OP. Sister Pauline established the program in prisons all over the world that unites inmates with shelter dogs. The dogs are trained in basic obedience with an eye towards having them develop into Service Dogs for the disabled. She has been diagnosed with cancer.
St Peregrine, pray for her.