The Confederate flag is back in the news this past week as Charleston County Councilman, Henry Darby, called for the removal of the flag from the chapel at The Citadel. It is unclear whether the recent controversy surrounding the display of the flag at W&L’s Lee Chapel had any influence on Darby’s decision.
[T]he flag is within a house of worship. A divisive symbol should not be sheltered where one communicates with God. The flag may be a symbol of a proud heritage, but it is also one associated with opposition to civil rights and with America’s vilest reactionary group, the KKK. It is my understanding that the flag has not been housed in the chapel continuously since 1939 because a former chaplain was so incensed that he took it down. I’m told that it was “re-raised” about six to seven months ago.1
The Confederate flag is not simply a symbol of racial division between blacks and whites. It is also a symbol of injustice and immorality. I believe one day a youthful white generation will come to see the errors of their fathers and say, “Flying the flag is not just.”
I am also involved because it saddens me that the church is still sitting on the sidelines. Throughout history in the realm of America’s racial issues – slavery, black codes, segregation, civil rights movement – the church did nothing or very little. It was more concerned with the status quo than with fairness and justice. A white minister wrote stating he is my brother in Christ; yet he would not oppose flying the flag – a symbol of racial division. If the church cannot help, then who?
It is unlikely that Darby’s constituents will prevail, but they certainly have the right to voice their concerns through their representative. We shall see whether this House of God believes in justice and morality.
1 I would love to know if this last point is true.