I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag

 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you. Galatians 3:26-29

image from the web

Generally, this blog is heavily slanted in the direction of  devotion. The title – Life, Gratitude, Faith, & Passion – clearly predisposes me to write about the beautiful path of following Jesus. I only approach topical issues when they fall within that framework.

Last week, my post “An Act of Terror Against the Witness of Love” garnered a lot of attention, both locally and nationally. This week the national conversation has shifted to the Confederate flag, and the way that it has become a symbol representing racism, oppression, inequality, and discrimination.

The symbolic association is a fait accompli – it’s a done deal – in the same way that the Nazi swastika, once simply a version of the Christian cross, morphed into something pointing to hate and repression.

visible from MLK and Interstate - Tampa
visible from MLK and Interstate – Tampa

ARTICLE IN THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: But this is not a new conversation. In 2008, an obnoxiously huge Confederate Flag was raised in Tampa, clearly visible from both the Interstate Highway and MLK Jr. Boulevard. It went up – coincidentally? – when Barrack Obama accepted the nomination for President. Likewise the flag on the capitol grounds in South Carolina was raised in the early 1960’s, as a direct “in your face” endorsement of segregation in response to the Civil Rights movement.

In 2008, on June 18, I published the following column in the Tampa Tribune. You can be sure that I received some mail. I think you will find the words timely for June 23, 2015.

I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag

– DEREK MAUL (Tampa Tribune, 6-18-2008)

In case any of us remain unclear regarding the philosophical underpinnings of the group who raised the colossal Confederate flag at the junction of Interstate 75 and US 92, I’ve copied the following introductory words from the home page of “scv.org”, General Headquarters for the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

“The citizen-soldiers who fought for the Confederacy personified the best qualities of America. The preservation of liberty and freedom was the motivating factor in the South’s decision to fight the Second American Revolution.”

Over the past two weeks a lot has been written regarding the giant flag raised June 3.

The unfurling, initially scheduled for July, was ostensibly moved forward to mark the birthday of Confederate States President Jefferson Davis. I couldn’t help but notice that the timing also coincided with Barack Obama’s victory in his party’s nomination for president.

Under such a flag, a flag easily visible from Martin Luther King Boulevard, an American such as Obama would not have been able to vote, let along run for office. But then again neither would Hillary Clinton.

Fact is, when the Confederate States of America was formed – and adopted its now controversial battle flag – inequality, subjugation and repression defined life for both black men and white women; and the same was true under either flag, the Confederacy or the United States.

But we have come a long way since 1861, and I guess that’s the point of this column. Because while the Stars and Stripes has marched resolutely forward into this Twenty-first Century, the flag the Sons of Confederate Veterans are so proud to fly is firmly rooted in ideals that have failed to improve with the passage of time.

We can romanticize times-gone-by all we like, but the genius of our founding ancestors was to anchor our future in principles that allow for constructive change. The Confederacy did not want any part of such a constitution, and its flag reminds us of how close we came to losing our national soul.

Feb 15, 1985, I stood in front of a federal judge and made the decision to swear allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.

I grew up English, and the U.K. recognizes dual citizenship, but I voluntarily gave up my British passport because – as a citizen of these United States – I disavowed loyalty to any other “prince, potentate or power.”

The Confederate flag is an interesting museum piece, but flying a 50 by 30 foot flag atop a 139 foot flagpole suggests an allegiance, a commitment to what the Sons of Confederate Veterans define as “The best qualities of America.”

The best qualities of America are those that allow for people such as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain to run for president. The qualities the Confederacy stood for were division and oppression and discrimination; let’s not forget that. The Stars and Stripes is the only flag with the authority to fly over our community.

“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.” – DEREK

8 thoughts on “I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag

  1. Walter Urquhart

    As a person raised in Montgomery, Al in the 40’s 50’s and 60’s, I can say we have come a long way from separate water fountains, back entrances to the department stores in downtown Montgomery, and the wide spread general hatred. The events of last week signifies that hate still exists but, I think and hope, not as wide spread. My personal thinking has evolved tremendously since my teenage years and now recognize how wrong we were in the way we treated these human beings. The Confederate flag should not be flown in any state capital and should be reserved for museums. I am uncomfortable when I see a Confederate flag being flown in a yard, because of the symbolism that it portrays, rightly or wrongly. I do think the qualities of the Confederacy stood for were division, oppression, and discrimination. I think the qualities of the Confederacy extend beyond only the negatives of those listed. Courage is one that comes to mind. As misguided as they were, these people were willing to die for their beliefs and that is a tragedy that continues to this day in many countries. We are studying the book of Acts in a Wednesday Bible Study group that Hugh is leading. It just strikes me that the violence the Apostles met in their missionary trips were horrific.
    Evil has existed for thousands of years and we just have to turn to God and the teachings that Jesus gave us to try and make sense of any of this. The promise is that we will be given peace and confidence and hope if we just turn to Jesus and to learn how He responded to the evil and hate He encountered–I must say from a personal point of view, much easier to say than to practice. Derek, thank you for all of your posts and for the wisdom you provide in these posts. I normally do not respond but felt compelled to reply to this post. As a side note, I am so glad that I can have a Florida tag on my car instead of an Alabama tag, especially when we are traveling. That heritage of hate and suppression is embarrassing to me and that is something I have thought for a long time but never have put on paper.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good word, Walter. Thanks so much for sharing from your heart. I thought of you this weekend, when we had Frank and Sylvia Beall as guests at church and for lunch. You represent some of the best of our Pensacola experience.
      Peace – DEREK


      1. Walter Urquhart

        Just an after thought, the Confederate flag upsets me in someone’s yard more that the red and white Alabama Crimson Tide flag. Now, that really is saying something.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Karen Jones

    Part of both the power and perplexity of symbols is the way they can mean more than one thing simultaneously. I did part of my growing up in The South (and some of it was a real shock after having been reared on racially integrated army bases), and I am familiar with the protest that the confederate flag “doesn’t mean that to us, it’s just part of our southern heritage.” BUT we have a choice to make. No matter how we protest, the confederate flag does mean hate and suppression to other people. So – do we care more about clinging to a certain symbol or do we care more about reconciliation, compassion, and peace? Taking it down might serve as a symbol that we are trying to acknowledge and right the terrors of the past and forge a new future together. Taking it down might also serve as a symbol and a signal that we want to move ahead in peace and good will. So – under God – we have to decide which symbol are we going to cling to…

    Liked by 1 person


    The devil deceived the founding fathers of the nations, and the founding fathers made carved images in the likeness of the stars, the moon, the sun, of birds, and four footed beasts, when God said; do not make or serve any carved image in the likeness of anything in heaven above, or in the likeness of anything on the earth below Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 4…The devil uses Romans 13, to deceived those who don’t believe what God said in ex 20, De 4…But He(God)who said; submit to the authorities Rom:13, also said; do not make or serve any carved image…The founding fathers of the U.S, made carved images of the stars in the likeness of heaven above, and set the carved images in the flag to serve them, and the flag is high and lifted up to heaven on a flag pole, and those who are serving the flag, are called idol worshipers…And God calls this type of flag service idolatry…The mark of the beast is spiritual and identical to the pledge of allegiance to the flag…People put their right hand to their heart or to their forehead when they pledge allegiance to the flag…The mark of the beast in the right hand means the heart, and the mark of the beast on the forehead means the mind; for with the heart we believe and with the mind we serve…There is no way to go around God and the carved images of the flag, unless you don’t believe what God said in Ex 20, and De 4…And who told the founding fathers to make carved images in the likeness of heaven above, or in the likeness of the earth below ? And to put their right hand to their heart or forehead ? And to serve the flag, ? The U.S. is serving the stars of heaven and the eagle of the earth…Mexico is serving the eagle and serpent of the earth…Canada is serving the leaf of the tree of the earth…Japan is serving the sun of heaven…Israel is serving the star of heaven to this day Acts 7…It went from Babylon the great; to Britain the great; to America the great, and these three nations are one and the same…The nations idols are in the flags, and the flags are high and lifted up on a flag pole, and those who are serving them, are called idol worshipers.


    1. I think you need to have a little talk with Jesus about lightening up!
      I don’t worship any flag. Besides, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”
      Be free, therefore, and get on board with Jesus.
      Peace – DEREK


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