Category Archives: Apologetics

What’s The Rush!

Typical “Las Posadas” Celebration

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. (Luke 2:6)

Many Christmas traditions come from a fundamental misunderstanding or outright ignorance of Scripture. Such is the case of Joseph and Mary finding nowhere to stay in Bethlehem.

One of my favorite recent movies this time of year is The Nativity Story because it portrays a very realistic account of the birth of Christ, but even it resorts to unfounded tradition in its representation of the account. One of the most flagrant is the final tableau depicting the nativity scene complete with shepherds and wise men together on the night of the birth. It makes a pretty scene, but it is scripturally inaccurate.

Another error I discovered just recently is the scene when the Joseph and Mary arrive in Bethlehem. They arrive just when it starts to get dark. Suddenly, Mary starts having contractions and she pleads with Joseph to quickly find a place because the baby is coming. Frantically, Joseph runs from house to house banging on doors and pleading for someone to give them refuge in their desperate hour of need. No one has room to offer. Finally, one man offers a grotto where he shelters his animals. As the saying goes, “any port in a storm.” They take the offer and Mary gives birth to baby Jesus.

This tradition has been played out through the centuries. In Mexico and other Latin American countries, they observe Las Posadas (“the inns”) where a young girl and boy are selected to play the part of Mary and Joseph. They go from house to house in town followed by all the town’s people seeking refuge. Finally, they get to the last house where they are given posada, and the whole town enjoys a time of celebration.

Such traditions are neither good nor bad in themselves except that they have no basis in Scripture. Dr. Luke gives no indication that Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem on the very night that Jesus was born. He does record that “there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7), but he gives a reasonable explanation for this.  Caesar Augustus had issued a census requiring everyone to go to his ancestral home of origin to be counted (Luke 2:1-3). Joseph and Mary both were descendants of King David whose birthplace was Bethlehem. Therefore, they were required to travel from Nazareth, their home, to Bethlehem in order to comply with Caesar’s decree. They arrived in Bethlehem. Visitors from all over Judea and Samaria overran the place so that every house in town was full. Joseph and Mary took the only place available – a shelter for animals.

They made the best of their accommodations. “And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered” (Luke 2:6, emphasis mine). Luke gives no indication that they were in panic mode as tradition has taught. “Silent Night” makes more sense in a setting of peace rather than desperation. Yes, it was a stable, and yes, baby Jesus’ crib was a feeding trough for animals, but God, not desperation was in control.

After the crowd departed and returned to their homes, Joseph and Mary remained in Bethlehem for some time. With the excess population gone, they were able to find suitable lodging in a house. Matthew records that “wise men from the east” (Matthew 2:1) came in search of “he that is born King of the Jews” (Matthew 2:2).  “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11, emphasis mine). By this time, Jesus was no longer a “babe” (Luke 2:12) but a “young child” under two years of age (Matthew 2:16).

We often attach too much sentimentality to this event that may obscure of the real wonder of God’s entrance into the world of His creation. God became man, to live as a man – from conception to death – so that He could redeem His fallen creation from the curse of death by His own death, burial, and resurrection. Remove all the fluff from Christmas traditions, and what remains is staggeringly awesome!

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What A Thing!

Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner

… Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (Philippians 2:5-7)

The Christmas season is upon us once again, and once more, I sense the dilemma of mixing the commercialization of the season by the world with the celebration of the First Advent. Any Christian well taught in Scripture recognizes that Jesus was not born on December 25, but thanks to the Catholics, we are stuck with that date. Regardless of how one feels about that, it is appropriate to set aside a special time to contemplate the magnitude of the miracle that is the Incarnation[1] – God becoming a man.

Consider our leading verse. No other religion[2] in the world makes the claim that their gods willingly depose themselves of all divine powers to assume the life of a human. Then, to top it off, offer themselves as a blood sacrifice in order to save the lowly human race. However, contemplate seriously the significance of these words of Scripture.

“Christ Jesus” – the anointed Savior (meaning of the name) – “who being in the form of God.” The Greek word translated “form” is morphē, and it means “shape” or “nature.” The Apostle John calls Jesus “the Word.” He wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God: (John 1:1, emphasis mine). In the Greek, the phrase “the Word was God” literally reads, “God was the Word” — θεος ην ο λογος. What a thing!

Though He was in every way, in very nature, God, He “Thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” Verse 8 clarifies this phrase when it explains that Jesus “humbled Himself.” He did not regard it robbery to lay aside His Divine nature and assume human form in order to redeem fallen humanity. What a Thing!

“He made Himself of no reputation.” This entire phrase is summed up in one Greek word, εκενωσεν (hekenoōsen), which means, “He emptied Himself” without any sense of deprivation. In exchange, “He took upon Himself the morphē (see above) of a servant” – doulos – a “slave.” He “was made in the likeness of men.” The Greek word translated “likeness” is homoiōma meaning “resemblance.” So, not only did He take on the “nature” of man, He “looked” like any other man. There was no halo around Him to distinguish Him from any other man. Of Him Isaiah the prophet said, “he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2, emphasis mine). The Hebrew word translated “comeliness” is hâdâr meaning “magnificence,” and “beauty” is the Hebrew word mar-eh’ meaning a “handsome appearance.” So much for those soft-faced images of Jesus, we are so used to seeing! It was not enough that He condescended from His Divine nature to assume the nature of an ordinary, common-looking man, but He took the form of the lowliest kind of man – a slave. Not only did He come as a slave, but He chose a peasant girl for a mother and a stable for His birthplace.[3] What a THING!

The passage goes on to say, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8, emphasis mine). “Fashion” is the Greek word, schēma and it means the “mode, circumstance, or external condition.” The Bible tells us that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Man must die eternally to pay the penalty for sin. Unless some sinless one can be found to serve as a suitable sacrifice for all of mankind, every one of us must pay “the wages of sin.”[4] Who could qualify as a suitable sacrifice? “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one … For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10, 23). Therefore, God clad Himself in human flesh and took the penalty for universal sin upon Himself. However, His death was not enough. He conquered death when He rose from the grave on the third day. He paid the sin debt that we owe and broke the curse of death[5] with His resurrection. WHAT A THING!

This Christmas, regardless of the commercialization of the season and regardless of the fact that Jesus was not born on December 25, God’s gift of salvation freely offered to all who will accept it, is worthy of commemoration and celebration. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15, emphasis mine). WHAT A THING!!

Merry Christmas!

Notes:


[1] “Miracle of the Incarnation” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2012/12/24/miracle-of-the-incarnation/

[2]  “False Religion” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2014/07/27/false-religion/

[3]  “Extreme Measures” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2016/12/11/extreme-measures/

[4]  “Eternal Sacrifice” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2012/09/30/eternal-sacrifice/

[5]  “Why Jesus?” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2015/12/13/why-jesus/

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Light From Afar

… he made the stars also. (Genesis 1:16)

The question about the age of the universe is certainly a hotly debated question among both young earth and old earth creationists. Young earth creationists affirm and accept the literal account recorded in Genesis.[1] Old earth creationists accept that God is Creator, but they accommodate long ages because they are convinced that “science” has “proven” that the universe is old. They arrive at this conclusion because we see light from stars and galaxies that are billions of lightyears away from us. The “proof” is questionable, but that is a separate matter.

If one considers God’s account of creation recorded in the first chapter of Genesis, one notes that all things, plants, sea creatures, avian life, land creatures and even humans were all created fully mature and immediately able to reproduce (“the seed is in itself”). The earth itself was created, formed, and organized in the first three days of creation (Genesis 1:1-13). The Bible gives no indication that these were long periods of time.[2] When God records the day (Hebrew yom), He uses the word normally understood as a 24-hour day. By assigning an ordinal number to modify the day (first day, second day, third day, etc.), He further qualifies the day as a normal 24-hour day. If that is not enough, He further defines the day by “evening and morning” indicating a normal 24-hour day.

Some may want to argue that, but their argument is against God’s Word, and that is reminiscent of the first words from the tempter’s mouth: “Yea, hath God said…?” (Genesis 3:1).

With all of that in mind, look again at Genesis 1:14-19, Day Four of creation. In God’s account of creation, God created the earth first, then the other heavenly bodies beginning with the sun and moon and finally He “created the stars also” (v. 16). This in itself contradicts the notion of a Big Bang. Verse 15 establishes the purpose for the heavenly bodies: Lit. “to light over the earth.” In the KJV verse 17 reads: “And God set them [the stars] in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth.” The Hebrew word translated “set” is nâthan, which means “to give.” A strict translation of the verse would read: “God gave them in the expanse of the heavens to light over the earth.” As with all of God’s creation, the light of the stars upon the earth was created in place and fully mature. This eliminates any discussion about how long it takes for light from distant stars to arrive on earth. It makes the argument irrelevant. Whatever is now is not what it was in the beginning.

Notes:


[1]  “The Universe is Young” https://erniecarrasco.com/2017/05/21/the-universe-is-young/

[2]  “The Bible Says” https://erniecarrasco.com/2016/04/03/the-bible-says/

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Creation Ex Nihilo

A Picture of Nothing

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

It seems strange to me when people readily accept the origin of the universe from a Big Bang, yet balk at the suggestion that God created the universe out of nothing – ex nihilo – simply by speaking it into existence. Even Christians who claim to believe that every word of the Bible as inerrant and infallible fall prey to the notion that God somehow initiated and used the Big Bang to create over billions of years of time.

Recently the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) published an article,[1] which raised questions in one reader’s mind. He wrote:

Since God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, doesn’t it make more sense to think that either…

  • God first created nothingness?
  • He created time at the same time as nothingness?
  • As He was everything, from within Himself He created everything?

Another question I have regards the space/time/matter continuum. While our human minds at present can’t conceive of the three dimensions going on into infinity in both directions, doesn’t it stand to reason to think that the universe and its three dimensions is endless in both directions?

I am not sure what he meant by his last question. He affirms (at least by our understanding) a three-dimensional universe, but then he questions the three-dimensional universe being infinite (endless) in “both directions.” That suggests only two dimensions. He seems confused, as often happens when we “over think” things that are beyond our understanding.

Our problem in a question like this is that we tend to think of God from our limited human perspective. As theologians like to describe God, He is totally “other,” i.e., He is nothing like us, and we have nothing outside of His Word with which to compare Him. This is why His second commandment prohibits that we make an image of Him (Exodus 20:4). It would be impossible for any image to accurately depict God in His fullness.

When we say God is eternal,[2] we sometimes view “eternity”[3] with some kind of cosmic clock[4] in mind, but that would confine God to time. God is timeless. He has no past, present or future; He simply “is.” That is why when Moses asked His name, He responded, “I AM” (Exodus 3:11). He is the All-Existent One. His omnipresence means more than He is everywhere at all times; it means that He exists IN all times, i.e., He is in our past, present and future all at once. This explains why He knows the future before it happens. This is also why our sin bears eternal consequences. Our sin is an infinite offense to God.

When we understand that, we can look at Genesis 1:1 and see that “In the beginning (time) God created (bara – only used in reference to God creating) the heavens (space) and the earth (matter/energy),” ergo, the universe. God created time. There would be no universe without time – i.e., the space-time continuum to which the writer referred. The universe, like God, is a trinity; time, space and matter/energy must all exist simultaneously for the universe to exist. Remove any one of the three components, and the universe ceases. God created time “in the beginning.”

The Bible does not specifically say that God created out of nothing (“ex nihilo” is the theological term we use to describe God’s creation), but the implication that there was nothing before verse 1 of Genesis is certainly there. When God confronts Job’s questions, He responds, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding” (Job 38:4). What are “the foundations of the earth,” if not the basic elements of the universe? Obviously, we have no way of knowing precisely “how” God did it. The Bible encourages us to rest in the fact that God brought it all about “In the beginning.” “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29).

On the final question, the universe is not infinite for the very reason that it was created. Nothing that is created can be infinite. Only God is infinite; everything else is finite.

When we think on that, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (Psalm 8:4). Yes, as immeasurably great as God is, He took on human form and condescended to us, His creation, to dwell among us, take on the eternal offense of our sin, and pay for it with His death on the cross so that we might share eternity with Him. After all He has done for us, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation” (Hebrews 2:3)? Thank God for His infinite love!

Notes:


[1]  “The Universe Out of Nothing” – https://www.icr.org/article/10286

[2]  “The Eternality of God” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2017/06/04/the-eternality-of-god/

[3]  “Time Confusion” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2016/07/31/time-confusion/

[4]  “No Time Like the Present” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2015/01/18/no-time-like-the-present/

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Pre-Flood Fish Food

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. (Genesis 1:29-30)

Our lead verse above often leads to questions about the diet of carnivores prior to the Fall recorded in Genesis 3. Those who raise the question point out that some animals’ teeth are designed for eating plants and others are designed for eating meat. I can answer that question by simply pointing out that my dogs (and probably yours) eat grass, carrots, apples, potatoes, green beans, watermelon, etc. Not only that, but their kibble is made mostly of vegetable products; they do not have to eat meat to survive. In addition, many animals existing today survive on a purely vegetarian diet even though they have sharp meat-eating teeth;[1] for example, panda bears are strict vegetarians, even though they have a mouth full of sharp meat-grinding teeth! Likewise, dinosaurs were all vegetarians before the Fall[2] for the same reason.

Someone recently asked, “What about the sea creatures? Can we assume that there are plants in the oceans? How would that make any sense? What were the sea creatures feeding on if not one another according to the food chain? Doesn’t that represent some kind of death already existing before the fall?”

That is a very good question. The Bible says that when God finished creation, He said it was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Since the Bible calls death “the enemy” (1 Corinthians 15:26), death cannot be a part of a “very good” creation. Both humans and animals were vegetarian, as pointed out in our verse above. (Genesis 1:29-30); therefore we can safely conclude that applied to sea creatures as well.

We must first define what “life” is. The Bible says that “life is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11). Therefore, anything that has blood has life. “Life,” according to God’s Word, is not the same as defined by modern science. Modern scientists define life as anything that grows and reproduces, so to modern scientists, plants are “alive,” but that is not what the Bible says. Many creatures grow, reproduce and move freely in the oceans, like plankton. These are considered “motile organisms.” However, they have no blood; therefore, according to the Bible, they do not really have “life.” Whales eat tons of plankton every day and so do other sea creatures. Besides that, many kinds of plants grow in the shallows where sunlight for photosynthesis can still penetrate. Therefore, it should not be difficult to conclude that all sea creatures were vegetarian before the Fall (Genesis 3).

Consider also that the Fall took place probably less than a month after creation – perhaps even within the following week. I say that because Adam and Eve were perfect human specimens, created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). They had absolutely no physical flaws. God gave them instruction to “Be fruitful, and multiply, and [fill] the earth” (Genesis 1:28). Eve did not conceive until after the Fall (Genesis 4:1). Considering that a woman’s menstrual cycle is about 28 days and that Eve was the most beautiful woman in the world – literally – Adam, I am certain, would have gotten busy right away to keep God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply.” Eve, being the perfect example of femininity and physical health should have gotten pregnant right away. Since that did not happen until after the Fall, we must conclude that the Fall occurred before she became pregnant, and therefore less than one month after creation. That should not be too long to survive a vegetarian diet. I could even do that for a month, although, I might not be too much fun to be around!

Aside from the academic exercise of a pre-Fall animal diet is the question of death before sin.[3] If death existed before Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating from the forbidden tree, then how can death be the logical consequence of sin? Death before sin destroys the whole premise of the Gospel. Therefore, biblical compromises like the Gap Theory,[4] the Day-Age Theory,[5] and Theistic Evolution[6] must be rejected. With all of that, we can conclude that all creatures were vegetarian prior to the Fall.

Notes:


[1]  “Why God Created Large, Sharp Teeth?” – http://www.icr.org/article/why-god-created-large-sharp-teeth

[2]  “How Do the Dinosaurs Fit In?” – http://www.icr.org/article/how-do-dinosaurs-fit-in

[3]  “The Curse of Death” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2015/06/14/the-curse-of-death/

[4]  “No Gap” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2015/10/18/no-gap/

[5]  “A Day Is A Day” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2015/10/25/a-day-is-a-day/

[6]  “The Bible Says” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2016/04/03/the-bible-says/

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Here We Stand – AlbertMohler.com

Source: Here We Stand – AlbertMohler.com

Celebrating 500 years of the Reformation!

“Martin Luther’s great moment of theological clarification came at the climax of a command performance. Facing the threat of martyrdom and execution, Luther appeared on trial at the Diet of Worms before the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Asked on what authority he dared to defy the Pope and the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church, Luther famously replied:”

Read more… http://www.albertmohler.com/2017/10/30/here-we-stand/

 

 

 

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Stand For the Flag!

Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. (Romans 13:7)

I tire of all the airtime given to overpaid prima donnas who “take a knee” at the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in disrespect of the symbol of our nation – the American flag, Old Glory, the Stars and Stripes. That flag represents the nation – the republic – that affords these crybaby egotists the opportunity to earn outrageous salaries to play a game for fans that can ill afford the admission to attend the games in person. Granted, these players possess uncommon athletic talents that few of us will ever have, but the truth is that most of them have gotten a “free ride” to hone the “God-given” talents they display on the field of contest. That “privilege” comes from the fact that they were born (most of them) under the flag they now dishonor.

The flag they disrespect represents a republic, a nation of laws, which guarantees them the right to express their political views even in opposition to the very law that protects them. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America protects the right of every citizen to exercise his/her freedom of speech, the freedom to peaceably assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. These impertinent showboats latch onto the First Amendment to justify their disrespect. If that is not bad enough, an abundance of left-wing ideologues sound off in their defense, like the local sports idiot for the Dallas-Fort Worth area.[1] No one denies these paid athletes the right to “peaceably assemble” and exercise their freedom of speech in protest to a perceived injustice, but their protest – their grievance – is misplaced. Rather than “petition the Government” for redress of their grievance – they show contempt for the very flag, and indirectly the majority of Americans that honor the flag, that has given them a platform from which to speak.

Just what is the egregious injustice that warrants such a shameful demonstration of ingratitude? It all started last year when the now unemployed, cop-hating quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, refused to stand for the playing of the National Anthem in protest for all the hundreds of poor young black men unjustly slain by racist police (his perception). If the charge is factual, there is certainly reason to protest, not only by black Americans but also by all Americans. Any citizen – no matter what ethnicity – unlawfully executed by one sworn to uphold the law has been denied his/her constitutional “right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury” (the Sixth Amendment). Such an offense would warrant the free expression of speech in protest (not rioting), and to “petition the Government for redress” of the grievance. If such abuse of police authority is really taking place, every freedom-loving American should be up in arms. However, is this really what is taking place? Is there really an epidemic of local police[2] singling out young black men for execution? If this is true, there should be plenty of evidence to corroborate the claim.

The truth is that cops killed almost twice as many whites as blacks in 2015. More whites and Hispanics die from police homicides than blacks. A 7 to 1 ratio of “unarmed” black men shot by police are shot in the process of resisting arrest, usually in an attempt to disarm the officer or beat the officer with the officer’s own equipment. Black and Hispanic police officers are more likely to fire a gun at blacks than are white officers. (I wonder why?) Blacks are more likely to kill cops than to be killed by cops. (The preceding statistics were obtained from The Dailywire.)[3] It is also commonly known that more blacks (in epidemic proportions) are killed by other blacks than are killed by cops of any color.

The record indicates that the protest, by these unlearned[4] prima donnas and their equally ignorant sycophants, enjoys no basis in reality. Rather than publically disrespect the flag, they should turn that activism into action by edifying (building up) those who they consider downtrodden. However, maybe that would be too much in keeping with real American values!

The Bible teaches us that we must “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour” (Romans 13:7).  As citizens, we must pay our taxes (“tribute” and “custom”). We should respect and obey (“fear”) those in authority like the police. The police are there to do a job, to keep law and order. Most of them have families, and many of them are members of our churches. The majority of them took the job to “serve and protect” their community. They do not deserve to be disrespected. When they are disrespected, they are within their authority – the authority we give them – to arrest us. Too many of those poor black men that get shot by police were never taught by their parents, teachers or anyone to respect and (above all) obey the police. They were not taught to “fear” those “to whom fear” is due.

Finally, we are to give “honor to whom honor” is due. Our flag and our National Anthem are due honor. Our flag led our founders to fields of battle to gain our freedom. The red in our flag represents the many gallons of blood that birthed our nation. Many men sacrificed their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to provide for us the freedoms we enjoy, even the freedom to legitimately protest perceived injustices. That flag led Union soldiers (mostly white men) into bloody battle in defense of the black man’s right to be free. Sadly, many blacks today shackle themselves to the racism of self-deprecation that deceives them into viewing themselves of less value than whites – a deception straight from the pit of hell. “So God created [all] man [kind] in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:27). “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;” (Acts 17:26, emphasis mine). That “one blood” is all red, the color of the stripes on our flag.

Our flag has draped many a coffin of soldiers, police officers, and firefighters that have paid the ultimate price for our freedom and our protection. Our flag is worthy of honor and respect. Give honor to whom honor is due. Stand for the flag! Our flag represents our freedom of speech to protest any perceived injustice. For that, it should be honored. Stand for the flag!

P.S. If you feel the need to kneel, kneel at the cross of Jesus where His precious blood was shed for you.

Notes:


[1]  “Sportscaster Dale Hansen’s take on the #TakeAKnee protests is an absolute must-watch” – http://mashable.com/2017/09/26/dale-hansen-unplugged-anthem-protests/#NJalYem2Liqa

[2]  “Local police” are governed by local municipalities, not the federal government, which is just one more reason why this “protest” is misplaced.

[3]  “5 Statistics You Need To Know About Cops Killing Blacks” – http://www.dailywire.com/news/7264/5-statistics-you-need-know-about-cops-killing-aaron-bandler#

[4]  They are “unlearned” because even though a majority of them hold college degrees, many of them “earned” that degree through their participation in their field of athletics rather than their achievement in academics. They certainly failed to receive any training in civics.

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