Monday, July 20, 2015

I Have Something to Say about the Confederate Flag

My great-great-grandfather, Lorenzo Dow Cole, served in the 58th NC Infantry during the Civil War. I haven't been able to find much information about him. He was born in 1843, and volunteered at 19, so in 1862. He lived in Watauga County, in the northwestern North Carolina mountains. He was not a slave-owner, but rather a rural, mountain farmer. His interest was in defending his home from invasion.

I consider that an honorable cause.

I have a third national flag (the image in the lower right) in my home, though I do not fly it. While it is not the battle flag, the one we most-commonly see, it incorporates that flag in the field where the stars are in the US flag. I think it is very attractive. However, for me, the issue is to honor my Great-Great-Grandfather, who survived the war (or I would not exist), but was wounded at Chickamauga, and also lost a brother there.

The battle flag was adapted from the flag of Scotland, which uses the cross of St. Andrew (that is, the "X" shape). More specifically, it comes from the flag of the Covenanters, a group of Scottish Presbyterians who were persecuted by Kings James, Charles I, Charles II, and James II, for resisting their efforts to bring the church into subjection to the government. That is what the battle flag represents: a refusal to bow to tyrants, because we must obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29). The war wasn't about slavery; it was about northern Unitarians and Deists, trying to crush the Calvinism that was still strong in the South, due to her large number of Scots and Scots-Irish immigrants, who did not own slaves! That was an English concept (including selling some of the Covenanters into slavery).

Some versions use red for the cross of St. Andrew.

I resent two things about the current uproar over the flag.

The first is its misappropriation by scum, nutbags, evil men, such as the man who killed those good folks in Charleston and the Ku Klux Klan. They have no concept of honor or heritage, but only of satanic hate. And I mean that literally: I believe that racial supremacists are inspired by Satan to bring chaos and violence into our society.

The second thing I resent is some folks on the other side who presume to define for me what my heritage stands for, and what symbols I will be allowed to show my heritage. That is a form of theft, and they would never allow me to do the same to them.

That is why I decided to write this post. I am telling both groups that I refuse to be defined by them. The Vth Commandment tells me to honor my father and my mother, and by implication all my ancestors. As long as I do not violate the rights of others - and there is no right not to be offended - I refuse to capitulate to efforts to take away my right and responsibility to honor my great-great-grandfather.

No comments: