Rebel No More

Greetings from southern Italy!

Last night I was walking past a shop selling tourist stuff and they had a Confederate Rebel flag (Dixie) out there for sale.  So I went in and talked to the owners of the shop.  I told them about the hateful symbol that it is for Americans, especially for black Americans.  I told them that I know it is not part of their culture, and that is why I had stopped to explain to them what it means to Americans.  They said that they just liked the way the flag looked.

I find the Dixie flag offensive because it is a symbol of the enslavement of an entire race of people—people who were kidnapped from their homelands.  Slavery is wrong, and I believe that it is demonic.  Take human trafficking, for example.  How is the historic enslavement of the African people any different from human trafficking today?  I believe that the answer is that it is not.  Yes, human trafficking involves prostitution, but African women were also frequently used for sex by their white masters.  Besides, prostitution is by no means the only form that human trafficking takes.  There are people working in slavery all around the world that you never see because the majority of them are kept hidden.

The facts of the American Civil War are history—ancient history to this generation of Americans.  Many people wonder why that flag is so controversial, and say that we should simply get over it because it is an historical fact.  I think that the people who don’t have a problem with the Dixie flag need to ask themselves if they also have no problem with the Nazi flag.  If they also see nothing wrong with the Nazi flag, then they are clearly racists who are more interested in spreading hatred than understanding.

Obviously, we all need to get past old offenses and get on with the business of life in the 22nd century.  But some wounds run very deep.  They need the patient understanding and need a sensitive and considered approach.  The government has debated making reparations and apologizing for slavery.  I don’t know how you can possibly repay for such a terrible offense, but something would be better than nothing.  Did they ever do anything in the end?  I don’t know.

But here’s what I do know:  today I walked past that same shop, and in place of the Rebel flag was an American flag.  I turned to my friends and said, “Now these are good people here!”  I knew all along that they probably just didn’t know what the flag symbolized.  God is good, and He puts good people in my path.

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