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Christian College Teaches Mandatory Patriotism Class, With Rifle Marksmanship

Grabien screenshot of Jerry Davis, president of the College of the Ozarks, speaking on Fox News.

One Christian college has developed a unique response to the “culture” of star athletes like Colin Kaepernick refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance — a mandatory class on patriotism.

“We are trying to teach students to understand and support and be willing to defend our country,” Jerry Davis, president of the College of the Ozarks, a Christian liberal arts college outside of Branson, Mo., told Fox News on Friday. “We think that’s needed, especially because of the culture in which we live. We have 99 percent of us being — having our safety secured by less than 1 percent of the military. And we think the general public needs to have a better understanding of the military.”

Davis suggested that any athlete who takes a knee during the pledge of allegiance is disrespecting the military, whether he or she intends to do so or not.

“We don’t plan on playing another team that refuses to stand,” he declared. “We think that’s disrespectful and we think we owe the military more than that. Some people say that it’s not about the military. Well, that’s who usually brings the flag out when we do the national anthem.”

The college president shot back with this powerful statement: “We think it’s not encouraging to somebody, for example, who might be in Afghanistan risking their lives to come home and see some spoiled millionaire making a statement against the very country they are trying to defend.”

Fox News’ Ainsley Earhardt noted that the full name of the patriotism class is “Patriotic education and fitness.” In addition to teaching about the military, it involves “rifle marksmanship, map reading, and rope knotting.”

Davis explained that the course “basically … includes what we would find at ROTC 101 at most campuses.”

“If you are going to teach young people about the values that identify, there is no better way to do that than in cooperation with the United States military,” the president said.

While the class may sound heavy-handed, there is research to suggest that too many Americans are segregated from veterans and active members of the military. Bloomberg’s Justin Fox recently published an article titled, “Why You Don’t Know Anybody in the Military.”

Fox noted that active-duty military now make up just 0.4 percent of the U.S. population, and some states have a vanishingly small proportion of veterans and active military members. It is quite possible that large sections of the country have never met a single serviceman or woman.

“We think the general public needs to have a better understanding of the military,” Davis concluded. “And we think our students need to get that background, too, before they go out in the world and — we hope — make a difference.”