May I let my voice be a clarion call. I will use these words for justice. I will use these words for truth. And humour.

Sunday, April 1, 2007


christians, flags, and the future

a liberal friend of mine just posted about how christians in america are working to coopt the flag to represent just themselves, and are also trying to affix their version of christianity to the concept of america as a christian nation. IMO, his new version of the american flag is ugly and unflattering, but sadly accurate from a variety of points of view, with some qualifications.

(if you don't read his post, you may not follow what i say here, so go there now. sorry its a long read, and with a heavy liberal bias of course.)

first, i think that its a travesty that good people like him, and perhaps you dear reader, might think of "america" and the flag which represents it as being composed and run by a bunch of rich white guys with a tacit agenda of oppression upon gays, people of color, immigrants, citizens of other nations, and citizens of future generations. the travesty is that you may be right. the flag with its 50 stars in a field of blue and its 13 stripes was not meant to be a tool for warmongering, or of oppression. it is a tool of freedom. freedom is NOT and never should be defined for one person by another. if it is, then the very freedom to define the word "freedom" is denied. but i will define it here for our discussion and you can follow along if you like. for the record, i think this definition is elegant, and i'm hoping that it catches.

FREEDOM is the right to do exactly as you wish, as long as you do not trespass upon the freedoms of others. there is a large smudgey line there, which is an example of the grace of our great creator (who assumes a multifold form). the most simple example is that if person A wishes to kill person B, or claim sole ownership of an item, or horde food, that infringes upon the wishes of person B to remain alive, or to have free use of said item, or to eat from the food store which person A lays a claim to. but what if i have a favorite guitar, or a cherished family heirloom, rather than just "an item?" then my right to claim possession of it, rather than just control of it, is a little bit stronger.

freedom also demands the responsibility of good judgment. that is not easy, because that requires wisdom, which requires either learning vicariously (ask any parent how frequently their child follows to their sage advice to the letter), or making mistakes and learning to avoid them.

god's grace comes in because if all of these delineations of freedom were totally clear-cut, then we would always know where to draw the lines and could perform our roles here on Earth as if we were automatons. It's much better that we have the choice, and the ability to strengthen our wisdom through exercise of our rights and responsibilities associated with the inherent freedoms of existence.

so, returning from that digressionary diatribe.... the flag does NOT represent fascist christianity. that brand of christianity is one that is passed on by people who believe that everyone must believe as they do because OTHER people have previously told them that they must believe as they now do. in other words, its an inductive process.

i'm in the mood to start a new, more contagious inductive process. how about we resurrect christ, and watch the contagion spread?

first, the cross as the symbol of christianity? COME ON!.... Jesus never had any say in that becoming the symbol, and *would not* appreciate it. Rather than having a cross in the middle of the flag, how about a new christian symbol?

here's a description of the flag above. first, in the middle, the kiss of christ -- a new thing -- which has a gradient that goes from blue to red, or red to blue, depending on yr perspective. then, surrounding it is a nice bright starburst, representing the love, charity, and goodwill of all. there's a whole crapload of stars (50 for this initial image, but eventually one to represent each region, community, "nation", group, etc). if i had more time before april 1 was up (west coast time), i'd make them non-uniform in size. in the background, is a circle, representing the globe we ride on. framing the globe, kinda, is the red stripe, and the pink stripe. the red stripe represents the strife and oppression we have going on around the world right now. the pink stripe represents the peace, joy, and fun to come when the christians in america come around to a kinder way of thinking soon enough. the corners fade out a bit on the frames to represent that the human race can transcend boundaries, as soon as its ready.

can i rest a bit now?... btw, it'd be great if someone with a bit more artistic skill or vector-based drawing savvy were to work over this rough sketch with more beauty and style. if you want the source images, so you can try a different open-source design, drop me a line.

lyrics: i got the blues like no other with my song inside the sun.

colors: red, white, blue, purple, pink

mood: elated.

chant/prayer/mantra: let there be peace. and let's roll.

pax hominibus,

Your flag design is lovely, Joel. I hope you have time to work it up more, or that someone with the right skills pitches in.

...I'm sorry you found my Wingnut Flag "ugly and unflattering". I fear I missed the mark: I was going for "appalling and horrifying", you see.

And as far as giving credence to the notion that a lot of Bad Guys (whom you so elegantly describe) are dominating, or attempting to dominate, America: I have to acknowledge that reality in order to protest it. They really have gone too far for me to pretend that they have not made significant progress on their very ugly agenda.

I'd love to be proven stupid and wrong about that, though.
Let's just get rid of national flags, make one big earth flag. China's polution drifts over us, ours drifts over everybody else, and all those lines on a map just make everybody stupid about territiorial imperative.
It's one big mudball we live on, that's what we need to start thinking. All these flags and all this umprovable mythological god worship just gives idiots a license to hate and kill and pillage.
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