Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Confederate flag controversy

The battle flag of the gone-but-not-forgotten Confederate States of America is to many a symbol of pride, and to many others a symbol of hate. Pride in our southern heritage, in ancestors who fought for the "Lost Cause" in America's Civil War ("There was nothing civil about that war!"). Tears come to many eyes, and goose pimples rise on many arms as the Stars and Bars is flown and "Dixie" is sung. Thoughts come to mind of dirt country roads, pick-up trucks with open backs, fishin' holes and swimmin' holes, cotton and watermelons and fried chicken.

The flag and the song bring to some a feeling of fear, of images of burning crosses, white-robed strangers, and unspeakable violence done to friends and loved ones. Of years, decades, of injustice, of Jim Crow, of dogs, firehoses, and four little girls in a church, and nine adults in another church.

The Bible tells us, "29 Jesus answered, “The greatest is, ‘Hear, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one: 30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’✡ This is the first commandment. 31 The second is like this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’✡ There is no other commandment greater than these.” " (World English Bible, public domain)

If we love our neighbors, we want to do good to them, and not evil. We want to show them we love them, not hate them. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus taught that everyone is our neighbor. We should not give them feelings of fear and distrust because of our own "Southern pride." (Pride is a sin, after all.)
Therefore, the Confederate flag does not belong in public places, on official state or city property, on T-shirts or belt buckles, on auto tags, decals, or bumper stickers. This is my opinion; many will and do disagree. That is their right. I am not personally offended by anyone's display, but I am sad that they have no consideration for the feelings of others.

Where, if anywhere, does the Confederate flag belong?
I see nothing wrong with including it in a city seal, representing one of many governmental entities that have ruled over that city, such as Mobile, Alabama. The City Council just voted to change the seal, removing all the flags but one, the American flag.

Here is the "old" seal: />
Image courtesy of wikimedia commons

I also think it is appropriate to place small Confederate flags at the graves of fallen Confederate soldiers in Civil War cemeteries. After all, it was the flag that those soldiers fought under. This is being legislated against in various places, including the U. S. Park Service.

Image courtesy of Religion News Service. This image is available for web and print publication.

What do you think? Do you think the Stars and Bars should be flown everywhere, nowhere, or some times and some places? Why?

(Edited to remove large image of Confederate battle flag at top of post. I disliked seeing it there, especially on Facebook.)