What the flag is said to represent:

  • History of the region and many people in it.
  • The sacrifice of soldiers who stood up for what they believe in.
  • A legacy of conviction and principles worth fighting for
  • Core beliefs of people who unite under the flag
  • Unity among those who ascribe to similar beliefs

I am talking of course, about the ISIL flag.  Or perhaps I’m talking about the Nazi flag.  Amazingly enough I could be talking about any flag in the world and that is why the debate around the Confederate Battle Standard is so dangerous: symbols are dangerous not because of what they are meant to represent, but because of what they come to represent.

The inverted cross was once a symbol of humility before Christ as Peter insisted on being crucified upside down since he was unworthy to share in the same suffering as his lord.  Now it is a Satanic symbol.

The swastika was once, and actually continues to be in some parts of the world, a symbol of good fortune and prosperity bordering on “blessed by the divine.”  Now it’s a symbol of hatred and anti-Semitism.

Poseidon’s trident was a symbol of strength, masculinity, and victory.  Now it’s the devil’s pitchfork.

I would not fly any of these symbols now that I understand the power they can have over someone who does not understand the real history (whatever that real history may be).  I think that the Confederate battle flag should not be displayed anywhere in this country except in museums and civil war re-enactments for the same reason.  There are people who are using it as a rallying point to engage in ethnic violence in the exact same way that the swastika or the black standard of ISIL are used.

And if we can deprive such people of any weapon at all, then I don’t understand why it is such a big deal to do so.