Monday, June 15, 2009

Flag Worship Day

Today is Flag Day- a time to reflect on the state and its supporter’s fascination, reverence and stodgy defense of it symbols.

Supporters bristle at the argument that such an obsession is akin to religious fervor. But all you have to do is examine the “disposal process” of these symbols when they become worn and unacceptable.

According to United States Code, Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8(k):
"The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning."

What is considered “dignified” is where the religion-like, devotional solemnity comes into play. It seems there is no prescribed, universally accepted ceremony for proper disposal of the flag. There seem to be as many different disposal programs as there are organizations that venerate this piece of cloth. I guess you could consider each program a denomination- they all worship the same symbol but differ in the matter that their worship is executed. The Boy Scouts and the American Legion are certainly a couple of the most active flag-retiring organizations. The Scouts go as far as to warn participants that the flag is NOT to be considered “burned,” but “retired.”

Flag worshippers will deny to perpetuity that their flag-love is akin to religious idol worship. Some (as a commenter to the DMN story) would argue that anyone disagreeing should rightly “move to North Korea.”
Merriman Webster’s Dictionary defines “religious” as:

relating or devoted to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity 2 : of relating to religious beliefs or observances 3 : scrupulously and conscientiously faithful 4 : fervent, zealous

Don’t these specifics seem to apply?
Of course, the US flag is a religious symbol- representative of the US civic religion. It is handled (at least by the followers of this religion) with all the delicacy and reverence of any religious artifact.

The enforced “proper disposal” of this flag is also proof of its religious connotation. When the flag is burned on the street as a form of political protest, the flag religionist considers this act sacrilegious, abominable and disrespectful. However, the flag can be burned for disposal purposes, as long as the proper formality and ceremony is followed and the appropriate incantations and proclamations are uttered. The physical reality in both cases is………… THE FLAG IS BURNED!

So, now we have a group of youths (Boy Scouts) dressed in identical military style uniforms, exhibiting a prescribed religious reverence towards an adored political symbol. Sounds and looks like North Korea to me!

The nationalistic sophistry used by US Loyalists exposes them as just as goofy and spooky in their state worshipping activities as the rival groups they continually demonize.

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