Let me begin by saying that I’d rather not be writing any of this. I had taken new encouragement from the recent events, spearheaded by Christian people (both black and white) to remove a hurtful symbol from their government. And in my travels through the deep South this summer I’ve noticed that many Confederate flags flown on private property have likewise disappeared. Seems like many folks are rethinking that symbol and I’m glad for it.
Of course there are still pockets of resistance. One of those is my home; Walton County, Florida. It reminds me of that old license plate that had almost fallen into the dust bin of history on which a bitter old Confederate veteran declares he will never forget; never forgive; never quit the fight for the cause.
I wrote this to the local paper:
I recently read with stunned disbelief the incredible actions of the Walton County Commissioners who have insanely determined that replacing the battle flag of the Confederacy with the “Stars and Bars” (official flag of the Confederate government) is an appropriate solution and a “compromise” that should be acceptable to both sides of the debate. This is not a compromise, but a further entrenchment for those who see an enduring nobility in the legacy of the Confederacy.
The Confederacy was defined accurately by her vice president in Savannah, Georgia in 1861. Alexander Stephens in his speech entitled “The Cornerstone of the Southern Confederacy” said, countering the ideas of racial equality: “Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.”
The “Stars and Bars” flew as the embodiment of that sentiment, and now it has reappeared on the courthouse of the county which is my ancestral home. As a veteran who served under only one flag, not a flag of rebellion, but the flag of the United States; as a Baptist minister who many years ago was licensed to preach in a Walton County church to proclaim God’s love for all people; and as citizen of one of the few countries on this planet who defiantly declares that “all men are created equal” I’m appalled and sickened.