2018-07-05 / Sports

FOLLOWING SPORTS RELIGIOUSLY

Freedom
By Mike Wilson
Sports Reporter


Mike Wilson Mike Wilson Two Detroit Tiger players on Monday, June 25, became United States citizens.

Jose Iglesias and Leonys Martin, who both defected from Cuba, stood before the crowd at Comerica Park and took the oath of citizenship. After the ceremony, Martin, who plays centerfield, told reporters that he appreciates the United States people and their government for giving him a chance to be part of it.

“Being able to vote and being a part of the United States means a lot to me and my family,” Martin said.

Yesterday was the Fourth of July, and many of us celebrated Independence Day with cook-outs, picnics and fireworks with family and friends. I wonder how many of us took the time to reflect on our freedom and its cost.

Nearly every sporting event begins with the playing of our national anthem, as a salute to the freedoms that we all enjoy. Recently, unfortunately some have chosen this time to make a political statement. While it is their right because we have the freedom of speech, it saddens me because it takes away from the moment when as Americans we take into account what it has cost to maintain those freedoms.

Sports and patriotism have often gone hand in hand. Baseball has been called the great American pastime -- players have walked away from their careers to enlist in the military and defend our country. Who could forget the image of the unfurling of a huge flag on the field of Yankee Stadium after 9/11? Or Whitney Houston’s incredible rendition of the National Anthem at Super Bowl XXV in 1991.

One of the freedoms we celebrate is the freedom of religion, as President Bill Clinton once said after signing the freedom of religion restoration act, “the constitution guarantees the freedom of religion not the freedom from religion.” Around the world today many are persecuted, prosecuted, tortured and even killed for their religious beliefs. The Coptic Christians of Egypt are a prime example of what happens without the protection of the Constitution.

So next time you are at a sporting event and the announcers says, “ladies and gentlemen please rise for our National Anthem”, take a moment and give thanks to God that you live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. John 8:32 “You will know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”

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