January 2016– What does the Mississippi flag mean to you? That was my question in search of answers concerning the recent unrest over the flag. The most prominent reasons given by those who want to change the flag are: (1) It is divisive; (2) it doesn’t represent “all” the people; (3) it represents slavery. But, are these accusations justified?
Is the 1894 Mississippi Flag Divisive & Is Division Necessarily Bad?
In 2001, Mississippians voted 2 to 1 to retain the flag, so the overwhelming majority voted to keep it, which is a sign of unity, not divisiveness.
Then, in 2015, House Speaker Philip Gunn said, “I believe our state’s flag has become a point of offense that needs to be removed.” U.S. Senator Roger Wicker based his reason for changing the flag on the Christian commandment to love one’s neighbor.
What does the Bible say about “division”? In Luke 12:51-52 Jesus Christ says, “Suppose ye that I am come to bring peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth, there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.” Division can be a holy thing, indeed.
The early Christians preached the gospel in Greece and Rome, causing so much division that government officials murdered them. When America’s founding fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence, they brought serious charges against King George III. Those accusations were offensive and divisive, but they needed to be written and delivered. Doing so established our God-given right to the freedom of speech we enjoy today.
Speaker Gunn and Senator Wicker implied that the Christian faith requires us to stop using symbols that offend other people, but Christ offended the Pharisees when he told them they were hypocrites, and white-washed sepulchers. Someone needed to say it, and the Pharisees needed to hear it. Speaking the truth to your neighbor is an act of love.
Speaker Gunn and Senator Wicker swear oaths to God to uphold the state and/or federal constitutions, but then they violate their oaths by voting to spend money on unauthorized programs (i.e. social welfare programs, “foreign aid,” tax money given to wealthy corporations, low interest loans to corporations, money to fund the murder of unborn children, etc.). Obviously, they can pull their Christian faith out of a box and use it when it’s convenient, but stuff it back in when it’s not! That’s hypocrisy.
Does the Flag Represent Only a Few?
There are over three million people in Mississippi, and it is impossible to get everyone to agree on anything. Some people will always feel dissatisfied, slighted, or marginalized. In seeking a compromise, the reasonable course is to find a solution that satisfies the majority, and the only way to get a majority opinion is to allow the people to vote on the solution. The flag-haters say they want a new flag that represents all the people, while trying to force the removal of the current flag that has been approved by a two-thirds majority. That’s hypocrisy.
Does the Flag Represent Slavery?
The flag-haters point to the Declarations of Secession as evidence that the battle flag represents slavery and racism. But that assertion is a “false narrative” because its omission of key historical facts leads to the wrong conclusion.
From July 4, 1789 until 1860, Congress enacted several tariffs to provide revenue for the U.S. government, including the tariffs of 1789, 1816 and 1824. A tariff is a tax on imported or exported goods. In 1828, Congress passed the Tariff of Abomination, which caused the British to buy less cotton from the South. Consequently, the South had to increase sales to the North at a reduced profit. Further, the South was forced to buy goods manufactured in the North at a high price. Thus, the Northern companies and economy benefited at the expense of the Southern companies and economy. Northern Congressmen had tried repeatedly to force Southern farmers to sell their raw materials to Northern industries, instead of industries in England or France. In response, South Carolina declared the tariffs of 1828 and 1832 to be null and void— not binding on the state or its citizens. At the same time, South Carolina considered secession for the first time and put the issue of “states’ rights” on the table. Southern states began to consider secession as a form of relief if the federal government ever tried again to ruin them economically.
Northern Congressmen tried repeatedly to raise tariff rates. In 1860, after 30 years of fighting over tariff rates, along with the prospect of a Republican president and Party platform that threatened to raise tariff rates, the people of the South— like a battered wife who finally gives up hope of a lasting marriage and moves out before losing her life— gave up hope and seceded from the Union. When the South sought relief through secession, Lincoln pressed the North into an army and invaded the South.
The tariff war laid the foundation for the North’s invasion of the Confederate States of America.
During the war, the Confederate States designed a battle flag patterned on the St. Andrews Cross as a symbol of resistance to the invasion; the same pattern is found on the 1894 flag of Mississippi. The pattern was not designed with slavery in mind. Slavery was a side issue that Lincoln added later as moral camouflage for himself and the North’s invasion.
Slavery had been practiced in the original 13 Colonies, and continued in many states under the Union flag until 1865, including the slave states of Delaware and Maryland, the border states of Kentucky and West Virginia, and other areas under the control of the Union army.
On March 2, 1861, the Union passed the Corwin Amendment to amend the United States Constitution, which would permanently prohibit Congress from interfering in the states’ domestic affairs so that slavery could continue in the slave states.
On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln said, “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”
In 1861, Union General Benjamin Butler convinced Lincoln not to return fugitive slaves to the South, but to hold them as war contraband. Butler argued that since the Confederate States of America claimed to be a separate, sovereign nation, it was no longer eligible to benefit from the Fugitive Slave Clause in Article IV of the U.S. Constitution. So, fugitive slaves were held as property of the Union government and forced to work for the Union during the war. Lincoln recognized the Confederacy as a separate, sovereign nation for the purpose of denying them access to the U.S. Constitution, but he justified his military invasion by claiming the Confederacy was not a separate, sovereign nation. Another hypocrisy.
In 1862, Lincoln admitted that as long as he held the position that the war was fought to save the Union, rather than to end slavery, England and France could side with the South; therefore, in order to prevent England and France from recognizing the independence of the Confederate States, Lincoln began to claim that the war was fought to end slavery. Lincoln’s repackaging of his motive for war is the reason many history books now print the lie that the North fought to end slavery. (The Civil War: Forever Free; PBS, September 23, 1990)
Is the Miss. Flag a Symbol of Hope?
The Confederate battle flag was patterned on the flags of Scotland, England and the St. Andrews Cross (the Saltire or “X” on the flag). The Scots used the St. Andrews Cross to represent resistance to the tyranny of the English government.
The Confederate Battle Flag was flown by the newly freed people of Germany in 1989 when the Berlin wall was torn down. Christian Croats in their 1993 war with Bosnia also flew the Confederate Battle Flag to proclaim the death of Communism in Europe.
The St. Andrews Cross has been used for centuries as a symbol of resistance to invaders and a symbol of hope against tyrannical governments.
In 1789, America’s founding fathers severely limited the power of the federal government, restricting it to only a short list of delegated powers (Article I, Section 8, U.S. Constitution), reserving all other power to the state governments (Amendment 10). Later, Congress began to use money from the public treasury for un-Constitutional (illegal) actions such as subsidizing railroad and steamboat companies, and other socialistic endeavors that favored the rich and politically powerful Northern industrialists. At the same time, and increasingly ever after, the disciples of Karl Marx, greedy industrialists, and others have worked to undermine the Constitution and illegally expand the power of the federal government. These forces are working to establish a strong central government and a central bank to plunder the labor of the taxpayers. Lincoln’s invasion and the resulting “Reconstruction” era set the stage for the destruction of the American republic and its replacement by an empire that opens wide the door for immoral men of great wealth and power.
The greatest weapon that the enemies of Liberty (freedom linked to morality) have used is the publishing of their own false version of history, blurring the truth in order to hide the real motives for Lincoln’s invasion: expansion of federal power and confiscation of wealth.
Two opposing groups have been at war for centuries. One group believes that governments exist to confiscate and redistribute wealth, with the lion’s share going to those who control the government through their proxies: corrupt politicians. The other group believes government exists to provide a free and moral domain where free enterprise can flourish and labor is rewarded, thereby blessing and enriching all members of society.
The St. Andrews Cross on the Mississippi flag symbolizes the hope that we might one day restore proper limitations on government power. The Mississippi flag and I stand with those who want to restore the republic. Please join with me to preserve our Mississippi flag.
Author: Vince Thornton, January 2016.
Reprinted & distributed in thousands of copies of the Dixie Banner™.