Allegiances Matter–The First Amendment, Playboy, Flag Stomping

The headlines have been abuzz of late over the arrest (temporary restraint) of Air Force vet Michelle Manhart. Manhart was on Valdosta State’s campus where an American flag was being walked on by an unidentified group of protestors. Manhart picked the flag up and was then wrestled to the ground by the campus police. She’s been banned from any university activities. (You can watch the incident here if you please–there is language)

True to media culture, Manhart’s past quickly came to light. She posed for Playboy several years ago, both in and out of her military uniform (which I suppose she didn’t count disgraceful?). She was removed from duty as a result. Politics aside, there is an even more fascinating connection between these events separated by nearly a decade.

The First Amendment of the Constitution reads as follows:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

I’m not a Constitutional Law expert, nor do I play one on television, but the deep irony I noticed in this whole mess is that the First Amendment gives pornographers the right to publish their materials and protestors the right to, in civil manner, exercise dissent via demonstration. Manhart happily embraced the First when she disrobed for dollars, yet she found the more recent expression of the Amendment offensive.

I don’t know Michelle Manhart. I don’t know her story or the inner workings of her soul. I write to ask this question, why the dissonance in her mind between what happened on Valdosta’s campus and what she did on the pages of Playboy? Both are allowed for under the same law of the land.

Allegiances matter, for better or worse.

For the follower of Jesus I ask, where is your allegiance? What are you willing to be arrested for, imprisoned for, beaten for, killed for?



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