5 Pastors' Responses to the NFL Protests

5 Pastors' Responses to the NFL Protests
Many NFL players have been "taking a knee" during the National Anthem before football games. Most players say they are kneeling in solidarity with those who face injustice, racism, and discrimination, or are kneeling in acknowledgment of the divisions that exists within the country and in hopes that they can be breached. While many players are on board with these protests, several have come out against them. And the controversy has extended well beyond players, coaches, and fans. Even President Trump recently weighed in. Trump, like many Americans, called the protests unpatriotic and disrespectful to America. In the wake of this controversy, Christian pastors have also responded. Some have encouraged the act of kneeling during the National Anthem, while others have harshly criticized it. Here are five of their comments to hopefully give you a well-rounded understanding of the different perspectives on this issue so you can prayerfully make up your own mind.

Photo: Members of the Dallas Cowboys link arms and kneel before the National Anthem at the start of the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 25, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.

Photo courtesy: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

  • 1. Carl Lentz

    1. Carl Lentz

    "I'm excited on a larger scale, that things like this will bring more unity, not hate. That's my prayer! And I'm sticking to it..."


    Photo courtesy: Twitter/Carl Lentz

  • 2. Robert Jeffress

    2. Robert Jeffress

    "These players ought to be thanking God that they live in a country where they're not only free to earn millions of dollars every year, but they're also free from the worry of being shot in the head for taking the knee like they would be in North Korea," the pastor said to Fox & Friends host Ainsley Earhardt. "And I think tens of millions of Americans agree with President Trump when he says they ought to be called out for this."

    There is "a better way to protest social injustice without disrespecting our country," Jeffress added. 


    Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

  • 3. Dr. Jim Denison

    3. Dr. Jim Denison

    Dr. Jim Denison gave three statements to consider:


    "One: Christians should respect authority.

    We are to 'be subject to the governing authorities' (Romans 13:1; cf. 1 Peter 2:13–14Titus 3:1). And we are to pray 'for kings and all who are in high positions' (1 Timothy 2:2).

    Two: We should work for righteousness.

    Solomon taught, 'To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice' (Proverbs 21:3). Racism is a sin denounced repeatedly in Scripture (cf. Galatians 3:28Romans 10:12James 2:9). Old Testament prophets consistently condemned the injustices of their day (cf. Amos 1–2).

    Three: We should use our influence for the greatest good.

    Acting in a way that is perceived to disrespect our flag seems to violate the first principle. But using our platform to call for justice seems consistent with the second principle. Is there a way to reconcile the two?"


    Photo courtesy: Denison Forum

  • 4. Franklin Graham

    4. Franklin Graham

    "There's a whole lot of talk going on about taking a knee during our national anthem. Yesterday even Stevie Wonder said he was taking not one knee, but two 'for America.' I can tell you how getting on our knees could make a real difference—not in protest or in pride, but in PRAYER. Praying for each other, praying for unity, and praying for this great nation and our leaders. 'Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore' (Psalm 105:4)."


    Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

  • 5. Ed Stetzer

    5. Ed Stetzer

    "As a patriot, I defend the right of people to peacefully protest by simply taking a knee.

    So, before you disagree, NFL fans can do what they want. And the president can say what he wants.

    But before you cheer on his words while tearing down the words of others, keep in mind that speech is free even when it’s unpopular. And that, depending on the circumstances, unpopular speech is sometimes your speech and related to your job."


    Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

    Publication date: September 26, 2017