The flag

Lots of good stuff.


1) I have no idea who Stephen Ingram is (a friend shared on FB), but what a terrific post.  Read it:

Contrary to what you might think, I am not here to argue with these historical claims.  I really do not care what they “historically” may or may not have stood for.  Are rebel flags appropriate?  Sure, in movies, museums and history books that recount the civil war it make sense because it has context.  Which is the problem we are facing today, context…

Take the swastika for example.  It was a symbol that was very prevalent in eastern religions and even early Christianity.  You can find it in unbelievable amounts of ancient art, pottery and architecture.  It was benign and decorative.

That is the heritage and history of the swastika.

That is until it was adopted by the SS and Hitler’s Nazi Germany.  It is a symbol and the definition of that symbol changed, and changed dramatically.  It was assigned a new definition, a definition of hate and genocide.

Here is the problem with the “it’s not racist, it is a symbol of our heritage” argument.  It makes assumptions about the static nature of symbols that are simply wrong.

The meaning of symbols are fluid, they are never static.  When a majority of people understand the symbol to point to another definition then the definition of that symbol changes.

When KKK members adopted it as the symbol of their hate, it changed.

When it was waved proudly as a banner for segregationists, it changed.

When it became synonymous with burning crosses, white hoods and ropes thrown over magnolia trees looped around lifeless brown necks.  It. Changed.

If you want to wear the “stars and bars” on a t-shirt or hat, be my guest.

If you want to fly it proudly on your lawn, go ahead.

If you want to make it a law that it has to fly on the lawn of your state capitol, feel free.

But know this…

When you do this you are throwing your lot in with racists, segregationists, white supremacists, neo-nazis, bigots and murderers.  You will be counted, not among a group of people supposedly celebrating “heritage” but among those whose lips drip with the venom of hate.

You have free speech, that is true, but that speech is not without consequence.  Consequences like what we saw a few days ago in Charleston.

Let me be clear the rebel flag did not cause that man to kill those 9 people meeting for prayer and worship.  [emphasis in original] It is just the primary symbol of a sick and vile sub-culture that produces people like that man who killed those 9 people meeting for prayer and worship.

2) Hooray– Republican presidential candidates are finally ashamed enough to admit this is about racism.  But, boy is it fun watching them try to dance around the issue of what to do about the flag.

3) Political Scientist (and expert on Southern politics), Keith Gaddie:

My Christianity is highly suspect. But I do find scripture instructive. After I saw @ChadAlexander‘s fine post arguing for the removal of the Confederate flag I started flipping through a Bible. I landed on 1 Corinthians 13:11: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

This is the only scripture you need to understand what to do with the Confederacy and the flag.

The slaveholders and their yeoman farmer militiamen were on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of the outcome, and the wrong side of Christianity. The last defenders of racism and slavery in Protestantism, the Southern Baptist Convention, repudiated slavery and segregation in 1968. As the SBC’s Richard Moore recently observed:

“In order to prop up this system, a system that benefited the Mammonism of wealthy planters, Southern religion had to carefully weave a counter-biblical theology that could justify it (the biblically ridiculous “curse of Ham” concept, for instance). In so doing, this form of Southern folk religion was outside of the global and historic teachings of the Christian church.”

The time to consider the Confederate flag as a mature symbol of anything responsible has long since passed.

4) A nice Wonkblog interview providing historical context.

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