If you are reading this from another country or possibly from a state other than Mississippi, you might not know what this is all about, but it's big in the news and on social media so maybe you are familiar with it. I started this post on facebook, but I don't like to put really long posts there, so I moved it here. There is a new controversy, in the ongoing controversy, over what some mistakenly call the Confederate flag and our own state flag here in Mississippi. I wasn't going to say anything about this, but, well, I couldn't help it. So here it is. I am getting a good bit more political than I like to on this blog. Please forgive me for that.
I've been silent on the "flag thing", listening to (reading) calm, respectful arguments from both sides as well as extremes on both sides. I understand why some people are against the "rebel flag" and our state flag. Certainly it has been carried and displayed by groups and individuals who intended everything from mild irritation or harassment to bringing great harm to certain segments of our population. Certainly men who supported slavery, and those who didn't care either way, fought under that flag and some such, even, fought under the flags of the Northern Army. So, yes, I understand that it is a symbol of oppression to a lot of people for the way it has been misused.
Aesthetically speaking, I think both the Battle flag and our State flag are beautiful. Symbolically, to me, they are not symbols of oppression, but of a heritage of love of family, state, and country, as in the USA. Yes, The United States. Good, honorable men fought under that flag. Their purpose was not the continuation of slavery nor the oppression of any people, but the defense, preservation, and protection of their homes. That's all most had. Many of the officers of the Confederacy were former soldiers and officers of the United States military. They loved their country. However, they could not participate, nor stand idly by, when their nation was marshaling forces for military action against their home states. I understand as well that all that means different things to different people.
BUT, concerning our present situation, what do you expect to happen if and when the battle flag is vilified and removed from all sight and our state flag is changed? Do you really think racial reconciliation is going to happen over this issue? If that were the case I would be all for it, but that is not the goal of those clamoring for these changes. Oh, that it were!! All of this is just one more coal in the boiler of an evermore powerful locomotive called political correctness that is designed to break the back of our entire nation. It carries a far more sinister purpose than has ever been attributed to these "symbols". That is not to lessen the evil of slavery but to point out the weight of oppression that is driving this agenda.
Maybe a discussion of these flags and the history and feelings behind them needs to take place. Maybe cooler heads need to come together and prevail with understandings gained and agreement reached and whatever happens from that happens. But, now is not the time. If you bring down the flag now you will be bringing down far more than a symbol, whatever you might think of it.
This is all about a political agenda. Shame on those who are exploiting the tragic deaths of those 9 fine people, our brothers and sisters in Christ, for their own political gain! And praises for those who are instead seeking to come together in love and support for the hurting.
You can change every flag in the country and you will have changed nothing other than the patterns and colors being raised and lowered as banners representing our various peoples. Reconciliation, racial or otherwise, has never come, and never will come without change of heart. Divisive words from those in leadership and influential positions, no matter how they are prettied-up, are not going to heal anyone. We need leaders who are not on a power trip, but are on a leadership trip. We need leaders who can start the dialogue. We need major media outlets that present and promote truth. People like me writing this post can't do it.
Our nation is more divided now than it has been since the 60's. Hearts changed and minds changed in those times and people came together. It took time, but it happened. We can still do that, and we can do it better. But, we have to put leaders in office, not lawyers and career politicians. We need to tell those out there now to shut up with the symbolism and to speak and act in truth and with substance. We need a nation of citizens who demand truth, liberty, and justice for ALL.
Above all, Christians, it is up to us! We must pray and seek God. It is us, those called by His name, that He has called upon to repent and to pray. It is to the faithless rebellion or the faithful obedience of His children that God responds. We need to reach out to the lost around us and speak of God's great love and His gift of salvation that only comes through Jesus Christ. It is only then that a pure love for ALL people is made fully possible. It is than that we are actually brought into the same family. Our own attempts at reconciliation are pitiful compared to what Jesus can do.
If a banner is to be raised, the love of Christ is a banner that must be held high.
"You have given a banner to those who fear You,That it may be displayed because of the truth." Psalm 60:4
"And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." John 12:32
PS Here's your video. . . . a moving and powerful presentation of just who all those flags and banners flew above.