Recovering Symbols

We’ve given up on love. Let me explain:

In one day we removed the Confederate flag and the next we raised the rainbow flag. These two events are not disconnected.

Protestants have a penchant for letting their symbols fall to disuse. Indeed, many cheered and supported the removal of the Confederate flag because, regardless of its real and original meaning, it had evolved in the eyes of the world to mean something else. Let it go. 

So also with the rainbow. It’s original meaning has something to do with a flood or whatever, but that is totally gone and has come to represent homosexuality, acceptance, and love. Which brings me to the main point.

Protestants lost the meaning of their own history, both as the people of God (rainbow) and as American citizens (Confederate history), and so now they have lost the meaning of the word “love”. Just Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion that marriage equality is an issue of a deep-seated need for love. Who can deny a person love? 

“And what is more compelling than this ode to love?” asked David French. How can you argue that gay mirage is wrong when it defines itself as a robust expression of love? 

I’ll tell you how. You have to redefine love. But since we’re given to let the world define terms for us – the Confederate flag, the rainbow flag, etc – will we really draw the line here?

Indeed, there are already many “Christians” who have come out in support of this redefinition, just as a short time ago there were Christians coming out in support of the redefinition of the Confederate flag. 

My question to them is, “Did you really not see the connection? Did you really not understand what the world meant by removing the one and changing the others?”

If you think I’m making false connections, observe this photo posted by no insignificant organization – The American Poverty Law Center:


In the eyes of the word, the removal of one was the establishment of the other. Christians who supported the one’s removal, therefore, helped raise the second – even if you disagree with the connection. Protestants often use the things of the world – its ideas, fashions, movements – while denying they mean what the world says it means. This is a stark example.

Present day America is what you get when Protestant churches try to keep politics out of the pulpit and religion out of the public sphere. Instead of keeping “politics out of the pulpit” and “religion out of the public sphere”, they have found a highly religious public sphere and soon-to-be politically-correct pulpits.

Separation of church and state used to mean that the government will have nothing to say about the church, now it means the church will have nothing to say about the government. In removing the church from the government, we have found the government removing the church. This is another area where the church has let slip its symbols and definitions. 

There is no way forward except by recovering our symbols – the symbols God in his providence has given us both in his word and in his history. It begins with defining things properly. This takes doing our homework, lots and lots of homework. And we pass it on in the paideia of our children, in the preaching in our pulpits, and in our writing and art and lifestyles. There is no way forward expect by going back, to pick up what we dropped. And we do this by reading history rightly and by preserving it’s truth.


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