Burning the American Flag is, at the least, an act of blatant rebellion against our government, and at the worst, could even be classified as anarchy. In my opinion, as a Christian, the burning of the American Flag should be counted as an act of treason, as well as anarchy. However, since treason has a death penalty attached to it, there could be a lesser punishment for it, but to me it definitely should be treated as a crime. When one burns our flag they are making the statement that they are against our country and everything it stands for. At the present time, in the name of freedom of speech, our country has allowed people to do this. However, I believe flag burning should be considered as a crime, because it is a statement of renouncing our country’s beliefs and laws. It is also an act of desecration against the sacrifices of the many men and women who gave their lives and spilled their blood to protect our freedoms for which that flag stands! Now I believe in the rights and freedom of our populace to be able to oppose certain things, such as we have done in times past, like slavery; but, burning our flag to me is opposing our entire country’s belief system because the flag represents all we are as a nation. Even the words of our national anthem declare what we believe. I believe in free speech, but free speech does have its limits and boundaries. What are these boundaries? They are the laws and beliefs that our nation has established since the founding fathers wrote out the constitution and defined what, we as a nation, would corporately believe and support. It also includes the laws that we have passed in our nation’s capital that should be upheld. When lawlessness is allowed anarchy follows.
When people defy our national laws there is also a penalty that goes with that defiance. What has happened in our country, in many areas, is that we have good laws on the books, but we have not enforced them. This is one reason we are having so many problems with illegal immigration. The laws associated with immigration have been violated for years and the lawbreakers were not held accountable on both sides of this issue. The illegal immigrant who was allowed to stay here and was given benefits of our legal citizens, along with the corporations and businesses who hired them for cheap labor, are both guilty of breaking the law. Guilty as well, are the legal authorities and agencies who allowed both parties to get by with doing this. If businesses had not hired the illegals, there would be no jobs for them in this nation, so those people who did the hiring are guilty of not keeping the law, just as the immigrants are guilty of coming here illegally. This has created enormous problems for all of our citizens. The root problem is one of dishonesty and lawlessness, plus the irresponsibility of officials who failed to enforce our laws. Motives on both sides were not right, but both were wrong.
It is my opinion that the burning of our national flag, which is a symbol of all we are as a nation, should have a criminal penalty that goes with it. Along with that penalty should be the enforcing of that law as this would stop these types of demonstrations. When the 9/11 destruction of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon occurred, we saw via TV, the burning of the American Flag by terrorists in the Middle East while dancing in their streets. We counted those people as enemies and terrorists; yet, if someone in our nation does the same thing, we ignore it. Any person who burns our flag should be counted as an enemy, as well, whether they are domestic or foreign offenders. If people are free to burn flags and they can do it (people are free to do evil every day), but I believe they should pay a penalty if they do. Just as people are free to commit crimes of murder and robbery, but there is a penalty when they do it. Freedom has boundaries. It also comes with a price and therefore just as we defend freedom, we should defend freedom’s symbol, our flag.
Even common sense, tells us that in our families, if one of our children becomes destructive, we just do not ignore it or allow it to happen, we take measures to stop destruction, as we have the whole family to look out for if we are responsible parents. However, in our nation, past leadership has become so politically correct, they do nothing about evil destructive acts anymore and they do it, in the name of freedom which is misguided. Freedom cannot exist if wicked people are allowed to continue unrestrained with their evil deeds, as evil will overtake the righteous if no one makes a stand against it. People even try to quote the Bible, that we are to “turn the other cheek” when attacked; however, that particular scripture is talking about an onslaught from a brother or sister in Christ on a personal level and cannot be applied to national security measures.
There has been discussion about amending the constitution to make flag burning illegal. However, in lieu of amending the constitution, perhaps the authorities could just make “flag burning” a criminal act and then enforce the penalties for breaking the law regarding that act. Not being a lawyer, I am not sure of the best approach to make “flag burning” illegal since it has been challenged at the Supreme Court level and determined to be a constitutional right. However, I am praying that our leaders will be able to find a wise way to properly deal with this issue and reverse past decisions that have allowed people to desecrate our flag.
I do believe our citizens should be allowed to peacefully protest against acts of our government that they believe to be wrong, such as they did regarding slavery in the past; however, “flag burning” demonstrations are generally not even specific as to the inflamed party’s grievances. They generally are done just to get attention and voice anger about their pet belief which could be voiced in a different venue with a better result. The government should always be open to listen to the people’s complaints, but clear rebellion against our government, without a cause, should not be tolerated.
Usually, burning the flag is not a protest of any particular act or acts, but rather a statement that they are against our entire government system because of some selfish desire of their own, which really is blatant lawlessness. This is unrestrained rebellion and anarchy when people riot and burn flags and in my opinion it is akin to a treasonous act. This being the case, it should be dealt with as a crime so that the perpetrators could be arrested, tried and punished under the national laws. Rebellion leads to other acts of violence such as destruction of property and looting. “Flag burning” should be addressed since it is an act of extreme rebellion. I pray that the Lord gives our leaders wisdom as how to deal with this act of rebellion and anarchy. As a Christian, we are admonished to pray for wisdom for our leaders so that we all can lead quiet and peaceable lives.
In our nation, treason in the truest sense is punishable by death. If a death sentence is not imposed, defendants face a minimum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine (18 U.S.C.A. § 2381). A person who is convicted of treason may not hold federal office at any time thereafter. Surely some time of punishment should apply to flag burners with a penalty for the act.
Shouldn’t we defend the rights of our honorable citizens, vets and soldiers who hold our flag dear to their hearts because of what it represents? Why should millions of good people allow a few rebels to desecrate our flag and get by with it, when we have the power to change our laws and enforce them? We have allowed political correctness to influence us as a society to believe that we must tolerate all kinds of deviant and rebellious behavior in the name of freedom. Our fore fathers would have never tolerated such actions.
As I stated, there is a way to protest our government if they become overbearing; however, protesting government actions, by burning our flag is not the way to do it. We the people, in a free society, should always be able to protest any unlawful or unjust acts of our government. However, these protests should not be acts of anarchy which destroy other people’s rights and property. It is a historical fact that Martin Luther King and Gandhi both proved by peaceful demonstrations that governments can be changed. The church, over the centuries, also has proved that evil authorities and rulers can be removed from their positions by prayer to God, asking Him for a divine intervention. Violence and destruction is not the way to protest.
An example of this, is in the recent riots in our streets. It is fine to protest any unjust acts of our government, but to riot against our structure of law and order by indiscriminately killing policemen, because a few policemen are “bad apples” is simply evil rebellion. Rioting with destruction, against the election of a president just because someone does not like the outcome of that election, is not peaceful protesting, but rather anarchy against our government structure. The book of Proverbs in the Bible speaks out against unruly mobs. Our government should be able to restrain unruly mobs and keep them from harming others and innocent people’s property. We should stand behind our police forces, as God has given us good government to restrain evil in society. Here is what the Bible says:
Romans 13:1-7: (RSV) “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of him who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.”
The very thing that holds our nation and society together is the maintenance of law and order so that all of our citizens can lead quiet and peaceful lives. Without law and order, evil would rule and destroy the righteous. Riotous destruction is lawlessness and the Bible is against such lawlessness. As Christians, we are to pray for our leaders and those in authority, not try to destroy them.
1 Timothy 2:1-4: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
Bottom Line: To me, as a Christian, and this is my personal opinion, burning the flag is one of those lawless acts against the life blood of our nation and it should be treated as a criminal act. Our government should do no less, if we claim to be a Christian nation who stands for liberty and justice. When individual evil men do acts that harm the corporate whole, those deeds should be punished, not tolerated, and that is the bottom line. In a democracy the corporate whole should decide what we should tolerate and what we should punish, not the rebellious few. Our Christian founding fathers found answers to these questions by seeking God in prayer and by searching the Holy Scripture for the right answers as God’s ways are always just and fair to all men. God honors any nation that exalts Him. Our President and leaders have God and His Word on their side when they follow the Words of the Bible. The last lyrics of our National Anthem attests to the importance of our flag and our country’s relationship with God.
United States National Anthem “The Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key 1814
(Notice the last lyrics below, although not usually sung)
Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
Proverbs 14:34 “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”
Proverbs 22:24 “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:”
Proverbs 29:22 “An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.”
Proverbs 29:2 “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”
Proverbs 29 has a message from the Bible to all involved in city uprisings and riots.
Warning Scriptures for young people who are tempted to run with an unruly mob.
Proverbs 1:10-19: “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. 11 If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: 12 Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: 13 We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: 14 Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: 15 My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:
16 For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. 17 Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.
18 And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives. 19 So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.”
Psalm 59:6-11: “They return at evening: they make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city. 7 Behold, they belch out with their mouth: swords are in their lips: for who, say they, doth hear? 8 But thou, O LORD, shalt laugh at them; thou shalt have all the heathen in derision. 9 Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defence. 10 The God of my mercy shall prevent me: God shall let me see my desire upon mine enemies.11 Slay them not, lest my people forget: scatter them by thy power; and bring them down, O Lord our shield.”
By our prayers God can still the tumult of the people that rise up in anarchy according to this scripture:
Psalm 65:5-7: “ By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea: 6 Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains; being girded with power: 7 Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people.”
Burning the Flag is an act of extreme rebellion against what our nation stands for and should not be tolerated.