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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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