Commander's Column: Offensive Flags
Are we to accept and believe that the noble Confederate Battle flag is more offensive than the ISIS flag or the gay pride flag? Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez gunned down four Marines at a recruiting office in an overt act of Islamic domestic terrorism. Overt for all but the main stream media and White House talking heads who chose to ignore the root cause of the violent act. Abdulazeez traveled to the Mideast including Yemen and blogged about Allah and Islam but any such association was ignored in favor of casting a lack of responsibility on his depression and drug abuse. “The widely used flag embraced by ISIS as well as Al-Shabab and Al-Qaeda includes a white banner at the top of the black flag which reads, “There is no god but Allah. Mohammad is the messenger of Allah.” Underneath is a white circle emblazoned with black writing reading "Mohammed is the messenger of God", which is meant to resemble the Prophet’s seal. This phrase is a declaration of faith used across Islam, and is known as the shahada.” (Kashmira Gander, independent.co.uk, July 6, 2015) Wonderful stuff for all our children here in Prattville, across Alabama and from sea to shining sea to appreciate and embrace, no? Of course, also acknowledging and holding dear the ISIS jihadist tenet of executing Christians, raping women, and destroying historical ancient heritage sites. Great ideals to hold in esteem and, cause certainly to proudly fly this Islamic flag. Interestingly, “Charlie Winter, a senior researcher on Jihadism at the counter-extremism think tank the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-terrorism institute explains the flag is in fact not unique to ISIS, “A lot of people talk about the Isis flag or the Islamic State flag, however there is no such thing. It’s a flag they have adopted that has political and theological significance” and further explains that Isis “has done a good job of co-opting” the flag for their cause.” (Gander) But let’s not jump to the extreme and ban the flag just because some ne’er do well ISIS organization co-opts what is otherwise such a wonderful flag, yes?
But what of the bright gay symbol of the LGBT movement whose proponents gained legal recognition and credence by our own Supreme Court of the land of the free and home of the brave. We have all loved that rainbow since Sesame Street featured it to teach us about the pallete of colors. It’s the symbol of God’s promise to his creation that he would never again flood the earth as punishment for our sins, “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” (Genesis 9:13) But what a more inclusive and wonderful co-opting of the rainbow symbol to use to symbolize the same sex perversion of God’s design which we should certainly appreciate as a heartfelt beautiful expression of our societies diversity. Never mind that “police reportedly confiscated a gay pride flag from the apartment of Vester Lee Flanagan, the 41 year-old black journalist who murdered two white Virginia reporters on live television at WDBJ in Virginia in an apparent hate crime.” But let’s illuminate the White House in rainbow colors and fly the LGBT rainbow flag at embassies across the world at taxpayers expense to celebrate our LGBT neighbors. Notwithstanding that “the gay pride rainbow flag reportedly found in Flanagan’s apartment is seen by many as a symbol of anti-Christian hate. In a manifesto faxed to ABC News, Flanagan, an Obama-supporter, claimed that his motive involved a “race war.” Flanagan was black and gay and apparently angered by the fact that he had been a victim of racism and homophobia at the hands of “black men and white women.” (John Nolte, Breitbart.com, 8/27/2015) Thank goodness he didn’t finger white Southern men flying Confederate Battle flags. Who knows what additional Confederate vestiges would be removed by placating pandering politicians.
I choose to fly my Confederate Battle flag. This historical flag is the flag my great grandfathers fought under at bloody battlefields like Gettysburg and Petersburg. This is the beloved flag that Lee’s troops resisted forfeiting with teary eyes in surrender at Appomattox. “Slowly and with a reluctance that was appealingly pathetic, the torn and tattered battleflags were either leaned against the stacks or laid upon the ground. The emotion of the conquered soldiery was really sad to witness. Some of the men who had carried and followed those ragged standards through the four long years of strife, rushed, regardless of all discipline, from the ranks, bent about their old flags, and pressed them to their lips with burning tears.” So recounts the journal of Major-General Joshua L. Chamberlain (Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. XXXII, Richmond, Va., January -December. 1904). This beautiful Christian St. Andrews cross has since been embraced as a symbol of resistance to tyranny across the globe, from Korea to West Berlin to the Ukraine. As such, the Confederate Battle flag should never be lowered but should be raised and flown precisely as a symbol of heritage and a statement of resistance “to tyranny over the freedom of expression, tyranny over the freedom of association, tyranny over the freedom of speech, and tyranny over the freedom of conscience” (Chuck Baldwin, Northerntruthseeker.com, 7/13/2015). Dylann Roof’s actions do not lessen or diminish the sacrifice, bravery and heroism our Confederate ancestors demonstrated. While some have co-opted the flag to represent hate groups, the Sons of Confederate Veterans has steadfastly sought to commemorate the Battle flag as that of the Confederate soldier, an embodiment of his virtues and ideals and that of the Cause. These are our ancestors, our family. This is our Southern heritage. Keep it flying!