Why the “Confederate Flag” and the “LGBT Pride Flag” are two, very different things

So I’ve seen a few things fly by on my social media feeds and the like that say something like this:

Since the “Confederate Flag” is so offensive and must come down, then so must also the “LGBT Pride Flag”, because it is offensive to a large number of people.

Do these people have a point?

No.

The “Confederate Flag” (which isn’t really the flag of the Confederacy — it’s a battle flag instead) is very different from the “LGBT Flag” for many reasons, some of which I shall enumerate below. But let’s also get something else out of the way: in no case is anyone asking for censorship on any of these items, especially the “Confederate Flag”. That other companies have decided to stop selling the flag is their right, but the government isn’t telling these companies that they must do this. Anyone who wants to fly the flag (any flag) on their private property can continue to do so, with no penalty from the State.

Now, why are the two flags different? Simple:

  • The “Confederate Flag” is a battle flag. The true “Confederate Flag” is a nation flag. Why in the world would a victorious nation permit the flag of another nation to fly on their state buildings? Glenn Beck gets a lot of things wrong, but he gets this absolutely right.
  • The “LGBT Pride Flag” may symbolize the struggle for equality, but it is not the flag of a nation. So it is not at odds with the national flag in the least.
  • The “Confederate Flag” is a flag signifying slavery, oppression, and secession. You can argue all you want whether or not a state should have the right to secede (and just in case you didn’t know: no state has that right, not even Texas), but you simply cannot argue that flag doesn’t stand for slavery and oppression. If you think it is solely about cotton or states’ rights, you are entirely missing the point. In other words, the flag is about oppressing and enslaving an entire race of people. And if you don’t believe me, go read your history books again.
  • The “LGBT Pride Flag” is a flag signifying unity and love. Well, actually a lot more, because each color stands for something. Red represents Life, Orange: Healing, Yellow: sunlight, Green: nature, Blue: serenity/harmony, and Violet: Spirit. (Source) But over time, it has also come to represent the struggle for equality as well. In short, the flag is not about oppression but about overcoming oppression. The flag is not about slavery, but about freedom.

I’ve also seen complains that somehow the “homosexual community” has stolen the Christian symbol of the rainbow. Well, I’ve news for you: rainbows have been around for a whole lot longer than your religion (and your version of God). So, pffffffft!

Furthermore, it is not wrong to appropriate symbols to increase the feeling of community. These flags are like labels — people identify with them. Just like Christians identify with the cross, homosexuals identify with the rainbow. You’re free to continue reading whatever meaning you want into those symbols, but you aren’t going to stop people from using symbols as a means of identification, community, and rallying.

In short, what offends a particular individual or group of people is not necessarily a reason for the censorship of that thing. In this case, it’s a couple flags, but we could just as easily extend that thought to the realm of ideas. Everyone is free to think what they want in the space of their own head. Likewise, everyone is free to fly whatever flags they desire on their own private property. The issue with the “Confederate Flag” is not about censorship, it’s about a victorious nation flying the flag of an enemy nation that it overcame! This has nothing to do with private property and everything to do about government property. The south lost. Get over it.

In short: you can fly whatever flags you want on your house, your car, your business, etc. The government won’t stop you. (The public might roll their eyes at you, but they have that right.) But the government shouldn’t be in the business of flying the flag of the enemy on their own property! That’s just… absurd!

To those Christians who think the two issues are somehow equivalent, well… wake up and smell the coffee. Your argument makes no sense. And the public knows it. The more you persist in making the argument, the more foolish you appear. And I think there’s a quote about that somewhere, too!

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