Colin Kaepernick has caused an uproar in not only the National Football League, but also in churches and campuses across the nation. Are the professing Christian congregations upset with Kaepernick because of their love for their country or because of the lack of love for his cause?
On Aug. 14, 2016, Kaepernick, who was then the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, first sat during the National Anthem of their third preseason game. Two days after his apparent protest, Kaepernick met with the media. He said, “I’m going to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me, this is something that must change. When there’s significant change and I feel that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”
Kaepernick, born to a white mother and a black father, was raised by two white parents who adopted him when he was very young. Kaepernick, a professing Christian, also stated, “My faith is the basis from where my game comes from.” Kaepernick is also decked out with multiple tattoos, including Bible verses and the Cross. Kaepernick , having his jersey burned, and being called “an embarrassment” and “a traitor.”
Kaepernick is not just taking a knee during football games. He has been very active in the community, donating two million dollars to fly food and water to Somalia, and pledging to donate one million dollars and all proceeds of his jersey sales from the 2016 season to charitable organizations.
Despite his good deeds, Christians remain upset with Kaepernick. Timothy Harmon, a sophomore at John Brown University, said “It’s definitely because of a lack of love for Kaepernick’s cause. The church, as a whole, seems to be more tied up in its nationalistic ideals then it does in empathizing with an oppressed people group even if it makes them uncomfortable.”
Robbie Castleman, a retired professor at JBU, said “Christians need to keep their kingdoms straight. The cross of Jesus is not red, white and blue. Christians have every right in this country to speak out on issues of justice, to vote as wisely as they can, and be politically active, but our hope must not be in any political party, victory, strategy or politician.”
In an article by Joanna Allhands, Michael Frost said, “In many parts of the world, it feels as though the church is separating into two versions, one that values personal piety, gentleness, and an emphasis on moral issues like abortion and homosexuality, and another that values social justice, community development, racial reconciliation, and political activism.”
“The line between religious beliefs and political views has become too blurred,” Frost said. The Christians who are going to church on Sunday, reading verses such as Matthew 7:12, or Mark 12:31, are the same ones who are watching Sunday Night Football, angry at one of God’s people for choosing to take a stand, or rather, a knee, for what he believes in.