Jeremiah 8:11, “They dressed the wound of my people as though it were not serious, 'Peace, peace', they say, when there is no peace.”
There have been a slew of interesting news stories lately. The most recent one to capture my attention is the debate over the Confederate flag. I discussed this briefly with a co-worker just today. The extra attention is due to the recent shootings at a predominantly black church (is that even a thing? I know it is, but does that sound right? No...but anyway enough of that) by Dylan Roof. Apparently this kid had strong racist ties and had pictures, images and even a manifesto of sorts, all associated with racism. There are pictures of him with guns, on old slave plantations and yes, a Confederate flag.
South Carolina has a Confederate flag on the statehouse grounds. The governor of South Carolina has come out quite vocally in support of removing the flag and the big wigs are going to debate whether or not they should take it down. They recently voted on whether or not they should debate it, they haven't actually done anything yet. And while the vote to debate it was won by a large margin it was not unanimous.
A couple of things to consider in the aftermath of the Confederate flag issue. Let's go through a couple shall we?
It's quite easy to take a stand on something when you are already gainsaid a particular response isn't it? Why wasn't this idea to remove the Confederate flag brought up earlier? Oh...that's right the killing of black people didn't make the news so we did nothing about this particular flag. Why not? Does it really take the death of these good people to do something? If you feel this is the right thing to do why would it take something this catastrophic to push you to do it? Does that not say something larger about you rather than the event, the flag, and the debate around it?
What does actually taking down the flag accomplish? It's a flag. Yes I understand it is a divisive symbol but it is merely that. It is a symbol. Symbols can be powerful things. But does this symbol make anyone less hateful or racist? Does it make anyone more committed to their heritage and close to their family and homefire traditions? Don't get me wrong, removing symbols can have powerful affects but I think it's a small thing to put so much hope in if we think this will help in any meaningful way. I am not saying we shouldn't take it down or we should, I am saying this is a limited, tone deaf response to the suffering of the families in South Carolina and outcries nationwide. It's political and superficial.
Politics and taking stands on issues like these don't solve the bigger issues. My stand on whether or not we should take down the flag won't fix anything. The politics in play on whether the flag stays or goes will accomplish nothing. Going out into your community and becoming a part of the ever colorful tapestry of hope and healing will help more than 10,000 flags of peace waving at a parade to celebrate peace.