Following National Anthem Protests, the NFL is No Longer the Most Popular Sport in America | Tribunist

As the controversy surrounding the national anthem protests continues to divide football fans, the NFL now has a new challenge it must come to grips with: not being country’s favorite sport. A recent poll showed that the number of people who view the league positively has dropped significantly and that shift has allowed baseball to claim the top spot.

Source: Following National Anthem Protests, the NFL is No Longer the Most Popular Sport in America | Tribunist

I have avoided dwelling on the “taking a knee” protests at American football games, with the exception of this post on October the 1st, but I thought it would be worth mentioning that these protests are indeed having an effect – just not the one intended!

As reported by the Daily Mail, a Winston Group survey [shows] that the favorable ratings for the NFL have fallen from 57 percent at the end of August to 44 percent at the end of September, marking a 13 percent shift in just one month.

The unfavorable rating for the NFL is now the highest among all of the mainstream professional leagues, coming in at 40 percent. At the end of September, baseball’s favorable rating was 65 percent.

The survey also showed that the NFL’s core fans, typically considered to be men aged 34 to 54, have started to turn on the sport, with favorable ratings dropping from 73 to 42 [a drop of nearly 30%] and unfavorable ratings rising from 19 to 47 between August and September.

This turn may reflect a number of factors, ranging from a (well-founded) distrust of the premises of these protests, to a feeling that athletes being paid millions to play a game don’t have any standing to be complaining about discrimination, to the belief that professional sports were a place to get away from politics for a while, and now that refuge has been eliminated, to the point – underscored by the picture, above – that NFL players are protesting “on the clock,” while they’re supposed to be doing their jobs.

There is, in my opinion, justification for all of these; and I suspect that for most former National Football League fans (of whose ranks I was never a member, so I can hardly be said to be “boycotting” a sport I rarely watched anyway), there are elements of all of the above playing into the dynamic.

Whatever the source, however, the effect is clear: (former) NFL fans are “voting with their feet” – and their wallets. Some teams are beginning to realize that their actions have backfired, and are beginning to backpedal. It remains to be seen if others will follow suit… and even if they do, whether NFL fans will be quick to forgive or forget.

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What Does Sir Walter Scott Say About Love of Country?  | Crisis Magazine

There is part of a poem by Sir Walter Scott often titled “My Native Land.” Back when poetry was appreciated and even memorized, its first lines were well known. It went:

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,

Who never to himself hath said,

‘This is my own, my native land!’

Source: What Does Sir Walter Scott Say About Love of Country?  – Crisis Magazine

While written from a Roman Catholic perspective, one need certainly not be of the Roman observance to find much in this article by John Horvat II, blogging for Crisis magazine, to be of value. He notes, inter alia, that

Love of country is not imposed. It comes naturally as a projection of the love of parents and family. According to the Catholic Church’s teachings, love of country rests on the demands of nature and religion. Both require the proper behavior of children toward parents to whom they owe their existence.

Indeed it is true that love of country, like love for one’s own ethno-cultural heritage, is neither more nor less than love for family writ large. Horvat continues,

Similarly, both impose obligations on citizens toward their nation…

The most fundamental requirement is that the citizen exhibit reasonable esteem and love of country. Back when civics was taught in schools, people learned to display this appreciation by showing interest in the nation’s history and institutions, and respect for its symbols. People learned how to participate in civic activities such as the Pledge of Allegiance, the playing and singing of the national anthem, and the proper lowering and folding of the flag.

However, it continues, genuine patriotism “calls upon citizens to disregard their self-interest and sacrifice for the common good in times of disaster and war,” up to and including “that sacred duty to sacrifice one’s life for the nation so that others might freely live in peace.” In return, it “requires from the living that they remember and respect those who made that ultimate sacrifice.” But there is more:

“Patriotism’s second aspect is less structured. It involves a great sensitivity to a particular place inside the nation. Sir Walter Scott understood well how people normally come to develop natural preferences for the setting where they were born or raised. They savor its panorama, land, climate, or foods. Even rugged, bleak or inhospitable places can take on special meaning for people. They prefer their own nation in general and their own region in particular, even when other places are better endowed by God.

Thus, true patriotism grows out of, evokes, and requires attachment both to the people of a country, and to its land – what some have referred to as “blood and soil.” It is these things which make love of country tangible and personal, not merely theoretical and abstract. Without them, it is merely an intellectual allegiance, which can be changed, like one’s style of dress, if one has a change of heart, dislikes the current political leadership, or simply on a whim.

It is, as the old saying goes, “a mile wide (although it may actually be a good deal narrower) and an inch deep”:

“This intimate connection with one’s native land is weakened by a culture that belittles nations, regions, and their God-embedded treasures. Postmodern individuals are told to pursue their own happiness wherever and whenever it appears. In a globalized world, the perception of place is reduced to a mere portal from which one might access goods and services.”

“Ask not,” the secular corporate globalist exhorts the jaded postmodernist hipster – brought up since birth to the drumbeat of a twisted form of “multiculturalism” that refuses to respect cultures as distinct and unique to the historic and geographic context that shaped them, and valuable precisely because of that distinctiveness, but rather insists upon lumping them together in a mish-mash of supposed “diversity” that is really all about sameness, and thus dishonours the integrity of each of them – “ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what your country can do for you!” John F. Kennedy would not, I think, approve.

Horvat then applies his premise to a situation that is very much in the news today:

“The erosion of what undergirds patriotism is the tragedy of the present controversy over the national anthem. So many of the natural influences that foster a love of one’s native land—religion, community and family—are no longer strong. Few unifying rituals, like the national anthem, remain to bind individuals together as a people.”

I have long said – and indeed, have commented in this blog – that there are only so many common, binding factors that, like the structural pillars of a building, support and hold a society together.

Besides the obvious unified government and legal structure, these include common ethnicity (until 1965 and its changes in immigration law, people of non-European heritage never – even during the height of slavery – made up more than 10% of the population of the United States, and the real demographic changes did not kick in until the dawn of the 21st century), common language, common religious understanding (which need not mean a single Established Church, but does require a common basic adherence to, for instance, the Judeo-Christian moral and religious tradition), and respect for common institutions, history, and cultural traditions.

A society can survive without each and every one of these being strong, but like the aforementioned pillars, with every one that is weakened or kicked over, the stability and integrity of the overall structure is weakened, as well. And each and every one of these is under varying forms of attack in today’s America, and indeed throughout the Western world. This should be a matter of grave concern to anyone who believes that there is anything of value in Western civilization in general, or the United States of America in particular.

But perhaps the kneeling controversy in professional football – in which many NFL players have chosen to “take a knee” during the National Anthem, as referenced above – has had a positive and salutary effect in the larger cultural struggle, unlikely as that may seem: perhaps, just perhaps, it has given ordinary Americans, who have long been vaguely troubled at the direction our country seems to have taken in recent years and decades, something to sink their teeth into… a place to take a stand. As Horvat notes,

“That is what is so surprising about the healthy backlash against the football theatrics. Despite the weakening of patriotism everywhere, those reacting have taken its vestiges and rekindled in their hearts a fiery defense of the nation.

“They have taken as their focus patriotism’s most sublime aspect: the sacrifice of those who died for the country [by reminding us that disrespect for the flag also disrespects those who have died for it, and for us]. They have made it a point of honor that the country and its symbols be respected.

“These are Americans who… see that no other place can offer what America has given them. This is not a stupid nationalism, which despises other nations and peoples. Rather, it is patriotism. It is that deep and natural love for ‘my own, my native land!’

“Thus, an unlikely skirmish on the gridiron has turned into something beyond that of a simple football game. It is now a battle that touches on the core of what America is and should be—a people called to self-sacrifice, ‘sacred duty’ and the practice of the virtue of piety.”

And this – if we are not, as a culture, lulled back to sleep by the next round of “bread and circuses” – may be a very good thing: a sign of the pendulum swinging back toward sanity, the first real stirrings of a national (re)awakening. Or so we may hope and pray!

Pro Deo et Patria.

(“For God and Country.”)

The Danger of the “Black Lives Matter” Movement | Imprimis

However inexcusable every act of police brutality is, there is a larger reality behind the issue of policing, crime, and race that remains a taboo topic.

Source: The Danger of the “Black Lives Matter” Movement – Imprimis

We are in the midst of a swirling controversy, here in the United States, around the growing trend for professional athletes – particularly, but not exclusively, football players – and others to “take a knee” (kneel) during the National Anthem, as a protest against alleged police violence against “people of color,” particularly African-Americans.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of Americans see this as a mark of disrespect, if not flat-out assault, against the the anthem, the flag, and by extension, the “Republic for which it stands” (in the words of the Pledge of Allegiance). I am inclined to agree, although I take a somewhat more nuanced stance than some in that I can see that some of the protesters are well-meaning, and behaving with a reasonable degree of respect despite kneeling.

Nonetheless, I have some real issues with this practice, on at least two levels. First, the flag is or should be a non-political sign of the nation itself, our ideals and values at their best, as well as our history and heritage – which, while not without fault, has been by and large a positive one for our people, and for the world. We do not have a monarch, to serve as a supra-political unifying figure; for us in the United States, our flag – and other forms of iconography related to it, including the Anthem – serves that role.

Protesting the flag, including the National Anthem, is a de facto protest against our nation as a whole, not just political views, leaders, or perspectives on social issues with which one may legitimately disagree. And the very fact that one cannot be arrested and imprisoned, or worse, for disrespecting the flag or other national icons seems, to me, to be a very good reason to treat them with even greater respect!

But secondly, it’s not just that disrespecting our flag, and by extension our nation, is intrinsically wrong-headed – it’s that the premise behind it is wrong, too. This is, perhaps, the real issue, and it is one which is rarely discussed… the 900-lb gorilla in the room, as it were. And the fact is, there is not a war against blacks by the police, as those protesting imply (or sometimes flat-out state); in fact, quite the contrary is true.

As this article points out,

“Twelve percent of all white and Hispanic homicide victims are killed by police officers, compared to four percent of all black homicide victims. If we’re going to have a “Lives Matter” anti-police movement, it would be more appropriately named ‘White and Hispanic Lives Matter.’”

In contrast,

“Every year, approximately 6,000 blacks are murdered. This is a number greater than white and Hispanic homicide victims combined, even though blacks are only 13 percent of the national population. Blacks are killed at six times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined. In Los Angeles, blacks between the ages of 20 and 24 die at a rate 20 to 30 times the national mean.

“Who is killing them? Not the police, and not white civilians, but other blacks. The astronomical black death-by-homicide rate is a function of the black crime rate. Black males between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at ten times the rate of white and Hispanic male teens combined. Blacks of all ages commit homicide at eight times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined, and at eleven times the rate of whites alone.

“The police could end all lethal uses of force tomorrow and it would have at most a trivial effect on the black death-by-homicide rate.”

The folks “taking a knee” to protest the killing of blacks by police officers should instead be protesting the astronomically high rate of black-on-black violence, and more broadly, the disproportionately high rate of violent crimes committed by blacks. As this article also points out, police respond aggressively, not out of racism, but to protect law-abiding citizens in high-crime areas:

“The geographic disparities are also huge. In Brownsville, Brooklyn, the per capita shooting rate is 81 times higher than in nearby Bay Ridge, Brooklyn—the first neighborhood predominantly black, the second neighborhood predominantly white and Asian.

“As a result, police presence and use of proactive tactics are much higher in Brownsville than in Bay Ridge. Every time there is a shooting, the police will flood the area looking to make stops in order to avert a retaliatory shooting. They are in Brownsville not because of racism, but because they want to provide protection to its many law-abiding residents who deserve safety.”

The whole article is excellent – well-written, and well-researched. It makes clear that those “taking a knee” – although many may be well-meaning, I will grant them that – are deeply misguided in their assumptions, as well as their approach.

Mark Steyn: Constant Attacks On US History, Institutions Like ‘Year Zero in Cambodia’ | Fox News Insider

Mark Steyn reacted to an idea Tucker Carlson explained in his monologue – that those who attack historical figures and other American standards as “racist” are condemning everything “older than the milk in your fridge.”

Source: Mark Steyn: Constant Attacks On US History, Institutions Like ‘Year Zero in Cambodia’ | Fox News Insider

“Common sense presupposes that a society has something in common.”

And we are rapidly losing everything that once was viewed as a common cultural inheritance! As a result,

“We are making ourselves a society too stupid to survive.”

*shakes head sadly* Hard to deny that, unfortunately…

The Death of Eros by Mark Regnerus | Articles | First Things

Something strange is going on in America’s bedrooms… The trend is most pronounced among the young. Controlling for age and time period, people born in the 1930s had the most sex, whereas those born in the 1990s are reporting the least. Fifty years on from the advent of the sexual revolution, we are witnessing the demise of eros.

Source: The Death of Eros by Mark Regnerus | Articles | First Things

Interesting! Not everyone will agree with this, of course, but it’s based on academic social science research (so it can’t be simply dismissed as the ravings of those “deplorable” religious types…) and at the least, raises some issues that are worth pondering. Among them:

Despite all the talk of the “hookup culture,” the vast majority of sex happens within long-term, well-defined relationships. Yet Americans are having more trouble forming these relationships than ever before. Want to understand the decline of sex? Look to the decline in marriage…

A decline in commitment isn’t the only reason for the sexual recession. Today one in eight adult Americans is taking antidepressant medication, one of the common side effects of which is reduced libido. Social media use also seems to play a part. The ping of an incoming text message or new Facebook post delivers a bit of a dopamine hit—a smaller one than sex delivers, to be sure, but without all the difficulties of managing a relationship…

If these were the only causes, the solution would be straightforward: a little more commitment, a little less screen time, a few more dates over dinner, more time with a therapist, and voilà. But if we follow the data, we will find that the problem goes much deeper, down to one of the foundational tenets of enlightened opinion: the idea that men and women must be equal in every domain.

Social science cannot tell us if this is true, but it can tell us what happens if we act as though it is. Today, the results are in. Equality between the sexes is leading to the demise of sex.

Follow the link for more details. As I say, this idea won’t be popular, or even acceptable, with many people. I would modify it to say that identicality, rather than “equality” per se, is the real issue: the idea that men and women are basically interchangeable, rather than being different but complementary, and excelling in different roles. But however you want to parse it, it’s at least worth considering, rather than merely dismissing.

Empty the stadiums.

Boycott the NFL

I don’t usually waste time even thinking about “sportsball,” much less writing about it. But the National Football League has jumped the proverbial shark, with this “take a knee” during the National Anthem B.S. – and even more, by refusing to admit they have taken a wrong turn, but instead doubling down on their stupidity.

The idea that the NFL would dare to complain about “lack of respect,” when they are disrespecting our flag and everything it stands for – including the sacrifice of all those who have fallen defending that flag, and “the Republic for which it stands,” over the centuries – just fills me with absolute and complete disdain for those sorry excuses for human beings. “Respect”? They deserve none. They’re being paid millions to play a frickin’ game, and they’re acting like spoiled children! Despicable.

And yes, I agree that they have a right to “take a knee” if that’s what they want to do. Absolutely. And the rest of us have the right to think that they’re despicable, reprehensible children with no respect or appreciation for the incredible opportunities they and everyone else in this country possess simply by virtue of being born here. As one friend pointed out, the very fact that they have the right to behave in such a pitiful fashion without being jailed for it is precisely why they should not do it!

Cretins.

London bombing shows danger of Islamification in Britain and Europe. Is the US next? | Fox News

The terrorist bombing Friday of a train on the London Underground, which injured 30 people – including one of my very close friends – was yet more evidence of a painful truth: the Islamification of the United Kingdom and Europe is well under way, changing the very character of the continent that gave birth to Western Civilization.

Source: London bombing shows danger of Islamification in Britain and Europe. Is the US next? | Fox News

This is indeed an excellent essay, and the fact that it is written by someone who was, herself, touched by the latest bombing in London – through a friend of hers, who was fortunate that when the bomb detonated in her train compartment, it did not go off properly. I strongly recommend that you “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” this essay!

But like most other writings on the subject of Islam, in her commendable zeal to protect religious liberty and avoid tarring with too broad a brush, Ms Davis misses a few important points.

She quotes the Brookings Institute definition of Islamism, which of course is quite accurate, as far as it goes. However, consider: any religion worth its salt believes that its “values should play a role in public life,” and that it “has things to say about how politics should be conducted, how the law should be applied, and how other people – not just themselves – should conduct themselves.” If it does not, it hardly qualifies as a religion at all: at best, it is some form of nebulous personal spirituality.

Certainly, Christianity has things to say about these issues. Buddhism (more so in the East than in the West, but in some places even here) has things to say about these issues. Hinduism and certainly Taoism have things to say about these issues. The difference lies in how those values are promoted and expressed, and what the religion in question sees as its ultimate role in society.

I don’t feel that I can speak authoritatively for the other religions mentioned, but I do believe that I can speak fairly authoritatively for Christianity, having degrees in medieval studies and theology and being an ordained Christian minister. And what I can say is that while Christianity has certainly not been immune to the temptations to power-politics and even violence that come from a too-close alliance with secular authorities, such things are foreign and even contrary to the teachings of the Christian faith itself.

The fundamental teachings of Christianity are encapsulated in Christ’s summary of the law: “Love the Lord your God… and your neighbor as yourself.” This concept is repeated and reinforced in such passages as “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,” and “a new commandment I give unto you: that you love one another.” Similar teachings appear in the writings of the Apostles, Christ’s successors after His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.

And his final instruction was to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Baptize. Not conquer. Not subjugate. Not kill. Baptize. That is a voluntary action: one must make a choice to receive the teachings, before baptism can take place (1). Nowhere is violence called for (2). Nowhere are Christians called to fight, kill, or make war against the “infidel.” Nowhere are they told to make non-Christians second-class citizens (dhimmi) who must die, convert, or admit they are inferior and pay protection money (jizya).

Beyond that, Christians are supposed to be the “leaven in the loaf” of the body politic, not its rulers and dominators. Christ was clear about this, stating “My kingdom is not of this world,” and instructing his listeners to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” His Apostles followed the same track, exhorting the early Christians to “honour the king,” and to obey the secular authorities, including the (then pagan) Roman Emperor. Christians were – and are – intended to seek to exert a positive influence on the actions of secular and political authorities by example and moral exhortation, not, as I say, domination and rulership.

So Christianity has, and God willing will continue to have, “things to say” about “how politics should be conducted, how the law should be applied, and how [people in general] should conduct themselves.” The important point is that the Christian faith itself – regardless of what deluded or over-zealous devotees may have done on their own initiative – does not teach that Christianity, or its followers, should politically dominate the world, and it does not teach violence as a way to spread its teachings. You can search the New Testament, and for that matter the Fathers of the Church (approximately corresponding to Islamic prophet Mohammed’s immediate successors), in vain for any such teachings.

And that is the point that so many otherwise intelligent and perceptive individuals – on both sides of the political aisle – consistently miss, or misunderstand: Islam is not just another religion. It does not merely believe that “its values should play a role in public life.” It does not simply have “things to say about how politics should be conducted, how the law should be applied, and how other people… should conduct themselves.” Would that that’s all it were! But it is not.

It is a religious / spiritual / theological justification for absolute dominance, conquest, and subjugation, in all realms: religious, political, judicial, economic, and military. One is either part of the Dar al-Islam, the Realm of Submission to Allah, or one is part of the Dar al-Harb, the Realm of Conflict, and thus subject to conquest so that submission to Allah may be enforced upon you. Those are the choices. And that is why the present contest between the West and Islam is a civilizational, existential conflict, whether one likes to think of it in those terms or not. Islam has not left us any choice in the matter.

All of that said: this is nonetheless a cogent and timely article, and an important warning for us, here in the U.S. It is well worth a read! Just don’t let yourself get caught up into too erroneous concepts, which this otherwise superb essay implicitly accepts: a) that Islam / Islamism is just a religion, and that b) no other religion has, or should have, things to say to and about the rest of (secular) society.

Personally, as The Anglophilic Anglican, I am heartsick at what is happening in Britain, and I pray it’s not too late to reverse it. But it will take some doing, and it may take sterner measures than people nowadays have the stomach for, unfortunately.

I also pray that we may resist this evil – and yes, it is an evil, both Islam and its Sharia law, and the loss of Western values, ideals, and the history and heritage of our Western civilization to Islam – here in the United States. Better not to let it gain any more of a foothold than it already has, rather than trying to get the camel back out once it’s already in the tent!


 

(1) Yes, I know there were some mass, forced baptisms in the course of the conversion of Europe. But those were the exceptions rather than the rule; they were done by secular rulers for primarily political purposes; and they were clearly contrary to the teachings of the Christian faith. Everyone has sinned and fallen short, and Christians are no exceptions.

(2) Christ’s most violent action was to make a whip of knotted cords and drive the money changers out of the Temple, turning over their tables. Not, please note, killing them! And when he exhorts his disciples that “let he who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one,” and is told they have two swords (for twelve disciples) he says, “It is enough.” When one of them actually uses his sword, cutting off the ear of the High Priest’s servant, Christ heals him. Contrast that to the actions of the Prophet of Islam and tell me there is moral equivalency between the two!