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The Flag - Where is the dividing line between respect, disrespect, and worship?

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posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 07:56 AM
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I recently read a thread where one person's avi was decried as disrespectful to the American Flag, because a woman was wearing it as a swimsuit.

This begs these questions:

1.) Should your country's flag be respected?

There are some who feel like the flag is not the country, or the constitution, or the people, it is merely a quick reference symbol. They feel it is no more deserving of respect than a corporate logo. Then there are some who feel the flag embodies everything a country stands for, its history, its people, its ideals... and there' a lot of people in the middle. What's it mean to you?

2.) Where's the dividing line between respect and disrespect for one's flag?

Most people, I feel, can agree that acts like defecating on the flag would be rather disrespectful, but sometimes the dividing line is a lot more vague. Is the flag worn as a fashion statement a compliment or a curse? Is it something that should never ever be altered or used in any way other than a flag? If it is made into a garment, where is the dividing line and why? For instance, would a country & western shirt patterned after the U.S. flag, worn while playing of the National Anthem be any more respectful than a swimsuit patterned after the flag, worn to the beach for some fun and liesure time? What if it was worn by the wife of an active soldier?

3.) Where's the dividing line between worship and respect for one's flag?

Where does intent to maintain respect for the flag become worship? When does it reach the near-religious point that endangers free speech or criticism? Most people I know have no problem with people who treat a flag with respect, or put it outside their house on a national holiday. But when does one's attention and attitudes towards the flag start to creep a bit?


Anyway, I very much encourage anyone from around the world to participate in this discussion, because I'm curious as to what views are from everywhere, not just the USA. And if you're wondering why, I'm just trying to get a feel for something I'm currently ignorant on, and this seems as good a place as any.




posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 08:09 AM
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I view the flag as a symbol, nothing more. Suppose the US is a house; the flag would be the paint and the constitution would be the foundation. Which matters more then, the paint on the house or the foundation that makes the house stand and remain stable?

As for the concept of disrespect to the flag I think its an interesting topic. According to the flag code all those stickers of flags are wrong, as is any use of the flag outside its designated use (meaninng no flag blankets, capes, pillows, window appliques for trucks) If people took the flag code to heart they would be more angry that people market the flag than at those who burn it.



posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 08:20 AM
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I for one, absolutely believe that the flag is something that should be respected, and revered. Worshipped? No I think that is a little strong. I grew up in a very strict Military household, and absolutely love being an American. I've been taught, and truly, TRULY believe that the flag is a symbol that is to be respected. The bastards that step on, or burn the flag do it BECAUSE of the symbolism the flag holds. Doing that to a nations flag is the most disrespectful thing you can do peacefully. I for one have actually gotten into trouble for punching someone who was burning the Stars and Stripes.
As far as wearing the flag goes. I see nothing wrong with it, if it is not disrespectful. I know of the avatar being spoken of here...(drool)...
Disrespectful, no, IMHO.
When all of the uproar happened when Abbie Hoffman wore an American Flag shirt during the original Woodstock - why?
Frankly, I think that wearing a flag shirt is kind of cool. It shows patriotism - it really does. It's not rocket science here.



posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 08:23 AM
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I respect the flag. We have flags here at home, currently not being flown. They're not being flown because that would be hypocrasy on my part nowadays.
Having said that, I take good care of them and have respect for them in the intrum.
I hope the day will come when i can proudly fly one again.

Should things change, i will be the first one out there flying one.

Waiting.


[edit on 1-9-2006 by dgtempe]



posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 08:28 AM
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To me, being an American, I respect the US flag and would die or kill for what it stands for....but not for the flag itself, it's only cloth


I also think anyone has the right express themselves by burning, pissing, spitting, wearing and whatever else they can think of to the US flag....but imo, it's very distasteful and people that do such things have no class, bottom of the cest pool, 100% grade-A scum.

Most of the time when people burn, etc.. flags, they do it with the intention to piss people off, not to better their cause or make a statement.



[edit on 1/9/2006 by SportyMB]



posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 08:44 AM
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Originally posted by dgtempe
I respect the flag. We have flags here at home, currently not being flown. They're not being flown because that would be hypocrasy on my part nowadays.
Having said that, I take good care of them and have respect for them in the intrum.
I hope the day will come when i can proudly fly one again.

Should things change, i will be the first one out there flying one.

Waiting.


[edit on 1-9-2006 by dgtempe]


Hi dgtempe,
I assume that you don't fly them due to the current administration and/or war?
I am one of the many who don't agree with the "war", however I absolutely support the troops. My next door neighbor Keith - a great kid - just returned from a tour in Iraq. Semper Fi Keith! He volunteered to go due to his love of our country.
His stories are unbelievable. What goes on over there is not what is being shown, or reported.
I do fly my flags. I FLY THEM PROUDLY. I do it for love of my country. I do it out of respect for every man and woman who fell defending this great land. I do it for every man and woman fighting today to defend us while we bitch and complain on the computer about how terrible everything is. Keith risked his life for us, yet can't legally be served a beer. Aint that just great? I do it for every man woman and child who lost a Mommy, a Daddy, a Brother or sister, or god forbid, a child.
Yes I do fly my flags. Yes I do salute my flag. Yes I do stand up, hand on heart, and get teary eyed when the Star Spangled Banner is played and the flag is flying in all her glory. When the Star Spangled Banner is played, like during the Super Bowls, and the jets come roaring in at the very end of the song, (remember when Whitney Houston sang it?) the tears actually flow down my cheeks.
Yes I do respect my flag.

Just my 2 cents



posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 09:05 AM
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What can i say. For me to fly the flags it would mean that i am at peace with the current goings on....and i'm not.

I support the troops. I dont have any banners on my car stating i support them. Is that a sign that i do not support them?
Do i secretly, subconciously, not support them because i dont have a ribbon type bumper sticker?Must we show the world a symbol just so we are believed?

I support in my heart the men who do battle for our country. It is not thier fault that they were sent into that bogus war at all. Some seeking education, some, wanting to help the cause...whatever their reasons, they were good and genuine reasons with the countries best intention at heart.


For me to put up symbols at this time makes me think i'd be a hypocrit...after all, we celebrate things with symbols, dont we? I find nothing to celebrate lately with this government.



posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 09:15 AM
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Originally posted by dgtempe
What can i say. For me to fly the flags it would mean that i am at peace with the current goings on....and i'm not.

I support the troops. I dont have any banners on my car stating i support them. Is that a sign that i do not support them?
Do i secretly, subconciously, not support them because i dont have a ribbon type bumper sticker?Must we show the world a symbol just so we are believed?

I support in my heart the men who do battle for our country. It is not thier fault that they were sent into that bogus war at all. Some seeking education, some, wanting to help the cause...whatever their reasons, they were good and genuine reasons with the countries best intention at heart.


For me to put up symbols at this time makes me think i'd be a hypocrit...after all, we celebrate things with symbols, dont we? I find nothing to celebrate lately with this government.


Hey dgtempe,
I'm not judging you at all. The beauty of this country is that we can choose. As you said, symbolism is just that - a symbol. What you feel in your heart is what truly matters.

I do show symbolism, you do not, but we both believe pretty much the same thing.
Hopefully, there will be something to celebrate soon, then we'll compare flags!
Just my 2 cents.



posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 09:35 AM
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Your nation flag should be respected.

A nation flag represents your liberty, your people and your history. You should be proud of it. Of course, there are those who disagree with what a flag, for what it use to represent and may think it stands for something else (we get that all the time in the UK).

I do have flags hanging in my room, which represent my heritage , but i will be truthly, i don't hang a Union Jack in my room (or my house) and i never will. because it doesnt represent the whole of the UK (but lets not get into it, its a complicated subject)



posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 10:22 AM
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As a Texan and American, the flag and what it means to me has changed a lot over the last three decades...

As a child growing up in the buckle of the Bible Belt, the U.S. Flag ranked right up there with The Cross. We stood before both, on their respective days, and pledged our allegiance to these symbols. If someone wore the flag as a garment, it meant they were uber-patriotic. The idea of "America The Beautiful" was right up there with John 3:16. The two were paired together more often than not, and even our Church had the pledge of allegiance, but not before prayer. Kids who disrespected either were beaten by adults and their classmates alike. It was about as right-wing conservative a child-rearing as one could get.

I would later prove to not really be cut out for the Bible-thumping crowd, I was a bit too accepting of other people's heathen ways. It also disturbed me that the one thing Christians revered over everything else was a couple of pieces of wood used to brutally torture and murder an otherwise good man, rather than the message that man stood for. But I never stopped loving the flag...

...I then joined the Boy Scouts of America, it was a good move, in my opinion. Not only did I learn a lot of survival skills, leadership skills, and had a lot of fun camping, but since all the adult leaders of the Troop were retired Marines and Army (except for the one Air Force retiree that they always gave a hard time for "the soft life"), I was taught the proper way to handle, fly, fold, present, and otherwise respect the U.S. Flag. As my non-scout schoolmates grew into their late rebellious teens, and suddenly patriotism became the anti-cool, and hating everything about the United States government became very en vogue, I still was able to maintain what I feel is an objective view of the symbol of our nation. I respected the flag, and respected other's right to do (however loathsome) what they wanted to it...

...as I later progressed into young adulthood, I became acutely aware that, as patriotic about the U.S. as people were, they were about ten times as much so about the TEXAS flag. Every mall has a "Texas Store" of some sort, and a shop of that type exists on nearly every corner. I actually worked for a firm that cancelled all business deals because their proposal used "Tx" instead of the word "Texas." And in nearly every furniture section, there is at least 2 different selections that display either the Texas Flag, the Lone Star, or the Steer. Every other house in suburbia displays one of these three things. While the American flag comes out 2 or 3 times a year, the Texas Flag is firstmost in people's hearts here. They are Texans First and Americans Second. I would venture so far as to say if there were ever battle-lines drawn, most native Texans would opt to fight for Texas instead of the United States. Being born in Texas grants one a certain...exclusivity...that can never be garnered through any other means. A man could move here when he was one-day old, but if he was born in New York, he'd never quite be up to par with a native Texan in this state.

Asinine? Obsessive? Ridiculous? Perhaps. But it is a source of strength for some people. When you have begun to lose your faith in your God, your Government, and even your Fellow Americans, you can always take heart in the fact that, as a Texan, you are able to survive one of the most hellish places on Earth and even thrive. It can unite people like no other thing I know. Baptists, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Agnostics, and Atheists, even people born outside the state and country, end up united in their love of the Texas Flag.

That is one powerful symbol.

While I imagine that most Texans would show a degree of grudging restraint if they saw someone poo on the American flag, I strongly suspect that if they tried the same with a Texan Flag, in Texas, a lynch mob would result. I pretty sure the cops wouldn't intervene, or if they did, they'd wait until the offender had been beaten black and blue and was nearly on the verge of death before stepping in with a reluctant, "okay, boys, that's enough... this here is a law abidin' state after all."

The power the Texas Flag has over people seems far more so than any other symbol I know. Sometimes it scares me. Sometimes it just makes me damned proud to be a Texan.



posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 10:31 AM
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Originally posted by thelibra
I recently read a thread where one person's avi was decried as disrespectful to the American Flag, because a woman was wearing it as a swimsuit.


I see it in plastic glasses, in pens, in cakes, paper naps to clean the mouth, resuming...every where, every day!!, why in a swimming suit is diferent?!,,,although,,,any atlet that goes for a sport event use it on they'r suits....it is that a disrespectful way?!?-...weird.



posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 10:53 AM
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Well we might as well have me post in here.

Now, the flag code, yes I have read the flag code and yes I understand what is says, however to me there is one thing to consider as well, intent. I know that according to the flag code the Flag should not be worn as clothing but to me that's one of those rules that should not be so strictly interpreted.

I'm currently wearing a red shirt with a small American flag on the chest area of the shirt, am I doing it to deface the flag? NO. I'm doing it so I can show my flag wherever I go, and I see nothing wrong with that. I've seen other examples of this too, police officers, vets, active duty, regular Joe's and yes, even politicians wearing flag as part of their attire. WHY are they doing it? IMO it's not so they can be disrespectful, like I said before it's so they can display their flag.

And DG you should get those stars and stripes up ASAP. The flag represents America and what WE as individuals and as a collective whole stand for. It's an independent symbol no matter what leadership we may have at any given time.

[edit on 1-9-2006 by WestPoint23]



posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 10:58 AM
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Originally posted by thelibra
1.) Should your country's flag be respected?


I'm not big on the word 'should' because that implies imposing my morals on others. So I'll just say what I think. I'm on the 'symbol' side of this particular debate (if you want to call it that). The flag is a symbol of many important standards and ideals that this country stands for. To me, it's those ideals and standards that are important, not the piece of cloth that represents them.



2.) Where's the dividing line between respect and disrespect for one's flag?


Well, any act that's done with the intention of disrespect is disrespectful. Burning the flag in protest is a disrespectful act (which I support) but burning the flag because it's old and tattered is NOT disrespectful. On the contrary, it's the respectful way to dispose of a flag. So while the act is the same, the intention is not.

I personally don't have any feelings one way or another about people wearing the flag. I believe in free expression and support that whatever the form.

Defecating on the flag is clearly intended to be disrespectful. And if that's how someone wants to express themselves, I say go for it. I prefer other ways of expression (and elimination), but wouldn't begin to impose those on others.



3.) Where's the dividing line between worship and respect for one's flag?


Again, if someone wants to worship and pray to their flag, wear it, fly 10 flags in front of their home, I think they 'should' do just that. It's not hurting anyone. It's when they start to tell others to behave in the same manner and with the same beliefs that it starts to infringe on others' rights.

I don't 'show' patriotism for the most part. My patriotism is no one's business. I don't salute the flag, nor stand for the National Anthem. I don't sing it or put my hand on my heart. Too many people do these things by rote and they have become largely meaningless. Children recite the pledge without having a clue of what it means. Showing patriotism has basically become just that for many people (not all). A 'show'.

Ask your average flag-waver what the stars and stripes actually represent. Ask them what the colors signify. Ask them specifically what the flag stands for. I wager you'll be amused at the answers. (and I said your AVERAGE flag-waver, Westie.
)

[edit on 1-9-2006 by Benevolent Heretic]



posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 11:03 AM
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BH you had me hyperventilating when you were describing the thing that you don't do but its ok, it's your choice after all. And BTW, I don't have 10 flags in front of my house, only 5, and they're not even that big.



posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 11:37 AM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic

Ask your average flag-waver what the stars and stripes actually represent. Ask them what the colors signify. Ask them specifically what the flag stands for. I wager you'll be amused at the answers. (and I said your AVERAGE flag-waver, Westie.
)

[edit on 1-9-2006 by Benevolent Heretic]


That's a very true and sad point.
I figure this is a good place to educate if you will.
The 13 stripes of the American Flag represent the original 13 colonies.
The Color Red represents VALOR
The color White represents LIBERTY or PURITY
The Color Blue represents JUSTICE, LOYALTY and PERSERVEREANCE
The 50 stars in the Blue field represent the present 50 states

Hope this helps from your friendly neighborhood Flag-Waver.



posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 11:42 AM
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Originally posted by infinite
Your nation flag should be respected.

A nation flag represents your liberty, your people and your history. You should be proud of it. Of course, there are those who disagree with what a flag, for what it use to represent and may think it stands for something else (we get that all the time in the UK).

I do have flags hanging in my room, which represent my heritage , but i will be truthly, i don't hang a Union Jack in my room (or my house) and i never will. because it doesnt represent the whole of the UK (but lets not get into it, its a complicated subject)


The pledge of allegiance to the flag says it is of the United States of America and the Republic for which it stands. So it is a symbol, and therefore meaningful mainly when "flying the colors" is appropriate. On gov't buildings, warships, and other entities that need identification as to which nation is represented.

On the surface it would seem that as a symbol it is not, in and of itself, deserving of extraordinary handling, yet traditionally, it has had to be handled, folded, hung, and stored with great and almost reverent care.

I think the current 'looseness' of wearing it as part of one's clothing, or displaying it on a car can have contradictory meanings, and also easily lead to disrespectful usage. By disrespect, I mean burning, defecating on it, and so on. Or using its symbolism for things that disrespect America, like those who might use the cloth made into the image of the flag for diapers and the like. But of course the purpose of disrespecting it, burning it in the streets of Iraq or Afghanistan is defiance of the power it represents.

The disrespect I frequently see closer to home is among those who take all America will give them and demand more while sitting on the bench at a basketball game during the Pledge of Allegiance, or talking during the recitation of it, or even just moving around as if the Pledge means nothing at all.

I still place my hand over my heart during the Pledge, stand still and face the flag, and not JUST because I was taught to do so early on, but because I know that flag represents my country, my people, some of whom gave their lives so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have, and my gratitude and love is with it and them.

I do not fly the flag at home, because I live in America, so have no need to "display my colors", but I have no problems with those who do, or who put small ones on their cars and trucks either. Neither do I worship the flag, for to do so is idolatry according to my faith. It is not a 'god', anyway, but a symbol of the 'land that I love".



posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 11:53 AM
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Not to judge you, because you seem pretty mellow about the whole thing, but you raised two thoughts I thought I'd add to.


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
I don't 'show' patriotism for the most part. My patriotism is no one's business. I don't salute the flag, nor stand for the National Anthem. I don't sing it or put my hand on my heart. Too many people do these things by rote and they have become largely meaningless.


While I completely support your right to not do these things, your reasoning behind it is, I feel, flawed. Why watch a sunset, when it has become cliche? Why pray, when so many others do so for selfish reasons? Why throw a birthday party, when it's just an excuse to receive presents? Why attend a funeral, when it's not like the dead person is going to know anyway?

Many things society does by rote, but it does not diminish the value or meaning of those actions. The pledge, and the national anthem, and other forms of typical respect were not intended for some elite crew only, or only for use in times of personal epiphany. They were created to be a reminder of who we are, where we come from, what was neccessary to get us here, and what is required for us to go on. Maybe not everyone who does it has a song in their heart and tears of pride in their eyes, but this does not make it a worthless gesture. In many cases, I'm more moved by the site of a crowd singing the national anthem than the flag waving itself.



Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
Children recite the pledge without having a clue of what it means.


While I have little doubt this occurs in some places, do not underestimate the mind of a child. They are far more prone to ask "why" and remember the answer than an adult is. I had a full knowledge of the history and meaning of both the Texas and U.S. flag, the pledge of allegiance, the national anthem, and a ton of "hooray for America" type songs, before I even started losing my baby teeth.



posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 11:53 AM
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posted by thelibra

1.) Should your country's flag be respected?



Respect is earned, not compelled.



2.) Where's the dividing line between respect and disrespect for one's flag?



Money. Burning flags is expensive. Have you bought one lately? That’s called “economic determinism” or by some it is called a “free market.” Let it alone!



3.) Where's the dividing line between worship and respect for one's flag?



Like religion, it’s a personal matter, not a corporate decision.
Like abortions, if you don’t believe in them, don’t have one.

But don’t inflict your views on others.



posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 12:10 PM
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Well, I guess I should respond also because I was the one who called westpoint23's attention to the issue, and pointed him to Title 4, Chapter 1 of the US Code.

He chooses to interpret the US Code to additionally allow for intent, which is his right, I guess... after all, it is only the flag were talking about, which is a revered symbol of our country, but not one to be worshiped or held to be sacred. Clearly, he is a patriotic guy, and loves his country, and he meant no overt disrespect.

I think I would agree that there is a little wiggle room for interpretation. A stylized stars-and-stripes shirt worn by a patriotic-feeling person to celebrate our country is a world of difference away from Kid Rock ripping a hole in a real American flag and wearing it as a poncho.

Likewise, an extremely sexualized image of a stars-and-stripes bathing suit troubled the patriotic Boy Scout in me; I raised my voice, which is my right. westpoint23 responded to me in a courteous and reasonable manner -- I don't necessarily agree with his reasoning, but I believe him in that he had no intent to offend. So... Case Closed, as far as I'm concerned. Two reasonable people disagree, and, in the spirit of collegiality, drop the discussion.

(Of course, I'm still right...)


Baack



posted on Sep, 1 2006 @ 12:34 PM
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Originally posted by Baack
So... Case Closed, as far as I'm concerned. Two reasonable people disagree, and, in the spirit of collegiality, drop the discussion.



Errr... the point of this thread wasn't to settle a dispute, or to declare a winner, or even neccessarily relegated to only the U.S. Flag. After all, I'm very curious as to how other countries view their flag as well.

However, thanks for the link to the Code.



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