Why I Rejoiced When The Flag Came Down!

Confederate_Rebel_FlagThe South Carolina decision to remove the Confederate Flag from the State House was an important and timely decision. It was right to do in memory of Pastor Clementa Pinckney and his denomination’s struggle against racism. It was right to do because of the insensitivity it would have shown to the families of the other eight victims murdered in the massacre. But it goes beyond respect for the lives of the victims.

The South Carolina legislature stated that they were not going to live in the past. The removal of the flag ends the state’s warfare with several civil rights legacy groups – like the NAACP. In matters of this magnitude, symbolism means a great deal. Therefore, South Carolina (as a state) has symbolically declared, “People have tried to force us to take this flag down and to accept the Civil Rights movement and other advances in race relations, but today we lay down our first amendment rights and voluntarily enter into a new celebration of unity and human dignity in our state.”

To the extent that my summation is true. This could mark the beginning of a new spirit of unity and the beginning of racial healing in the place where the first shots were fired in the Civil War over 150 years ago. The outpouring of love which began right after the nine murders was a manifestation of the strength of the American Spirit.

The AME Church modeled dignity and the power of forgiveness in a historic manner during the funeral of Rev. Pinckney. They demonstrated why the Christian community and clergy led the way in the civil right era 50 years ago. They will lead it in this season as well. Our race issues will not be solved by the politicians, businesses, churches, or community groups by themselves. The church and the healing power of the gospel will take us to a new dimension of personal, corporate, and community transformation. Our nation has made great strides in the area of race relations and basic civil rights because of the power of the gospel.

Our national wounds are deep and we must ask ourselves the question, “What are our next steps? How can we take the healing to another level?”

When President Obama remarked that racism “is in our DNA” in an interview a few days after the massacre in Charleston, he obviously wanted to “force” the nation to discuss our problems around the water cooler, the coffee table and the dinner table. I cannot justify the use of that dreaded “N” word, though. Neither am I saying this conversation starter was the best approach. Random discussion without clear strategy will not take us anywhere.

What was missing from that interview and his eulogy a few days later was a unifying call to action that would rise above the political frey. The president’s presence at Rev. Pinckney’s funeral was historic and very significant for all Americans, especially blacks. What was missing though was a brief statement from someone declaring that they wanted to celebrate black life, while not attempting to blame this generation of whites.

From as far back as the post-revolutionary days, White abolitionists joined with blacks to end slavery. Predominately white states like Maine offered as many as a tenth of their sons on civil war battle fields to end the cruelty of chattel slavery. The NAACP was begun because white Christians and Jews bank rolled the efforts and fought to end the dreaded problem of lynching in 1909. At the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, blacks and whites walked together. And now in Charleston, a multi-racial group sounded a death bell to hatred.

In this season in which it looks like black and white churches are being burned down, and in some cases it seems that these fires were arson, all Americans must see that healing our nations racial tensions is everyone’s Christian duty. Now is not the time to blame our fellow victims of the trauma who happen to be white, brown, or asian. Now is the time to build bridges, partnerships, and coalitions. My prayer for America is that she will once again bend her knee to a Sovereign God and cry out to be an instrument of His mercy and love. And I can hear the voice of Martin Luther King ringing in my inner ear saying, “I have a dream!”

Harry JacksonBishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD.

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  1. Happy conservative

    I totally disagree w you
    The flag had nothing to do w that man walking into the church and shooting the people. The flag is a piece of material. Blacks want to change America into a country that favors them. Not an equal but on higher ground just because of the color of their skin. Blacks do not deserve this. We are all members of the human race. One not better than another. I’m tired if blacks thinking they are owed something simply because if the color of their skin. No one us owed a thing.

  2. Sorry Bishop, but I demur. The “Battle Flag of The Confederacy” has been and will be a canard of a symbol of racism.

    As another wag commented, this whack was wearing a “Gold’s Gym” T-shirt – where’s the siren call to shut that ‘house of pain’ down?

    Would there be some fury to replace “Old Glory” had the whack been wearing anything resembling it? Truth be known, “The Stars and Stripes” flew much longer over “slavery” than did “The Stars and Bars!” Most of the people that fought and died in support of the Confederacy never ‘owned a slave’ and many fighting for the North were slave owners. There were even many “blacks” fighting for the Confederacy!

    Anyone thinking something like “state’s rights” have existed since the Civil War need look no further than Kalifornia. Without our ‘benevolent government’ casting a blind eye toward those CA “sanctuary cities,” they would be held in violation of “federal law,” which “they” will tell you trumps any state’s law, and would be “paying the piper!”

    America is in the crapper, by being dictated to by all this PC nonsense!

  3. If you don’t know your history, you can’t see the reason that this is not about a flag. It’s about freedom.

  4. MaryLena Anderegg

    I wonder if the pastor realized when he wrote this that taking down the Southern Cross meant the African American monument (which was part of the compromise which took the flag off the statehouse) would also have to be removed. The moment I heard the flag was leaving, I was saddened because that monument was so important in honoring the role African slaves and freedmen had in building that state. He is right on, however, about the response from Charleston which is an example (if it doesn’t get completely repressed by the media and the PC police) of how all communities should respond to such horrendous events regardless of whether the victims or perpetrators are black, white, or purple polka-dotted.

  5. Rev Martin Luther King is one of the greatest black men to have ever lived. He said, “I have a dream”. His dream was for everyone of every race to be equal, but that is not what the modern day blacks want….they want to be of a higher power…even if they don’t deserve it. There are some black men that deserved getting to the level of power, Colin Powell for one. But in this day the most discriminated against person is the middle aged white male….He is not black, a woman or under the age of 30. I do agree that both white AND black Christians should break down the wall of segregation together for the betterment of America, not black America or white America, but for America. Until we look beyond the color of a persons skin it will never happen.

  6. I am sorry that Star Parker and Harry Jackson have given up making sense, have sided with the race-baiters, AND HAVE BECOME ANTI-WHITE RACISTS. Hiding the Confederate flag will not make even the tiniest step toward abolishing racism and improving relationships. That flag means many things to many people and it is only giving in to divisiveness to take it down from where it has stood for such things as southern hospitality, fighting back against federal intrusion into private business, the history of NASCAR, a fun TV show (enjoyed by people of all colors) called Dukes of Hazard, and more. This is the nose of the camel. The rest will soon follow, and we will soon have no right to history, no right to culture, no right to PBJ’s, no right to brunch, and no right to anything anyone decides to call racist.

  7. The NAACP had no comment when the Clinton-Gore 1992 campaign used the battle flag on their campaign materials, evidently the flag only offends when the “wrong” kind of people display it.

  8. The very name, DEMOCRAT is associated with slavery, KKK, lynching, Jim Crow Laws, literacy tests, segregation, opposition to anti-lynching laws, Civil Rights laws, intermarriage. They should retire that hateful name along with relatively mild Redskins, and the Confederate flag that THEY created!

  9. If your analogy is correct, then WHY did Rev Pinckney vote to keep the flag flying ? It is just a flag, that is part Southern heritage. PERIOD.

  10. Sorry but what this has done is and will incite further racial divide. Have you thought about how many Carolinians love this flag. Have you thought that by forcing this flag to be removed will cause further tension and division among the races, yes it will. To what degree who knows but it certainly will. Confederate flags are being purchased nation wide and you have a hard time finding any. I see more cars and trucks and houses flying the confederate flag like I have never seen before and it was very rare. This was a stupid decision and some other way would have been better accepted. I personally am tired of the hype and the fact that Black citizens can not let go of something that happened years ago. Many Blacks object to the radical agenda of the liberal politicians and activists and they just want it to go away so that things will steadily improve as they have. Its those who incite racism is the real cause of racism itself. For anyone with a bright intellect should know that no matter what is done, you can not by any means erase racism. I have no allegiance to the Confederate flag but I do to the Constitution. Giving up the 1st Amendment right to freedom of expression is nothing less than a socialist, communist move to remove our rights and liberties.

  11. Why pick and choose facts to construe as truth? The Republican Party was founded to obliterate slavery, and Lincoln was the first president of the Republican Party. The KKK was formed as an arm to the Democrat party to stop black people from voting. There has been nothing in history but pure propaganda to change the voter demographic, so please explain to me, the logic behind the dedication to the Democrat party. Nothing in the principals have changed. The Republican Party was formed for freedom, and will always stand for freedom of all Americans.

  12. “Pride comes before the fall.” Southern pride in this case.
    Scanning over the hate posts, one would think there is a high amount of racism in America. I think the pride tied to the battle flag can be misinterpreted as such. I think it is an important point to note the flag was taken down by the state of South Carolina, not because of a judgement or worse, a riot.
    To my dear brother, Mr. Jackson, I have your back in Texas!

  13. Like the war on poverty, desegregation, open borders, affordable housing, minimum wage, racial quotas in higher education, and the lists goes on…the intended goals versus their devastating outcomes are a testament to the failure of progressive ideology and usually involve the hidden agenda to destroy a greater target…the will of the majority is conveniently a victim of a taxpayer funded and government backed minority concern!