The Flag

My Flags

Flags have long been used as symbols for people, especially their nation or their army.  In our day, there are probably thousands, if not millions of flags representing as many segments of people.  The flag or symbol, in and of itself, is not the issue; it is what the nation, army, or people group that brings a certain flag to infamy represents that can have a lasting negative affect.  But, a big part of that can be perception.

I made the little swatch above, and it contains flags that have particular meaning to me.  These are flags of three other nations laid over the top part of “Old Glory.”  That part has the names that the flags above them represent, TO ME.

You see, I spent alot of time researching my family heritage, paternal and maternal, and found that I am of English, Scottish, and Jewish descent.  So, the flags of those nations speak of my personal past, as well as does the flag of our nation, since both sides of my family, all three components, have been here all the way back to the revolution.

I also learned that ALL of my family fought in “The War Between the States,” aka, “The Civil War, aka, “The War of Northern Aggression,” aka “The Rebellion,”, depending on whom you talked to after the war was over.  The victor tends to write history, so you can guess the predominant name of that particular conflict.  All of my family, from Mom’s and Dad’s lineages, fought for the South.  We have 26 known relatives who fought in that war; one was a prisoner of war from the Texas Cavalry 17th regiment, Captain Joseph Bruton.  Three were killed in action.  Two were Jews: Jacob Shuler on my Dad’s side, and Louis A. Dreyer on my mom’s side.

Yes, both sides of my family held slaves.  Joseph Bruton [if I remember which grandfather correctly], however, wrote home during the war about his ‘man’ who was fighting beside him, and had his wife sell some cattle so she could go purchase his wife back, so they could be together when the war was over.  It’s a letter of note in Texas History, housed at SFA university.  Do I agree with the fact that they owned people, that they enslaved them to labor?  Not at all.  Do I regret that they did?  Yes.  However, I do not think for a moment they were any more evil than people today, per se.

The reason many of them found it ‘ok’ to purchase slaves is the SAME reason many people today do MANY heinous things, such as sleep with people out of wedlock, kill unborn children, commit adultery many times over, sleep with persons of the same sex, and many other heinous things that are TODAY acceptable in the eyes of most: THEY WERE TAUGHT THAT IT WAS OK by many of their religious leaders, INCLUDING IN THE NORTH.  Scripture was PERVERTED to appease the consciences of the masses.

Even in the south, there were MANY who were opposed to slave ownership.  And, there were many Blacks who owned slaves.  And, there were many WHITE slaves in the early days of the colonies.  And, the country’s people committed many offenses.  Are you going to hold ME guilty for what MY ancestors did?  What about yours?  Did you not know that many in Africa were slave holders of WHITE people? Study the Barbary Slave trade, and see.  Do we go back and get restitution for that, or is it only for MY ancestors?  Did you know that many slaves stayed and worked for and with their southern ‘owners’ after the war ended, and that that’s how many of them got their surnames?  They took on the names of people they loved.  Does that excuse the institution?  No.  But it should shed some light.  Not everyone who functioned in that instutuion was ‘evil to the bone.’  When they purchased their slaves, it was NOT ILLEGAL, anywhere!  They were not breaking the law.  They were being immoral, but it was only immoral to a few.

That is how homosexuality is now, today.  When I was young, a mere 45 years ago, it was THE OTHER WAY AROUND.  Sexual promiscuity of any kind was still ‘somewhat’ frowned upon, but not today.  In fact, those who are chaste until marriage are today made a laughingstock.  Those of us who think men should not marry men are accused of bigotry.  They ‘think’ it is about religion, when in our minds it is about the sanctity of the traditional family unit.  Disagree, but don’t call me a bigot unless I prove to be.  But in fact, those yelling “Bigots!” are themselves the bigots against us.

You will notice that I did not put a confederate flag on my cover photo for Facebook (seen above, made for fb).  But, did you know that the basis of the flag for the Confederate Army of Virginia was the flag of Scotland, in the middle above?  There were many, many Scots who settled all over the South.  That ‘cross’ is the cross of Andrew the Shaliakh, who is purported to have been executed on an ‘X’ .  He is the favorite ‘saint’ of Scotland, for legends attributed to him in ancient Scottish/Pictish lore.  But, the Army that adopted it, changed it to red and blue versus blue and white, were protestants, borrowing it only to hearken to their past as Scots, adding 13 stars to represent their ‘union,’ and using it as a symbol of inspiration, to remember their loved ones at home, whom they saw themselves as defending.  The Scots had won a great victory when they favored Andrew in prayer, and they adopted his ‘cross’ for their flag.  It is still there to this day.  The Virginians probably wanted a little of that luck, and certainly wanted their heritage represented, just as I did above.

Of course, it is EASY for the confederate symbol to be associated with slavery, and that is understandable, because that’s what many people think of when they see it.  But, to accuse anyone who has one in some fashion of being racist is not based in reason, but emotion, and in an apparent need to point the finger and DIVIDE the country.

I LOVE the promises of Elohim.  And one of the promises He gave to ALL mankind is one of the most beautiful features of nature: the rainbow.  And today, and for many recent years, so many take that sacred sign and use it to represent what is offensive to Elohim [Lev 18, Rom 1] and to many who believe in Him.  And MANY of the people who believe in Him are griping about the Confederate Flag, but NOT about the LGBT symbol.  That is base hypocrisy.  Why are they not ‘up in arms’ about that symbol, which is a direct perversion of a promise from the merciful Elohim?

I do not like the LGBT flag.  That does NOT mean I do not like LGBT PEOPLE.  But in our society, any HINT of disagreement with the political left is automatically labeled bigotry.  I have no doubt that at some point it will actualy be illegal to speak one’s own beliefs in this country, and THAT is what is terrifying.

I HATE what happened in South Carolina.  It is sick what that young man did.  But, HE did it.  Why are we blaming everyone who descended from sinners for it, even though the majority of them keep the law.  That young man broke the law.  He took their lives.  Not me, and not my grandfathers.

It is a big misperception that the only reason southerners went to war was to protect slavery.  Not only that, it is a tool of deceit.  The South was so besmirched in the eyes of those up north, that when I was only 19 and living in Connecticut, I heard the residue of their hatred and years of misinformation.

I was sitting in CHURCH!  I knew my family had owned slaves, but I also knew that my family in Georgia lived right next door to their descendents.  We did when I was about 4 and 6 years old.  And we didn’t hate each other. I was the only white boy in my kindergarten class, and I had NO IDEA that there was any ‘tension’ between ‘my kind’ and ‘their kind.’  My best friend in that class was, obviously, a little black boy, like me in every way but color.  We were poor.  But in Connecticut, their pastor had gone down south for the summer and learned a thing or two about the Bible.  But, before class started, he started telling the class about his trip.  I was a visitor, my first and only time there, and I had not spoken as yet.  My southern drawl was thick as cane syrup back then.  The pastor began to say how ‘terrible’ it was that they, white southerners, forced black folks to live in tar-paper shacks.  In my mind I’m trying to process this, as I had just been to NYC, and went through Queens and Harlem.  Then I think back to my days in Chicago, and the slums there.  But the southern white folk were held in stark contrast to them?  I didn’t see their ‘holiness’ in this.   Funny, when the actual lesson started, the first question he asked was “Where in scripture do we first see the triune nature of God.”  I’m 19.  Everyone in that room is in their 30s and 40s [an older Navy buddy invited me], and presumably had been Christian their whole lives.  I had been taught that particular Baptist lore as a boy, and after he unsuccessfully solicited his answer, I think I burst his bubble when I raised my little southern hand: “Wail, Ai thank the first time we see the try yune nature of Gawd is in Genesis 1, when Gawd says, ‘Let us make main in ar own image.'”  And I left.  My friend was aghast.  An airforce officer apologized to me through him, the one thing that helped me to forgive them at such a young age.

I learned then that most everyone is a bit of a bigot.  Most everyone has presuppositions about people about whom they know nothing, and unreasonable defenses of themselves and what they are familiar with.  I vowed never to do that to anyone else.  I vowed to learn about other people, and disbelieve the prejudices I had been taught.  And to be cautious about my perceptions of other people.  And later, I learned that I had to let go of who I ‘thought’ I was, so I could get past some of my presuppositions.

I can say without doubt that if any real Southerners thought for a moment that slavery was going on anywhere in our borders, we would not tolerate it.  I think there are plenty of other offenses, plenty of heinous practices to ‘pick on’ rather than one that has been dealt with.  There are social problems that could all be solved if all of us would follow the instructions of the Creator, יהוה, and learn the art of listening.  That is all many of us on the other side of these ‘liberal’ issues are trying to suggest, but we meet closed-mindedness, the very kind for which we are accused.

I have no doubt that minorities still experience oppression and racism.  And I am sad that it is worse now than it was when I was a kid.  But, I have also seen many classy folks rise above all of that, succeed, ignore the stupidity of a few, and embrace the other race on a footing of equality, and challenge the idiots still lost in the past.  That, I respect.  If we think white racists are lost in the past, so are black racists who want to blame white children and grandchildren for sins of former generations.

Taking the confederate flag out of public eye and off southern monuments and buildings is not the solution.  Having dialogue and learning to love one another, even though we differ, is the solution.  Closed-minded clinging  to issues and political jockeying is NOTHING.  VANITY.  CHASING THE WIND.

I have many people in my family who are black.  I had to prepare some of my extended family for the eventuality of neices and nephews of color.  And now, no one would trade them, they LOVE them dearly.  And one thing that we learned, as many learned during the civil war, is that we all bleed red, and we all die and face the creator.  Doing so with ANY HATE or resentment in our hearts for other people’s skin tone or their particular sin issue is proof that we do not love HIM.

End of rant.

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2 thoughts on “The Flag

  1. Excellent blog. I was just talking about this subject a few days ago. I grew up in a liberal black neighborhood with liberal views somewhat, but after I learned what The Torah requires,I knew I had to throw my politics in the trash. Politics in this country should always bow to The Law of Elohim and not the other way around. Moshe said neither turn to the left or the right.

    Like

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