Topic Tuesday #155 2015/07/07 "Run up the flag pole"
Flags have been in the news quite a bit lately. You can't peruse the news without stumbling over a veritable plethora of people weighing in on South Carolina and the Confederate Battle Flag. Since that has been covered to death, (TL:DR-The flag still represents slavery and continued oppression, not Southern Pride, deal with it and put the flag in a museum next to the Nazi Party flag from WWII.) I'm not here to talk about the Confederacy or racism or the politics behind mandating the flag be mounted at the top of a 30' pole for all time (hopefully changing soon).
No, today it is about a North Carolina Pastor who has decided to show his distaste for the progressive direction the country has taken by flying the Christian Flag (yes it is a thing) above the United States Flag, Old Glory Herself.
This story was brought to me by RawStory, and you can view it's contents here. http://www.rawstory.com/2015/07/anti-gay-nc-pastor-launches-movement-to-fly-christian-flag-above-the-american-flag/
The narrative goes that Pastor Rit Varriale, long-time anti-gay activist of Elizabeth Baptist Church in Shelby, NC is claiming this action as part of his own "God Before Government" group. On Sunday he unveiled that he had the pole installed specifically to run this up and see who saluted.
He has been met with criticism from unexpected sources such as Fox and Friends and even the Baptist Press, who reported, "Varriale is among an increasing number of pastors who believe government is trying to coerce Christians to live in ways that violate Scripture." To editor K. Allan Blume's credit, the The Baptist Press writer was rather good about just reporting and not taking a side. http://www.bpnews.net/45089/pastors-plan-to-raise-the-christian-flag Varriale knows he is against proper defined flag etiquette, something taught in grade school and to every scout I have ever encountered. If you need to see what it is, Wikipedia has an outstanding rundown of the United States Flag Code (Yes, there is such a thing) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Flag_Code
He said "...from a Christian perspective, our flag etiquette is completely improper, ...we should be flying the Christian flag above the American flag." Varriale is an Army veteran as a Ranger and officer with the 82nd Airborne Division and graduate of The Citadel, Campbell University Divinity School, Duke Divinity School and Princeton Theological Seminary. He certainly has his credentials in order and is at least walking the walk and talking the talk.
I have one rebuttal to him - Romans 13: 1-10 (New American Standard Bible Translation)
- Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
- Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.
- For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;
- for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.
- Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake.
- For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing.
- Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
- Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
- For this, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."
- Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
I am for free speech. I am not into nationalism at all and think such is as destructive as religious division. I count this among those that would burn the US flag in protest. I don't have to like it, but I do respect the free speech and holding to your values in spite of how much of a jerk it will make you appear. At the end of the day, the public court of opinion will settle this one out, as is being done with the Confederate flag. It makes me wonder what the opinion would be is the local Mosque decided to do the same with the Islamic flag. Food for thought.