Let it Fly

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As many already know, a major controversy has been ongoing in Marion County Florida over the issue of a confederate flag. It seems some want it removed. Last week, interim County Administrator Bill Kauffman made the decision to remove it in response to the mass shooting that happened at a South Carolina church. However, a majority vote led to the hoisting of the bars and stars once again.

I have never been a fan of the confederate flag. To me, as with many others, it symbolizes a dark part of US History that should be buried in the past. But it seems to me that so many people want to keep this symbol alive. On one hand people view this flag as a beacon of hatred. That could be because the KKK and other white supremacy groups, mainly in the 20th century, flew it at their rallies and streamed it from their cars as they made the worst expressions of hate, both verbal and physical. So, should a group of racist morons be allowed to tarnish a piece of history that many others hold in high esteem? The answer is no…in the south at least. But perhaps that’s not a non biased party. Several people who were interviewed over the controversy stated that the flag is a cherished part of their heritage. It somehow reminds them of where they came from. It’s a symbol of pride and honor to them. I can’t help but to think to myself, “pride in what? Pride in slavery? I doubt that. Pride in a failed attempt at maintaining independence? Certainly not. Pride over being the hotbed of racism towards and murder of minorities for over a century after the civil war? Probably want to forget that one. What could it be that they are prideful of?” My inner monologue may have been a little sarcastic. So I started to think of other symbols that could be similar. The state flag of Texas, the loan star state, has been a symbol of their hard-fought independence for well over 100 years. Did Texas have slaves? You bet they did. The difference lies in the application of the flag thus the association for on-lookers is altered.

Truth is, the Confederate Flag was a battle flag for people who felt oppressed by, or more accurately feared the oppression of a powerful government. In fact, it wasn’t even the original flag of the Confederacy. It was adopted two years into the war originating in Virginia. So the question could arise, was the south’s struggle different from that of Texas. Not as different as you might think. How about another beloved symbol of rebellion…the American Flag. Did the American colonies have slaves? You bet they did. But the first flag was different from the one today wasn’t it? Only in the number of stars. Do we associate ‘old glory’ with slavery and racism, both of which happened under its banner? Maybe some but I strongly doubt Americans would make that cconnection. The point I’m trying to make is that the confederate flag is a symbol of independence. I believe it to be interwoven into the fabric of life in the Southern culture. It’s a picture for many that represents the common attitude of most Americans that’s says, “don’t tread on me government!”

This might be hard to imagine but had the United States lost to Britian, or Texas lost to Mexico, those flags would be extremely controversial. Side note, the U.S. started as a confederacy just like the seven states that broke away in the 1860’s. But I find it hard to believe that Britain or Mexico would be fine with their colonies flying symbols of rebellion. But the United States of America is neither of them. This is the land of freedom, a land where people may express themselves as long as it isn’t illegal or insight something illegal. Like it or not Marion County has every right to fly that flag whether I’m offended or you are offended by its symbolism. Mr. Kauffman’s response to the shooting by taking the flag down shows that the South is still sensitive to the issue of brutal racial violence, which has been fueled by the deaths of black men by white cops (which is a whole other topic I’m not getting into…now anyways). But the public outcry to put the flag up shows that the flag is about far more than that, and possibly for many, has nothing to do with it.

I close with this. Jesus Christ calls us to not lay a stumbling block before our brothers and sisters and to live at peace with all in so much as it depends on us. Would I wave a symbol that could offend because it is linked to a ruthless past? Not a chance. The mission of the believer is to be gracious towards others, and loving, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. But do I have a right to tell people to not fly a flag that means more to them than what racist bigots made it into? Nope. But believe me, if the south started flying that flag to promote injustice I’d be the among the first in line to dread that flag under foot. For now, I’m going to devote more time to praying for healing and forgiveness, both of which can be found in full measure in Christ. God bless!

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2 thoughts on “Let it Fly

  1. Watching this take place on the news, I have had a several reactions. The first one being disgust over what I feel that flag represents to me. As you mentioned, slavery and segregation. Why do they always seem to want to stand apart from the rest of the country? Why are they proud of that flag? I don’t understand why they can fly it on government properties in place of the American flag. Are we a country united?

    But, I began to think of myself. I have a huge metal cross on my property that all can see as they drive by. Does that offend some? Probably, but is it my right to have it on my property? Absolutely! My property is does not belong to the government though.

    I also began to think of our rights being taken away at a rapid rate in this country. We have stood by and let go of so many things that our founding father’s fought so hard to insure. We do not seem to be united on any front except to tear this country from its foundations. We were created “under God” and we have strayed so far from that principle and His Word.

    As a follower of Christ, I am aware of how my rights and beliefs are being viewed in this country by people who are adamant about stamping out my beliefs. Maybe, this is the same situation. Just because I don’t understand their view concerning the confederate flag does not mean they should lose their right to fly it. The majority of the people want it and I don’t understand why our government is allowed to overrule them. This is happening quite often. Some government officials will use any excuse to advance their own personal cause.

    While I do not have a love for the confederate flag, I do respect their sovereign right to vote in their county.

    GOD BLESS AMERICA! AND MAY AMERICA BLESS GOD!

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  2. I remember when I moved to Georgia from California, I had rarely interacted with anyone who was Black since the Central Coast of California was almost exclusively White and Hispanic. It did not take long though to find out that being white was all that was needed to get you threatened cussed out knocked around and hated by those that didn’t even know your name but could see the color of your skin. It was a 2 year experience that I will never forget and it has helped to shape my views on race even to this day. I do remember the flag that is commonly referred to as the Confederate Flag being flown in some instances. I have never associated it myself with racism although I can fully appreciate how many do. It is a historical element and it should be flown in that context rather than a State Flag, pretending the confederacy didn’t happen or removing its symbols will serve no good purpose for our Country. Remembering our mistakes is perhaps more important than remembering our successes. The truth of the matter is that this flag is not the problem with what ails us in regards to race, remove every symbol of racism in the entire country and it will not make a bit of difference in how people view and treat others that are different than themselves.

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