Burning the sacred?

The United States Senate is considering a constitutional amendment to ban the desecration of the American flag. Now, I’ve never once considered burning an American flag nor am I likely to burn one in the future. But I am absolutely against a constitutional amendment of this nature for a couple of reasons.

As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ I cannot accept the language of this proposed amendment – “banning the desecration of the American flag”. To desecrate something means to violate the sanctity of it. Sanctity means something is holy or sacred. So this amendment, by definition, explicitly forbids the desecration of the American flag because the flag is considered a sacred, holy object. On this issue the Bible could not be more clear. God and God alone is holy and only He deserves to be treated as such. To attribute sacred or holy status to an object is to make an idol of it and I will not do it. To do so would be an affront to God.

Furthermore, I oppose this amendment because it runs contrary to the very foundation of the United States. Ours is a country founded on liberty. The Bill of Rights was authored specifically to limit the power of government over the liberties they viewed as God given.

Encroaching on the individual liberties of citizens in favor of protecting symbols of the state is the conduct of totalitarian countries not free ones. Besides, the respect due to a symbol in inherently found in that which the symbol represents. The American flag only deserves respect as long as the country it represents deserves respect.

It is ironic indeed that the country that embraces individual liberty to the point of allowing the “desecration” of its national symbols is the country whose symbols very few would want to “desecrate.” But, the country that violates the liberty of its citizens for the sake of protecting symbols is the country whose symbols are no longer worthy of protection.

An amendment to prevent the “desecration” of the American flag may yet be adopted and those who see the flag as sacred will have succeeded in making it illegal to burn the object of their worship – all while the principles of individual liberty once represented by the flag go up in smoke.

About Chip
Chip is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. He served more than five years on the staff of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana as Director of Communications and Public Relations, editor of the Indiana Baptist newsjournal, and regular contributor to the Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. He currently earns his living as a writer. He serves his local church as a teacher and deacon and his local Baptist Association as a Seminary Extension instructor and supply preacher.

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