The Constitution of the United States was first amended to assure citizens the freedom of speech and the freedom to exercise their faith in this newborn nation. That freedom extends to stupid stuff a person might wish to express, to stupid religious positions one might wish to adopt or espouse. Now these freedoms are not without legal limits; but due to our constitution, those limits are placed ever so carefully in America. By way of example, our freedom of expression does not allow us to slander or threaten or endanger another person.
I am a proud military veteran, and though I do find many faults with my country, I love our country. There are aspects of America I abhor – like the legalized killing of over 54 million unborn children since 1973. That is just to pick something off the top of my list by way of illustration. I am saddened, even disgusted, to think of ways many native Americans were treated historically, and the way many African-Americans have been treated by members of my race.
You can attack attitudes, actions, and policies in our country passionately and I will hear you out. I may not agree with your assumptions, your conclusions, or proposed actions regarding the subject addressed, but I will respectfully listen. Two specific expressions by those who have a problem with aspects our country are absolutely unacceptable, nonetheless. These expressions are: mistreatment of our flag or a show of disrespect for our national anthem. Do one of these two things, and whatever your cause, I say “to hell with it!” You have lost all of my respect!
Why? Well, think with me for just a bit. Our flag and our national anthem do not represent parts of our country, but the whole. When we say the Pledge of Allegiance, there is this little important phrase about our flag: we say, “and to the republic for which it [the flag] stands… “. Indeed, our flag stands for something grand – this whole great country. Reference to the flag is in our national anthem, too. Remember the song speaks of our original fight for freedom in which a new nation would be born on earth. In those lyrics is a powerful reference to a hopeful sight – that in the midst of a horrific battle for this infant nation, “our flag was still there.” Again, the flag and our national anthem represent the whole of our nation – good and bad, strengths and weaknesses. Our flag does not stand for slavery which was once a part of our nation, but it stands for abolitionists who ended slavery in America, too. Our flag does not stand for the many forms of injustice that have existed and even still remain, but it stands for all those who have fought and still fight for justice in many ways, as well. Our flag does not stand for the rich alone; it also stands for the poor and all those in between. It stands for America!
When you choose to show contempt for the flag or the anthem, I view this as showing contempt for the whole. And, to me, this is contemptible! If you hate all that America is, you should leave. Honestly. You should go find that place that fits your views and values better. Good luck! And don’t let the door hit you on the way out! We have some cautions about people who want to come in to our country, but everyone is free to go!
Finally, if you really want to discredit your cause in my eyes, be someone who has experienced great success in this “land of the free”, made millions of dollars in the process, and now show disrespect for our flag or our national anthem in the name of your “great cause.” My respect for you and your cause could not drop lower. You have fully earned your buffoon status in my opinion.
Dane Tyner is founder and director of Home Improvement Ministry, Inc. in Tulsa OK. The ministry exists to assist Bible-believing churches in their efforts to address the great needs of individuals and families in this day. Find out more about Dane and H.I.M. at the ministry website: http://www.forhim.org.
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