Long before NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick parked on his rump during a preseason NFL game, sparking a nationwide debate surrounding the right of a black man to sit during the National Anthem, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been silently standing and declining to pledge their allegiance to any flag, nation or country. But unlike the San Francisco QB, the actions of the Witnesses don’t spark jersey sales, media coverage, CBS polls or support from music’s biggest artists.

Colin's continued protests

In a move to protest racial inequality, police brutality and fatal shootings leading to the formation of the Black Lives Matter movement, Kaepernick opted to sit down during the singing of the National Anthem.

The 49ers organization and the NFL both released statements essentially saying the same thing – we wished he would have stood, but we respecthis right not to.

In the final preseason game, Kaepernick split the difference, electing to get on one knee in a traditional will-you-marry-me pose. Since then, he has been the recipient of both public backlash and support while he continues to kneel before games. He’s become a figurehead for a swelling movement that seeks to highlight social injustices and First Amendment rights, but he’s hardly the first.

Supreme Court ruling

Its been over seven decades since the Supreme Court ruled that children in schools cannot be mandated to pledge their allegiance to the American flag or be forced to participate in patriotic demonstrations.

Long before that, Jehovah’s Witness children have been standing respectfully – their hands at their side – during the morning pledge while their student counterparts mindlessly mouth the words with hands over hearts. At sporting events, Jehovah’s Witnesses may choose to sit while the anthem is played.

Many nations claim to have the support of God

The Pledge of Allegiance asks young ones to swear their loyalty to flag and country – "one nation under God." As if God favors one group of people, one nation, one tribe, onekingdomover another. Many who say the pledge do not even believe that God exists; those who do have widely differing opinions on who or what he is.

Ironically, you won’t find a better citizen than a Jehovah’s Witness. They are a peaceful, law-abiding group. They pay their taxes, keep out of trouble and follow the laws of the land – except when they conflict with God’s laws.

First Century Christians

In that way, they follow the example of the First Century Christians. Historical records show that followers of Jesus Christ did not get involved in politics or take up military service. Even Christ withdrew from a crowd that was seeking to make him king. Like Jesus, they gave exclusive worship to God and God alone.

Jehovah’s Witnesses worship God, whose name is Jehovah. As their name suggests, they are “witnesses” to him and his sovereignty – and no nation, flag, piece of cloth or NFL quarterback can take away their determination to remain politically neutral.