Bett Norris

Perspectives

Tag Archives: Confederate flag

In Response to. . .

In response to:

I wrote a piece this morning posted on my blog. One response in particular called up just the right amount of picayune snark to compel a reply. To those who already know all this, you can skip to the next adorable kitty vid.

Battle_flag_of_the_Confederate_States_of_America.svg

The flag shown above is not the Confederate flag. This square red flag with crossed blue band and white stars is the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee, he of unsullied reputation, and surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865. Also called the Virginia flag, Beauregard’s flag, even though it never historically represented the CSA as a country, was never officially recognized as one of the national flags, it is commonly referred to as “the Confederate Flag” and has become a widely recognized symbol. It is also called the rebel flag, Dixie flag, and Southern Cross.

The first flag flown informally representing the seceded states was “the Bonnie Blue flag” of Gone with the Wind fame.

Bonnie Blue flag 1This one was flown by the rebels who fired on Fort Sumter, starting the civil war that killed over 630,000.

The_Van_Dorn_Flag

The so called “Van Dorn” flag, a hideous red orange with a crescent moon and stars strewn about randomly, was used by General Van Dorn and others in the Trans-Mississippi theatre of battle.

In March 1861, the hastily assembled government of the Confederacy took time from fomenting rebellion, treason, anarchy and terrorism to designate an official flag. This flew over the hastily designated capitol in Montgomery, before the Confederate capital was hastily moved to Richmond.

Flag_of_the_Confederate_States_of_America_(1861-1863).svgKnown as the “Stars and Bars” this first official flag was revered by some, loathed by others who thought it was too similar to the United States flag.

So in 1863, presumably after more thought, a new official flag was adopted, called “the Stainless Banner.”

Flag_of_the_Confederate_States_of_America_(1863-1865).svg

A white flag, decorated by a canton in the upper left replicating General Lee’s battle flag, many hated this flag because they thought it would appear as a flag of truce or surrender on the battlefield.  This remained the official flag until March 1865. The designer, one William T. Thompson, a writer and editor from Savannah, claimed that the white field represented the purity of the white race as well as the purity of the Cause.

For some reason, in March 1865, with only a month left in the war, (though the stubborn willful blindness of the Southern gentlemen who ran the war refused to see how near the end they really were) yet another new design was designated as the official flag. Called the “Blood-Stained Banner” this one served until the end.

Flag_of_the_Confederate_States_of_America_(1865).svg

To summarize, the rebel flag some want to defend as an historical symbol of their forefathers’ valor and courage was only correctly revered by those whose ancestors actually served with the Army of Northern Virginia.

Now that all that is clear as mud, please stop. Stop talking so reverently about a flag that never flew as the official flag of a country that never really existed, symbolizing grand ideas and un-besmirched honor and courage.

This flag belongs in museums, of course. It belongs in the back windows of pick-up trucks splattered in mud driven by people who don’t really know what they are so proudly displaying. It belongs in private collections, may be displayed on private property, on your body as tattoo art, anywhere at all you want to wave it, raise it, wear it, anywhere you want it to display your undying love for a lost cause.

It does not belong on public government property. It is an historical artifact and should never be presented alongside state flags, the United States flag, or any other real entity.

If your great great great granddaddy fought in the Army of Northern Virginia, then I understand your desire to have and keep this flag.

Otherwise, I fail to see how you cannot make the connection from the rise in popularity of this flag in the 1960’s to the civil rights movement.

I am one of those proud, stubborn Southerners, born and raised in Alabama. I applauded the governor for simply ordering the flag removed from the state capitol grounds. He said he did not have time for discussing, debating, writing and wrangling with legislative bills or constitutional amendments or public referendums. He had a budget to wrangle, bills to pay. In other words, he had some real work to do.

Alabama takes down flag, nothing happens

Ya’ll have a nice day, now. Go do something.

What the Flag Means to Me

I Corinthians ch 13

Everyone has been celebrating for almost a week now. The Supreme Court decided to include LGBT people in the legal protections under the law as granted by the Fourteenth Amendment. People have changed their Facebook profiles into rainbow shades. This past weekend there was a huge celebration at the Gay Pride events all over the country. It has been especially gratifying to see so many straight people who joined in the celebration. Thank you all.

A woman climbed the flagpole and took down the Confederate flag on the state grounds in South Carolina. Then she was arrested. About a gazillion people offered to post her bail.

The families of the victims spoke at the white supremacist-terrorist’s court appearance and forgave him for his hate and ignorance. President Obama delivered a powerful, beautiful eulogy urging everyone to act as if they are graced by God. Then he sang a hymn about grace written by a slave trader who got converted. By grace we are led. By grace we are saved. By grace we are better, stronger, more loving, more forgiving. Through grace we come together. That white supremacist was welcomed into the Bible study group at the historic AME church, he was included in prayer, and then hate and ignorance of the grace of God made him stand up and start killing people who had just prayed for his soul.  The families forgave him.

Then several black churches were burned to the ground.

One step forward, two steps back.

The Supreme Court upheld the right of LGBT couples to marry. Then the state of Alabama refused to issue marriage licenses. Then a federal judge ordered the county probate judges to stop acting silly and comply with the SCOTUS decision. http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/probate-judges-opposed-gay-marriage-stand-firm-32146429

Then there’s this. Gods definition

It was posted on Facebook by someone close to me. Huh.

Herewith, my response:

I saw your post about God’s definition of marriage. I am sorry you feel that way. As a Christian, as a gay woman, I can’t agree. Man’s law and God’s law are separate.  I can’t allow myself to read the Bible selectively. I have to read it as a whole. Christ said, Love one another. Love your neighbor as you would yourself. I have to give that just as much weight as the passages against divorce, slavery, and stonings. If civilization has surpassed some passages, then I have to believe it can surpass others. I cling stubbornly to the words of Christ, and believe that God is inclusive of all of us. Even Paul said “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” He also said, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” I Corinthians 13. 
Chapters 12 and 13 are some of my favorite passages in the Bible. Verse 8: “Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”
 
I don’t mean to preach,  but I do love quoting the Bible, certainly the most powerful book ever written, God-breathed, God-inspired, and also one of the most beautiful. 
 
I know you love me. I know you do not judge. I am so happy that the Supreme Court decided to include me in the protection guaranteed to every citizen in the Fourteenth Amendment. Section One says: 
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
 
Specifically, the justices said that gay people cannot be denied the equal protection of legal marriage.
They said nothing about weddings, which are and will always be, a function of religion. 
Marriage is a legal institution granted by the government. You go to the courthouse to get a marriage license, which is a legal document. It has nothing to do with a person’s faith or beliefs. There are over 1100 different laws, privileges, and benefits that are acquired through marriage, not least of which are tax rules which benefit married couples, Social Security benefits, the right of a spouse to make life and death medical decisions, legalities pertaining to the privileges and rights of parents to raise their children.
 
We agree on this: I support God’s law over man’s law, but I live in this world, and it means a lot to me to be recognized as a full citizen with the rights of all others. This year I will raise my American flag with more joy, honor, and celebration than ever, knowing that the Supreme Court says that I am a full citizen, with equal protection under the law.
 
Amen to that.

But there was also this. Rainbow White House

Yep.

So, this weekend I will be flying my American flag, not the rainbow flag, because the Supreme Court just validated me as a full citizen with access to equal protection under the law granted to every other citizen. This weekend, I fly the red, white, and blue, with more pride, honor, and celebration that ever. It’s nice to be included.

US flag

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.” 

Thus endeth the lesson. And the people said.

Ya’ll stay safe and have fun.

%d bloggers like this: