On Interrupting Masses And Anthems

and any organized thing really.

Yesterday, I watched (or rather got live tweet reports) as black Americans took the knee in protest to white supremacy and police brutality while the American anthem was being played just before the game began.

Following the 45th leader of the free world however, they were sons of bitches who should be fired for disrespecting the American flag which soldiers had fought to defend. and others followed this logic too even when the veterans who had done the fighting came out and in support. I mean, soldiers had fought to defend their right to get paid thousands of dollars and then they turn around and disrespect the flag by taking a knee?

Somewhere in a smaller corner on Nigerian Twitter, a troubled young man came out to tell his story on his struggle with faith and the system of religion. Questions bubbling withing his chest had erupted (with permission from the priest) during the solemnity of the mass leading to his suspension as an executive of the youth organisation in the Catholic church, CYON.
While some applauded and acknowledged the validity of such questions, the offense at an interruption was seen yet again. The mass was holy, a time meant to sit in solemnity, was supposed to last for a set number of hours? Why couldn’t he have gone to meet the priest in private?
Should we all be delayed just because a young man is struggling with his faith? That, followed by questions of why should a person should interrupt the holy mass just because you have questions because a mass is not the time for interruptions.
Just like an anthem is not the time for protests.

All of this, just showing that a lot of us are more offended over non-compliance than the adherence to the actual values for which a thing stands for.
People were more offended that a man did not stand and place his hand over his chest for an anthem, than they were over the fact that the American flag may not be representing what it was supposed to represent. People were more upset over the idea that a man was disrespecting a cloth, a flag that soldiers had died for, rather than over the idea that there may be a chance that the values that that flag represented were being trampled upon.
And here, people were more upset that formalities were not adhered to, that a man stood up at a time when nobody was supposed to stand, to ask questions that could help his (and others who may have been struggling) spiritual life.

I don’t know if I’m the only one for whom this strikes as ironic — that the first thing that an establishment says its stands for: in the church’s case, the guidance of souls into Light, and in the country’s anthem’s case, the promise of freedom for all, is usually kicked aside in the poll of what-we-should-be upset-about, in favour of offense at the flouting of rules and formalities, which granted, help an organization move forward in an organized way, but which are also subject to change in the definition of what that organized way is.

If your establishment loses the people its claims to cover or constantly runs into interference with them, either you cannot hold up to your establishment’s claims, in which case you should say so, or your claims are not meeting the needs as you thought they were and would.
There is nothing stopping the offended from taking a step back from their emotions and offence at how things are supposed to be, to look into the claims of those who feel like their needs aren’t met.
Just like there was nothing stopping that priest from acknowledging the validity of a young man’s questions and making known the channel which he and others were to go if he could not answer fully at that point in time, or reviewing the way things are done and if actually, questions and needs are being met in his spiritual institution.

In ideas and matters that rock our hearts and the world, no matter how right we feel we are, real solutions come when even if for one second, we can dare to be wrong. If for one second, we can put our offense on the passenger seat and let genuine care for others, whether you think they may deserve it or not, take the lead. This is the only thing and the only way we can progress in the world, in a nation, even in that small organisation you think is progressing but which just has a lot of people adhering to rules and formalities.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Adaku Nwakanma

Adaku Nwakanma

I write about digital product design.