National Anthem

by stuckinamovement 7 Replies latest jw friends

  • stuckinamovement

    I was reading an article about some guy who refused to stand for the National Anthem on 911 at the Jets Cowboy game.

    Here is the question....

    Why can witness kids stand respectfully for the flag salute, but not the national anthem? Direction is given that for the national anthem you must remain seated unless you are already standing. How does that make any sense at all? Aren't both of them patriotic displays of equal value?

    I apologize but I should know this as a former elder, I just never understood the reasoning behind it.


  • Awen

    Stun Gunslinger

    Larry McKelvey, 59, said he was forced to use his stun gun on belligerent Jets fans who were annoyed that he refused to stand during the national anthem and was talking on his cell phone during a moment of silence.

    I guess it might have to do with your surroundings. In Daniel Chapter 3: 1-7 there is the instance with the three Hebrews who refused to bow down to the golden image when they heard the sounds of the various musical instruments. Likewise the National Anthem carries far more weight than the Flag Salute because of the music involved and the emotions it instills in people. Also we're talking about kids in school and not adults at a baseball stadium (where there are differing codes of conduct) who might feel outraged and attempt to do something about it, much like the astrologers in Daniel when they informed the King of the Hebrews disobedience. The kids couldn't really do much for fear of the teacher and of possibly being expelled (of course they might bully their peers on the playground of after school). Adults however most times won't think twice about taking matters into their own hands. Also many adults really aren't tolerant of other people's religious viewpoints.

    Mr McKelvey was also being somewhat of a jerk by talking on his cellphone during the moment of silence. He shouldn't expect people not to be annoyed with him because he refused to stand for the National Anthem. If you're going to take a stand for something you take the risk of being knocked down for it.

  • Quendi

    What is interesting to me on this question is that the United States did not officially adopt a national anthem until 1931. Congress voted on it and "The Star Spangled Banner" beat out "America the Beautiful" by a single vote, much to the dismay of the Colorado delegation which had strongly pushed the latter. "America the Beautiful" was composed by a young woman on the summit of Colorado's Pike's Peak and its first stanza describes the view she enjoyed there.

    So it has been only eighty years that the country has even had an anthem. Many people, not just Jehovah's Witnesses, don't like the custom of presenting the colors and playing the anthem at athletic events which have nothing to do with politics. I don't know how or why that custom arose. For my part, I stand quietly when the colors are presented and the anthem is sung. I will not, under any circumstances, sing any national anthem. My own personal belief is that nationalism and Christianity do not mix. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate being an American citizen. My father served honorably in the Army for twenty years, seeing duty in both Korea and Vietnam. My travels abroad have helped me to further appreciate what American citizenship means.

    The fellow who talked on his cellphone while the anthem was played showed gross disrespect to not only the country but his countrymen. I don't blame them for being upset, and all the moreso since this disrespect took place in New York on the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. He might as well flashed the finger while the colors were being presented, and I'm sure that is how his conduct was viewed.

    As far as Jehovah's Witnesses and flags are concerned, they are inconsistent. You can't stand for the playing of an anthem, but should rise when a judge enters a courtroom and takes his seat on the bench. You can't salute the flag, but can sign a document swearing to defend the country's constitution if you want to secure a passport. Office holders are agents of Satan, but should be addressed by their proper titles upon meeting them. I don't pledge allegiance to national flags either and I agree that compulsory flag salutes are unconstitutional, but that doesn't mean that respect should not be paid to a nation's emblems, officers, and institutions. That's something the WTS can't seem to grasp.


  • brizzzy

    The way it was explained to me, when I was a kid, was that for the flag salute, it was not considered "participation" if you just stood (which was a sign of respect without participation) actually had to have your hand over your heart and be reciting the pledge to be actively participating.

    However, for the national anthem, it could be considered "actively participating" just to stand, because there's no other required gesture such as placing your hand over your heart.

    I was encouraged to try to get up and go to the bathroom a few minutes before the anthem to avoid the issue altogether, since people tend to get pissed off at you and consider it disrespectful to remain seated.

  • NomadSoul

    If you're going to take a stand for something you take the risk of being knocked down for it.

    In this cased be prepared to be tazered. LOL

  • DesirousOfChange

    Many active JDubs do not even know their own "rules" on the matter. The "School" brochure (I think it is blue) makes clear that standing for the National Anthem can be condoned under certain circumstances:

    From the "School" brochure pages 15,16: "When national anthems are played, usually all that a person has to do to show that he shares the sentiments of the song is to stand up. In such cases, Witness youths remain seated. However, if our youths are already standing when the national anthem is played, they would not have to take the special action of sitting down; it is not as though they had specifically stood up for the anthem. On the other hand, if a group are expected to stand and sing, then our young people may rise and stand out of respect. But they would show that they do not share the sentiments of the song by refraining from singing."

    At most sporting events I've attended recnetly, the words of the Anthem are displayed on the large media boards and the audience may be asked to sing, thus JDubs can stand per WT rules. Yet, I know of many who are not aware of this information even though it is decades old. They don't even know their own doctrine.

    This is one area where I always thought one's "conscience" should be followed, rather than the WTS imposing their conscience on the R&F. There is no clear scriptural basis for making the claim to stand out of respect or that standing is "worship". Sadly, most JDubs cannot think on their own and they really WANT the Society to just tell them what to do.

  • undercover

    Why can't JWs just act like the "alien resident" that they claim to be?

    Watch the Olympics... or even an NHL game. National Anthems from different countries are played at the Olympics and everyone in attendance stands respectfully when the anthem of the winning athlete is played. NHL games with one Canadian team and one US team play both anthems and you see the Canadians standing respectfully during the US version and Americans doing likewise.

    You don't have to sing. And you don't have to put your hand on your heart and pledge allegiance to the flag. Just stand respectfully, the same as you would if you were in court and all were told to rise for the judge.

    Just because you don't claim citizenship to the wordly government doesn't mean you can't be respectful.

    I'm guessing the anti pledge and anthem thing is from the days of Rutherford when he made it a hobby to go 'round pissing off governments and playing the martyr. Now it's so ingrained as a JW 'thing' that it's hard to just reverse the thinking on it without causing a lot of dubs to say "WTF?" and start second guessing the WTS on their other policies and doctrines.

  • J. Hofer
    J. Hofer

    and what if you don't respect the government or nationalistic symbols? i understand that people could get angry at someone who loudly talks on the phone while there is a minute of silence, but not respecting some national symbol should be everybodys right. and even that moment of silence thing is kind of sick.. hey, it's a sports event, it's not a church or something...

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