Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Symbol of Hate

What has become known as the Confederate flag is coming down outside the state house in South Carolina only a few weeks after the massacre at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston took nine souls. 
In addition, the dean of the Washington National Cathedral has announced that they will be removing two stained glass windows, installed in 1953, that honor Confederate generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee that include the Confederate flag.  You can read more Click here 

It still amazing to me how the Civil Way continues to find its way into modern American life and discourse when it comes to matters of race. It also does not surprise me that that the Episcopal Diocese and Bishop of South Carolina -- for now -- has been largely successful in S.C. courts in separating from the national church and keeping -- for now -- much of their church property. Is there something in the water in S.C., so to speak, where the impulse to reject and go it alone is stronger than elsewhere? Perhaps. 

As you can see from my previous blog about the placement of the American flag in our church sanctuary, we too have been thinking about the power and placement of symbols. So far I detect that our very Anglican "middle way" of having the flag in the narthex seems about right for now.  

My hope in the Confederate flag debate is, like so many other reactions to horrendous events, it does become a replacement or a filler to a change of heart and mind. Racism in America, and throughout the world, is one of the greatest sins against God because it cuts to the core of rejecting God's creation itself. Humanity is created in the Divine image. No one race is greater or less in God's eyes. Period. Always. 

Racism is an expression of our great temptation to distort our own fear and weakness and turn it back onto someone else. 

"God is not done with us yet" is as true today as always. In memory of the nine souls who welcomed a stranger in their midst as Jesus inspired them to do, I pray and hope that some minds and hearts have been moved and changed over this last month.  

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