Oppose Flag Idolatry

Oppose Flag Idolatry

Oppose the “Flag Anti-desecration” Amendment.

First off, notice the language of religion and the sacred here. To “desecrate” is to violate the sacredness of something. To be “anti-desecration” is to be against the violation of the sacred. This assumes that the flag is holy, sacred, sanctified, blessed, consecrated.

The American flag should not be made into a golden calf, a graven image; to worship the symbol would be a grave mistake.*

Making a “holy” thing of the American flag is a form of idolatry. The flag is only a piece of cloth. It is wrong to worship a flag. (On this one issue I still agree with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.)

The flag is, at its best, an emblem or symbol of the United States of America. To focus on the symbol is a way of forgetting that to which it points. What it’s meant to stand for are things like our constitutionally-protected rights and values, our freedom, our democracy. (Unfortunately, in some places it stands for other things.)

It is also symbolic of America that we don’t worship a flag. Have one, don’t worship it. We have freedom of expression. Criticism of actions and policies of our government is also a form of patriotism, and part of a functional democracy in the land of the free.

The more important and “sacred” the flag becomes, the uglier the country becomes (including ours). There is a huge difference between patriotism and nationalism. Self-aborbed nationalism is a dead end in our world. We are crossing that line into a major fall already.

Of course, if they somehow pass this thing, a lot of Americans are going to be in deep trouble some weeks after Independence Day (you know, that celebration now referred to as “4th of July”) when ratty flags start getting reported. Maybe that’s one way to start people snitching on one another. Maybe it would even stop the practice of requiring that international students pledge their loyalty in homeroom to a piece of cloth that signifies a country that isn’t even theirs. Or not. (I wonder how many Americans would tolerate that in another country?)

Why are these pseudo-Christians so tied up with flag issues? You’d think they might see the idolatry in it, but maybe not. The current governor of Georgia got elected on the Confederate flag.

What a cowardly path to take. With so many more important issues and challenges facing us, this transparently political strategy is yet another issue aimed at igniting hate and fanning its flames. Like so many other interpretations held by this administration, it is profoundly anti-American. I suppose that anyone who happens to mention that freedom of expression is a Constitutional right, and that enforced patriotism in a democracy seems a little strange will then be called “treasonous”?

We would do better in this global economy to open up to other friendly countries, rather than set ourselves so pridefully and arrogantly above all others. We aren’t in the Crusades or the Inquisitions or the Witch Hunts (not yet anyway). We’re not going to accept Bush as a king, an emperor, or (a) god.

We’re not ready to say “Heil,” not even in Georgia.

The flag itself is meaningful as a symbol of our freedom and democracy, neither of which seem particularly valuable to this administration.

Oppose the “Flag Anti-desecration” Amendment. Oppose flag idolatry.

Oh, and Congress? Get off this constitutional amendment kick. We all know you have something better to do.

*Nelson, I rewrote this a bit after yr email (but yes, it’s a pun). Post revised June 14th.

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7 thoughts on “Oppose Flag Idolatry

  1. This one drives me nuts. Well, mostly everything they do drives me nuts. But this one gets on my nerves. You see, they really need to read a book or something — the one Supreme Court case that isn’t as well know that I know the title of is Texas v. Johnson, the case that they declared flagburing was protected under the first amendment. So how exactly they thing they can try this, yet again, is beyond me, but then I guess it really shouldn’t. LOL It’s an election year.

    Lois

  2. I once explained it this way: we live in a country so free and so strong that we can stand and watch one of our most beloved symbols destroyed, feel anger at the disrespect implied and yet know in our hearts that the very freedom to do so is what ensures the republic’s strength and endurance.

  3. I guess if there’s anything scarier than our corporate sponsored leaders, it may be that they’re capable of duping such a large segment of the population. Flag waving, gay bashing, prayer in schools – I mean, excuse me, but who gives a frank shit? Ya wanna pray – pray! I pray. I don’t need anyone to publically make time for it. In the gospels, Jesus says, “Ya wanna pray? Go in your room to pray and close the door behind you. Don’t make a big public show of it.” (That’s not a quote, but a very accurate paraphrase.) These guys just pick over the bible for whatever quotes suit their purposes. Period. That’s what they do.

    Meanwhile, with such burning “issues” taking up congressional time whenever they manage to get leave from their most recent vacation or break, minor stuff like health care, poverty, global warming and the environment, just goes by the wayside…

  4. I second Darius’s comment. Actually, really, I think that flag burning is a crappy thing to do, I mean, what a person is doing when they ‘“desecrate” on it, is that they are saying that this so- and-so symbol (that means ‘this’) and ‘this’ I hate and despise or I think is wrong so I will burn it as a way of telling you how I feel about ‘this’.

    My point is that symbols mean different things to different people, for “flag burner’ the flag is a image of oppression. For the patriot the flag is a symbol of his love of nation. To burn it is a crappy thing to do I think because what is burnt isn’t really what the flag burner intends. Am I making sense? I think it is more a sign of powerlessness, because the flag burner can’t affect the oppresion he sees, so he burns an effigy of it instead.

    I think I am ranting. sorry. But yes! I agree, it is mearly a deversion “issue”, I mean I can’t afford to pay my health bills, gas, and groceries – who frickin cares if a few people get angry at a piece of cloth? What is wrong with these people, isn’t there something more important to be solving??

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