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Doug Wilson ON The Flag

Posted: June 24, 2015 in Uncategorized

http://dougwils.com/s7-engaging-the-culture/a-stars-and-bars-oddball-gallery.html

A few final words concerning the furor over the Confederate Battle Flag and also its presence on the flag of Mississippi.

I was asked by a brother on Twitter why I support this banner. He asked in such a way that I felt it to be well-mannered to respond.

1. I stated yesterday in my post that I recognize that we can most probably have a state banner in Mississippi that better represents the whole of our state. I would not oppose a referendum on that at a time when cooler heads prevail among us. Right now, too many are running on emotions rather than reason.

Cool off and wait. That’s good advice in most situations.

2. To many of us in the South, that flag represents a certain respect for our heritage.

At 43 years of age, I never experienced segregation. I went to public schools with black, white, and people from other ethnic backgrounds from the very beginning. We didn’t discuss these things among us. As we played, we played separately, and then we played together: all simply due to where we gravitated on any given day. Black people weren’t singled out for oppression, mistreatment, or any other such nefarious things. They had a place at the table with us all, both literally and figuratively.

Growing up as a country boy in south Mississippi, I listened to country music. Never did I hear any racist songs there. It was from that music that I began to gain a respect for my heritage. From that and the fact that I sensed that many from other regions may not have held much care for us in the South. Seeing no reason that we should be despised, I felt that we should certainly be counted as equal to people from all other regions.

When I was 14 years of age, I bought a cap with a rebel flag, and a pin that expressed Southern pride. Why? Because I love my home state, and I love Dixie. I love the South. I wore that hat to school, and there were no negative comments from anyone. None! Why? It wasn’t because black people were scared to say anything. Most of them could have whooped me in a heartbeat! It was because people didn’t care, because they knew that I was simply a good-ole boy who sought to harm no one.

And we didn’t think about slavery as anything other than something that had long since ceased to be.

And, generally, we didn’t think of racism too much. Oh, of course, there were the sophomoric jokes of school boys who huddled and whispered ill-conceived jokes at times. Those same school boys would then hold conversation with people of the opposite color with no further thought to what had been said. That happened, not because it wasn’t wrong to make racial wise-cracks, but because we were simply silly children who meant no harm. Oppression simply didn’t happen.

To many of us, that Confederate Battle Flag was a symbol of resilience and hope. The South has long been at the bottom of too many lists of good things, and at the top of too many lists of bad things. We were glad to be from the South, and we were expecting things to get better. We truly believe “The South will rise again!” We were convinced that a better day was coming for our region. Some of that has happened, but we’re far from where we need to be.

2. I support the Confederate Battle Flag because I understand that there will be more than one side to a subject, and that those who oppose that flag are often operating myopically. Too many simply refuse to entertain a viewpoint that is not theirs.

Perhaps this post will help the discussion.

3. I support the Confederate Battle Flag because I believe that people are acting out of far too much bias toward white Southerners.

Consider the words of Dr. Anthony Brantley:

Lower-class white people need the Confederate flag as a sacramental sign and seal reminding them that they are not what elites have always believed them to be: lazy, stupid, immoral and dirty. The flag says, “No, we will define our white dignity on Southern terms.” Unfortunately, those Southern terms were forged during a history of black subjugation and violence. The greatest resistance, however, to the evil terms of the Southern states’ right to white supremacy was the black church. “Mother Emmanuel” was at the head of those churches. Dylan Roof murderously revisited the historic Southern, lower-class struggle for true whiteness on June 17, 2015. Hopefully not only will he fail but he also will ignite public resolve to address such animosities and atone for America’s greatest sin.

Did you see that?

Go back and read it again.

Yes, he said it. “Lower-class white people need the Confederate flag…” He went there. He said it. But it’s those of us who respect that flag who are the racists, he believes. That’s quite shameful. Dr. Brantley painted a large number of people who are good citizens as trashy racists. There’s no way around that, and it’s very, very saddening.

Please don’t be so myopic as to think that everyone’s view on the flag must be the same as yours.

I respect that there are those who don’t like the flag. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone should be free to respectfully express that opinion.

I simply desire that people take the time to educate themselves, not only about the war, but about the people of the South. Stereotyping doesn’t help us much at all.

4. Finally, consider the logical end of the cultural cleansing that seeks to remove these things from the public eye: we will have to remove EVERYTHING that ever causes anyone offense- or at least those things that cause offense to those who have the most political clout and whose votes are being courted.

We should seek balance. I’ve already seen calls for the Stars and Stripes to be taken down.

Let’s stop it.

Let’s cool off.

Let’s think and pray.

And then let’s act afterward.

We can do that, and we can do it in love.

Interestingly enough, there are those who by means of eisegesis have decided that I am for the Confederate Battle Flag flying in perpetuity. Not only did I not say that, but that is by no means my position.

Here are some things that should be considered:

1. Christian people should not condemn their brothers with whom they disagree concerning this issue.

 When I read that somehow or another the Confederate Battle Flag cannot coexist with the cross, I find it quite a shameful statement. The two coexisted for over a century, because many understand that their love for Jesus and their fellow man is not defined by a flag, but by God’s Word.

Furthermore, Dr. Moore’s beloved Southern Baptist Convention was birthed in the Antebellum days, and he cannot consistently say that the cross and Confederate Battle Flag cannot coexist, because he would then be forced to deny that his SBC forefathers were Christians. After all, one cannot eat his cake and have it, too.

While speaking of the offense caused by the Confederate Battle Flag, Dr. Moore and others, in rashly condemning those of us who resent such simplified condemnation of their Christian brothers, haven’t considered the offense they are giving. Christian charity should be shown by those on BOTH SIDES of the issue.

Another troubling thing about stating that the Confederate Battle Flag cannot coexist with the cross is the very ahistorical nature of the statement. The Confederate Battle Flag is a Saint Andrew’s Cross, and it’s history is closely tied to the Scottish heritage of many in the South. Not only so, but it is historically connected to the Cross of Jesus Christ.

And, if we must disavow everything that has been used in an offensive manner,mplease remember that Westboro Baptist uses the Bible offensively,and the KKK burned crosses for evil reasons. I hardly think that good, Christian brothers truly wish for their desires and attitudes to reach their logical conclusions.

2. We can certainly design a banner that represents us as we are today (Though I think said banner, if fully representative, would be humiliating to Christians, considering the advanced stated of our religious and societal decay.), but when should that be done?

We are counseled in God’s Word that hastiness often results in sin (Proverbs 19:2), and that we should be slow to speak when full of angry passion (James 1:19-21). Where is the Christian restraint that my brothers should be showing?

Let us cool off, reflect, and pray,and THEN make a decision based upon mature, Christian reflection.

3. Finally, professing Christians need to consider their blanket condemnations of those who disagree with them. To jump to conclusions, speak and judge without having a true understanding of one’s brothers (Proverbs 18:13), and to imply that they are haters and/or lesser Christians is to show the same judgmental and divisive spirit one professes to hate. Do you remember the mote and the beam?

(Note: I was born and raised in the South. I’m a Mississippi boy, and grateful that I am. As far as I know, I own no Confederate Flag. I write this essay because bigotry goes two ways, and too many people don’t realize this history behind the things we face today.)

The Cry Of Hatred: “Take It Down!”

The cry is heard from here and yon, “Take it down!” they say.

“It’s a symbol of hatred,” they say.

“It’s offensive,” they say.

It’s amazing that such cries are going up from the mouths of those who wish for liberty, those who say that they believe in the ideals of the founders of the United States of America. After all, the cry, “Take it down!” is a cry against freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Shouldn’t people have a choice in the matter? It’s obvious that the only freedom of choice that is before us is the freedom to choose as we are told to choose. That is what is amazing.

But what about the Confederate Flag? Is it a symbol of hatred?

The answer is swift and simple. Yes, it is a symbol of hatred.

But the Confederate Battle Flag is not a symbol of racial hatred, as we have been told that we must believe. The Confederate Battle Flag is a symbol of the hatred of oppression.

We are told that the evil Southerners wanted to perpetuate the system of slavery, and that the righteous North found that slavery could only be ended by means of war.

That simply is not true.

Jefferson Davis, in his “The Rise And Fall Of The Confederate Government,” stated that the Southerners had already banned the importing of slaves into the country. He also stated that the South had already moved to cap the number of slaves, so that slavery would not grow. This meant that emancipation was going to happen incrementally, because of attrition.

The problem wasn’t that the South wanted to expand slavery either. The issues surrounding the Missouri Compromise and the North West Territory were contentious issues that were tied to slavery, but were not about the expansion of slavery.

You see, Davis knew that, if new states became slave-holding states, slave-holders from the South would move into those states. That would lessen the number of slaves in slave-holding states, as well as leading to the eventual emancipation of the slaves in the new states because of attrition. The cap on the number of slaves allowed would make this happen. The North refused to allow any new states to become slave states, so they helped prolong the slave trade instead of helping to end it.

The North, however, had other plans. The Northern leaders despised the Southern people. There were various tariffs and taxes laid on goods exported from the North into the South. The South was bearing the burden of taxation and the support of the government. This was economically oppressive, and the South sought relief in Washington.

As new states came into the Union, they were more closely allied to the North, due to the North refusing to honor the promises and circumstances relating to the Missouri Compromise. This was a practical form of gerry-mandering that led to the North becoming more powerful than the South, and helped prolong the North’s oppression of the South.

Davis went so far as to say that the first abolitionists were actually British agents who sought to undermine and destroy the Union. Their cry was taken up by those who hated the South so that the drums of war began to beat. Still, the Southern Congressmen sought to preserve the Union; yet they were rebuffed.

When the Union Army sought to maintain Fort Sumter, that was an act of military hostility against South Carolina. Thus, South Carolina fired on the supply boat that was headed to the fort. Maintaining the fort was a hateful act of war.

Then, when the Confederacy needed a battle flag that was distinct from the flag of the Union, a flag was made with a Saint Andrew’s Cross. Yes, a cross. Despite the moral failure of many Southerners regarding slavery and the black man, many were Christians. Thus they fought under a Christian symbol that was closely related to the biblical crucifix.

Why did they fight? Many, no doubt, did indeed fight to maintain slavery; and that was a sin and a shame. Many more did not fight for slavery, but they fought to defend their homeland against an invading force that hated them.

Yes, the Confederate Flag is a symbol of hatred. It is a symbol of the hatred of the North for the South, and a symbol of the hatred the South held for oppression and invasion.

Was the South perfect? We all know that they were not. Neither, however, was the North. Let us not forget the horrible atrocities committed during the march toward Atlanta. Let us not forget that the Union soldiers burned and pillaged for no good reason. You see, sin was committed on both sides in the war.

Here we are, one hundred-fifty years after the war, and it still isn’t over. Reconstruction served only to solidify Northern dominion over the Southern people. The stain of racism has been lightened to a greater degree than many wish to admit, though there are those who tend to fan the flames as often as they can. But I must ask the simple question, what states tend to be on the list of the poor, unhealthy, and downtrodden? Yes, those are most often Southern states. Yes, after all of this time, little has changed; and the war still seems to rage.

“Take it down!” they say.

“It symbolizes hatred!” they cry.

Yes, it does. It symbolizes the hatred of being oppressed, hated, and maligned as the evil ones. It symbolizes the hatred of being told that one is a racist simply because he knows a bit about his history. It symbolizes the hatred of being told that one is a bigot simply because of where he was born, and where he lives. It symbolizes the hatred of the lie that implies that one cannot be a good a good soldier of the cross of Jesus while appreciating the Saint Andrew’s cross which reminds one of his Saviour, Jesus Christ, as well as reminding us of those who shed their blood attempting to repel an army of hateful invaders who were hell-bent on destroying a nation full of professing Christians.

Perhaps we ought to allow our brothers and sisters the freedom of speech. Perhaps we ought to show our brothers and sisters Christian charity. I hold no animosity toward my brothers and sisters who are from the North. I hold no animosity toward those who are from the South who disagree with me on this issue. But, Christian brothers and sisters should be able to disagree with much more charity than I see in this debate.