Ever since first seeing the picture of Dylan Roof burning the U.S. flag it has reminded me of another anti-flag protest from just a month ago by those who self-designated as “terrorists against white people.” The first question that ran into my mind was how two groups of people so antithetical in every way could have perfect unity in the expression of that opposition.
Dylan wanted to join the KKK and he vowed violence and enacted it. Eric Shepherd joined the Black Panther Party and vowed violence but had to flee before he had the opportunity. Many things could be said of each. Yet it is odd that while both sides are against each other, both also protest the same U.S. flag. Roof burns the flag in hatred toward blacks. The “Eric Shepherd Challengers” stomp on the flag in hatred toward whites. Now that’s irony, sad sad irony.
We must ask ourselves how it is that the narrative of American history can be so construed – so butchered – as to anger black people against whites and white people against blacks – and all under the same banner. How is it that the same American flag has come to represent to blacks the oppression of whites and to whites the evils of blacks (according to Roof’s manifesto)? Someone has to be wrong here. Either it means the one or the other or neither, but it cannot be both. It is so coincidental a mirroring of perfectly diametrical causes as to merit a conspiracy.
This could only have happened due to a rendering of history, narratives, and ideas which we have all been fed, that has caused us to see in one and the same symbol a hatred toward each other race. But what system of ideas has so divided us into classes of oppression and opposition, triggered under the same banner? It’s almost like we are Pavlov’s dogs who have been trained to salivate – but with anger – at the sound of a bell.
Roof is an angry white man and Shepherd is an angry black man. They represent a country so backwards that the white is against the black and the black against the white and both mark as their gesture the desecration of the same country’s flag. Whatever we think of their views, they must be heard and answered. Mere shouting and name-calling does nothing to bring peace; it only divides us so deeply that we express our hatred for one another by doing mutually contradictory acts. America is divided under the one banner of America. A house divided against itself cannot stand. It is truly a tragedy!
Though, I do not have all the answers, I do know that the division among us is so extreme and so perfectly opposite that it seems manufactured or engineered. I also know that class division is a tactic of Marxism, which is evolutionary race-struggle at the social and human level implemented by legislation. I don’t have all the answers, but we can each of us aim our thoughts and prayers, our words and deeds toward reconciliation – not retaliation. And not reconciliation in our common humanity alone but reconciliation in the only thing, the only One who unifies – the gospel of Jesus Christ. Until we are reconciled with God, we will not be reconciled with to each other. Only in Christ is there forgiveness for sins. Only in Christ there are no Jews or Greeks, no male or female, no slaves and no masters, but all are one. In the words of an old hymn, “Down with the eagle and up with the cross.” God help us all.
“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Cor 13
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” Matt 5