confederate flagIn order to provide a little balance to articles published at Caffeinated Thoughts Thursday on the subject of the Confederate flag from Adam Graham and Keith Rockefeller, I am compelled to provide a different perspective.

While I understand the points both made, but I want to lay aside the politics of this issue for a minute.  I am not talking to the body politic at the moment, but those of you who read this website who have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

How should I as a Christian approach this situation?  While I don’t want to restrict anyone’s free speech rights, I know that as a follower of Christ I must on occasion restrain my “right” for the edification of my brothers and sisters in Christ.  As I look at this situation many have made this about how they personally view the Confederate flag.  Frankly that’s irrelevant, how I view the flag doesn’t matter.  How do my African-American brothers and sisters in Christ view the flag?  That is what matters.

To many of them it is a symbol of hatred and of our national shame.  The Confederate flag was a symbol for Dixiecrats who supported Jim Crow laws – laws that are contrary to what the Bible teaches.  For others it is a symbol of slavery which was also a great evil.

The Bible is pretty clear what our approach should be.  Look at Paul’s admonition in Philippians.

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others,” (Philippians 2:3-4, ESV).

Paul also states that we should “pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding,” (Romans 14:19, ESV).  Does a defense of the Confederate flag qualify?  I don’t believe so.

If the Confederate flag offends a brother or sister in Christ why in the world would I want to hold onto it?  We had 9 brothers and sisters in Christ gunned down during a prayer meeting because of racism that many see this flag being a symbol of.  Why, why, why would we want to defend that?  This isn’t about being right, this is about being loving to those who have suffered injustice under that particular banner.

Then there is our Christian witness at stake for those who may not yet know Christ.

This isn’t about being politically correct.  I personally disagree with some who want to erase all vestiges of the Confederacy.  That would be revising history.  I am also not saying we cater to everyone who is easily offended, but I think all reasonable people can agree that history bears witness to the symbolism this flag bears for many African-Americans.

As a Christian I’m called to approach this controversy differently.  Calling for it to be put away is simply an act of love.

10 comments
  1. If you wait a couple of days, the judges will rule in your favor on this one, without any reference to the Bible or Constitution.

    1. Have my way? Did you miss the part where I said I wasn’t in favor of a ban? I am addressing Christians to consider their black brother and sisters in Christ. I don’t think it needs to be flown on a state capitol’s grounds either, but South Carolina can decide that.

      1. The very same arguments you made can be made about the Cross or the Bible or any other article or symbol of faith. For me, the Confederate Flag has to do, not with slavery, but with rebellion against tyranny and how any nation, to be just, must be based on the consent of the governed. It was not slavery that was defeated by the Civil War, but independence. Read the Declaration of Independence and ask yourself how many grievances against King George III are now the norm for the US government – and worse. Only private slavery is prevented by the 13th Amendment. Government involuntary servitude has always been allowed, from military service and jury duty to even road work in the early 20th century.

      2. John when you said “for me” you kind of make my point. I get what you’re saying, but I’m specifically calling on Christ-followers to consider their black brothers and sisters in Christ who view the flag much, much differently than you do.

  2. Vander Hart said we should put the politics aside for a minute. Unfortunately, he does not just put aside the politics for a minute; he puts it aside for the entire length of his essay. This issue IS political, and it needs to be dealt with as a political issue. There is a vast difference between personal ethics and public (or political) morality. So, Vander Hart misunderstands the fundamental problem here, and his attempt at a solution fails from the very start.

    1. It’s Shane, not Vander Hart, and I understand the issue quite clearly. I was addressing how Christians should treat one another. I am not advocating a ban or to quell free speech. I’m sorry you missed the point entirely.

      1. No, you are not advocating a ban. You’re just advocating an abject surrender, in the form of removing the Confederate flag, every time someone claims they are offended. By the way, I find your web site offensive, so please remove your web site from the internet, as an act of love.

    2. Hey, let’s just ignore this paragraph. “This isn’t about being politically correct. I personally disagree with some who want to erase all vestiges of the Confederacy. That would be revising history. I am also not saying we cater to everyone who is easily offended, but I think all reasonable people can agree that history bears witness to the symbolism this flag bears for many African-Americans.”

      You and I define surrender quite differently.

  3. I haven’t posted here in a good while, but this article was a pleasant surprise. I have become so tired of hearing conservative after conservative defending the Confederate flag, states’ rights, etc. It almost felt as if I was the only conservative on the planet who felt differently on this issue. But I’m glad to see I’m not alone. Excellent blog post, Shane.

    There are many reasons to oppose the Confederate flag. It amuses me how some people feel as if the identity of Southerners is somehow intimately connected with the flag. Well, I have lived in the South almost my whole life, and I have never identified with the flag. At best, I consider it to be redneck. 😉

    One thing that comes in play here is the political term optics. How does it looks to blacks when SC flies the Confederate flag over its state capitol? Not real good, to put it mildly. And what about the Golden Rule? If you were black, would you want to see such a flag flying over your state capitol? Well, I certainly wouldn’t.

    And then we have the likes of Alan Keyes saying that the Stars and Stripes actually flew over many slave ships. While that may be true, most Americans do not identify the U.S. flag with racism, slavery, or even rebellion. I mean, do you know of any black Americans who are offended by the U.S. flag? I don’t. I think Keyes is missing the point.

    In addition to the helpful Scriptures you cited, we also have 1 Corinthians 8:9: “But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.”

    And what is the Confederate flag if not a symbol of (ungodly) rebellion? Many people try to rationalize this issue and say that the war was simply about states’ rights, but for anyone who is willing to look at the facts without using rose-colored glasses, it’s not hard to see that the secession was mainly about preserving slavery and white supremacy. Furthermore, concerning rebellion, 1 Samuel 15:23 tells us that “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.”

    I would’ve thought that it would be a no-brainer for most conservatives to see the points brought up in this article, but apparently not. It seems that even conservatives have plenty of blind spots, and this issue is certainly one of them IMO. Shockingly enough, I think liberals can, in general, see this issue more objectively than conservatives. Then again, as they say, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. 😉

    Now, do I think that we should adopt laws banning the flying of the Confederate flag by anyone? Of course not. Do I think individuals should be allowed to fly as many Confederate flags as they want at home? Yes. While I don’t agree with the practice, and don’t think it’s very classy, it’s an individual’s right to do so if they choose. Same with a swastika. But should a state government be flying such a flag over its capitol? As you pointed out, the answer is certainly no.

    Glad to see a voice of reason in what has become such a sadly partisan discussion.

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