Picking Their Battles

The fundamentalist is a master at singling out those issues that really matter and making them the place to take a stand. Take, for example, the little town of King, North Carolina where a Christian flag, a war memorial, and a couple of Baptist churches were destined to meet…

(This video was provided very graciously by Tony who had originally posted it on his blog.)

For more on this story, you can check out these links to the local news:

Christian flag flying again at King veterans’ memorial

King city leaders to allow all religious flags at memorial

74 thoughts on “Picking Their Battles”

  1. Ah, yes, a cause perfectly fitted for fundys. Winning a symbolic victory while losing the war for the hearts and minds of the community.

    By the way, why do fundys care so much about a flag designed 100 years or so ago by a bunch of compromising ecumenicals?

    1. Winning a symbolic victory while losing the war for the hearts and minds of the community.

      The local culture is covered with the sticky residue of the IFB already. This didn’t loose the community but actually united the community and allowed local motherships to rise in fundie stature in the area. There was a march and protests and overflowing city council meetings and news… national news.
      I’m just wondering wondering what these Crusading Knights-errant will do when the “lottery” allows a satanic flag to fly, or a Wiccan, or an Islamic flag to fly for a week?
      The local fundie bunkers are all basking in the glow of former victories and exploits of their heroes of the faith like Lester Roloff and his Christian Alamo. ( http://www.nospank.net/colloff.htm ) 🙄

    2. Dear Darren:

      Winning a symbolic victory, OR
      Winning the hearts and minds of the community.

      Which costs more?
      Which requires more commitment?

      Christian Socialist

  2. I couldn’t help being amused when the TV reporter identified “Tony Cooler.” Upon reflection, I realized she was reading “Cuellar.”

  3. Let’s just review this again:
    God is God.
    A flag is not God.
    A cross symbol is not God.
    The Bible is not God.
    Only God is God.
    Worshipping anything other than God, or counting on anything else for salvation, is idolatry.

  4. Sad: I’ve heard about this issue. Sadder: I know people who drove almost 2 hours to protest. Saddest: In October, as my mom was telling me about severe tornados that tore through that area, she said “I guess that shows them they shouldn’t mess with the Christian flag!” That made my heart ache.

    Worshipping our symbols, our traditions, or our “rights”… hmm… those all seem like a graven images, don’t they?

    Thank you Tony for speaking the truth in love in that news clip. Let us all focus on treasuring our glorious Savior and making much of HIM to the world around us.

  5. You know, this weak attempt at joining the State with The Faith is what American Fundyism is all about: Take away Nationalism and American Fundamentalism flounders and a conservative Republican won’t be elected for five or more election cycles. Tied closely to the “Christian flag” is the 2nd Amendment without which, Nationalism and Fundamentalism would be pointless.

    1. Dear Smith:

      … which leads to the question, ‘how much money are right-wing interests sinking in fundamentalist outfits? 85 million easy votes. Am I to believe that no money or infiltrators are working influence things?

      Christian Socialist

  6. Thank you for this post. I appreciate the points you made and I agree with you.

    I come from an IFB background so have a heart for them. May we all find peace and joy in the love and meekness of our Lord….

  7. This is a BIG deal there. We were up there around Halloween and I asked HF if it was me or was there an enormous amount of Christian flags in that town.

    He explained to me what was going on.

  8. Well here I go again.

    I am delighted that the christian flag is once again flying over the Veterans Memorial. I think it is very appropriate. Kudos to every one that supported it, America at her best.

    I also think that an Islamic flag flying in Iraq over their war dead would be appropriate.

    1. WTF is an “Islamic flag”? I googled that, and they said any flag complying with Islamic rules (i.e. Libya solid green) is an Islamic flag, but Islam itself doesn’t have a flag.

      1. It = Wikipedia. May or may not be entirely correct, but I still don’t think there’s any such thing as a flag of Islam.

        1. Yes, I was naughty. I should be kicked in the shin! Not a fan of made up stuff like “Islamic Flag” though.

        2. I guess I should have been more clear (extremely critical for conservatives posting here) and said if there were such a thing as an Islamic flag. My point is still the same… “IF” there were such a thing as an Islamic flag for it to be flown in Iraq over their war dead in a predominantly Islamic country would be entirely appropriate (my opinion) Just as a Christian flag flying over a war memorial in the U.S., which overwhelmingly identifies with the christian faith, is entirely appropriate. (my opinion)

          Now hope everyone is happy and understands precisely my point. I will attempt to be this razor sharp in defining the smallest of points in all my future posts.

          Man, am I really that bad?

        3. You’re not that bad, but I also don’t know how that would be conservative. Just an odd phrase, I guess it comes from conservatives, but there’s nothing fiscally or socially conservative about the phrase Islamic Flag. I just haven’t a clue what that meant, since there isn’t such a thing. I don’t think any kind of religious flag is appropriate at a war memorial. Islam at least can lay claim to Jihad being authorized (presumably, I’m not really an Islamic scholar). I have no clue how my religion who worship the prince of peace feel like it’s appropriate to lionize & approve of war. I feel like the case can be made for the Civil War & WWII, not so sure about the rest. Shane Claiborne has said that even if you wanna be the militant type, it’s hard to get past the “Eye for eye, life for life” and not realize we lost 3,000ish Civilians, and are well above 10,000 civilians we’ve killed now.

        4. BTW, that wtf probably reads as mad/attack. It really wasn’t, “dub tee eff” is just what I say when I’m like “wtf is this”. Sorry if it read wrong.

      2. I used the term “Islamic flag” for hyperbole so I’m guilty as well. 🙁

        See what the city counsel did was took submission for what the community wanted to fly for a week at a time at the memorial. The took 110 submissions and rancomly picked 52 submissions out. 51 said Christian Flag- 1 said no flag at all. So during the week of June 6th for D-Day the Christian Falg will not fly at the memorial.
        Eventually with this Lottery system, the wiccans or some other radical group, maybe the Klan or maybe even Code Pink will get a submission and their flag will fly and then we’ll really see fighting christian crusaders.
        But it has accomplished the intended goal of giving validation and national attention to the IFB cause and this crisis has raised the stature of the local IFB churches and Knights errant.

        1. I know. Lots of people talk about the flag of Islam, and as far as I know there never has been any such thing.

        2. There’s really no “Christian Flag,” either, if you mean something all Christians would recognize. There are flags with crosses on them (Switzerland, England, Sweden, Iceland, etc.), and Vatican City has a flag, but I don’t think there’s any flag that all Christian groups would recognie as representing them.
          In fact, some Christians reject the use of flags altogether as being overly military, or overly nationalistic, or on the slippery slope to idolatry.

        3. I’d like to see someone submit a flag like the the one flying at a house near mine… one with nice rainbow colors. That really ought to get the IFBs up in arms!

        4. If I lived in that town, there would be a lot of interesting flags I would enter in the “lottery.”
          But I don’t.

    2. Because not all our military people who died in our wars were Christian. Why not simply stick with the one symbol they fought under – the American flag?

      Jesus did not have any good things to say about the people who were ostentatiously religious in his day. I wish the ones who do it today would not use his name so much. 🙁

      1. Bingo. It’s boneheadedness to equate our military with Onward Christian Soldiers. There are soldiers of all stripes, and the war in the middle east is anything but a “holy” war.

    3. By “Christian Flag” I suppose people mean the flag designed by a couple of Methodists and made popular throughout American Protestantism – my wo

    1. Ironic isn’t it? Most of fundamentalism’s problems would be solved if they were consistent with their theology.

    1. “Mistaking the customary for the necessary” is the classic error of fundamentalists and many other conservatives (and some liberals as well).

      Or, as I’ve called it before, mistaking the cultural for the theological.

  9. BTW, Tony, what you said in the video was just about what I said when HF explained to me what was going on.

    So, can I sing in the Tony Mel Sunday School Children’s Choir now?

      1. I’m getting my Tony’s mixed up!

        I’m such a fan of your choir, I think I’ll start a fan club.

  10. I think my biggest irritation by it all was how friggin dramatic the fundies made it. You know, things can get done without drama.

  11. The tendency of religious people is to focus on themselves: their rights and symbols. Christ tended to focus on others: their needs. The result is that Christ’s actions were filled with love and selflessness; and that too often our own are filled with pettiness, strife and selfishness.

    What is forgotten in seeking what fights to take is that God has given us something to do – and it isn’t to clam nations with our symbols. The battle is an internal one, a spiritual one. We wrestle not against flesh and blood.
    However fundies like to fight for what they want. In fact they just like to fight. Religion serves well as a vehicle to claim their petty battles as God-blessed crusades.

      1. The reason they want to pick a fight about anything is because this is unredeemed human nature. You see this same attitude in the mafia. We are talking about a movement that retains a form of godliness but is as good as dead in substance.

    1. This is so true. This is so good. Humility is absolutely necessary to be a Christ-follower, and it goes SO AGAINST our natures that the Bible calls it “dying to self.”

  12. I tend to wonder how many in that town, especially those with a sign in their yard, actually knew the war memorial existed in the park. And of that number how many knew there were flags flying at the memorial. And of that number how many knew that one of the flags was a Christian flag.

  13. I like this guy. He seems to be very practical about the issue. What does the Christian flag have to do with a war memorial? EXACTLY! And how does fighting for this further the cause of Christ?

    Once again we have a prime example of people who conflate patriotism and Americanism with Christianity. The three aren’t the same thing.

  14. I have seen this all too often. Worshipping America via patriotism. Fundies think America is all about “Christianity” and they miss the part about liberty and freedom for “ALL”, not just all that agree with them. It should not be a shock, this is how they view most everything, ie doctrine, standards, fellowship… We are right everyone else is wrong and we are going to fight!

  15. At the fundy school I attended in the 70’s, every morning we pledged allegiance to the US flag, the christian flag and the Bible. 🙄

    1. Coming from another country, I find those pledges distinctively American. The Christian flag even looks like the American flag. This is completely foreign to international Christianity.

      1. I’ve been a Christian for nearly 30 years and I never even knew there was a Christian flag until I heard about it on this site and still don’t know what it looks like. Surely flags are for countries and we are not of this world system.

    2. Same, only I went to Fundy schools in the 90’s and early 00s.

      By the time I reached high school I started being silent during the pledges.

    3. Allegiance to the American Flag, the Christian Flag and the Bible?
      In that order?

  16. I REALLY agreed with what Tony had to say on the video. Also that sign is one of the most ridiculous ones I’ve ever seen.

    Personally I’ve never felt any attatchment or affection for the Christian flag. I’d rather have a red banner with the name “Jesus” emblazoned in gold letters if I wanted something to wave.

    However, I can see why the community would be upset that the ACLU was coming in to remove something that had already been there. The Christians weren’t pushing to put something there. They were trying to keep something from being taken away. They are afraid of being marginalized in an increasingly secular, post-Christian world.

    AND YET, we OUGHT to be at odds with this world. We Christians in America have been way too comfortable for way too long in our “churchianity”. Events such as this could help us see that our traditions and comforts are NOT what following Christ is all about.

  17. Here is a christian that I can respect, much like all of you here at SFL. I am not a christian, and a large reason for that has to do with being treated badly by christians like the ones who make the signs. I had a youth pastor that always told me that christians will one day be judged for the people they turned away, after many years of, I found that youth pastor and let him know that his treatment of me was what turned me away from god, and if he does exist and the things I was taught are true, than He will be judged when I am cast out, my lostness is on him, and I know there are others out there like me who have experienced the same thing, I hope more christians like the ones here on SFL will get through to the other ones and spread a message of love.

    1. Tigersharksteph,
      I would like to apologize for the ones who have obviously hurt you and done it while claiming to be Christian. I have been that way myself in the past. I apologize for those who have not been Christ-like to you and shown you the love of Jesus as they should have. I hope you will accept my apology on behalf of those I have wronged in my past and forgive me for the wrong that has been done to you by those who claim to be Christians. Allow me to be their proxy and allow me to include you as one of mine.

      Your story grieves me today especially. I hope that you will see in us (and me in particular) people who are real, who are traveling the same path as everyone else and have the same hangups and problems, yet we carry ourselves differently because we honestly and truly Love others around us due to the Love of the one who is in us.

      I am truly sorry for whatever it was that was done to you that hurt you and was done in an un-Christlike manner and spirit. Forgive me for the wrong you have suffered as the hands of another who called themself Christian.

      I just felt I needed to say that. Hope it doen’t offend you. Have a good day.

  18. King is just a few minutes from my home. My wife grew up there and attended Fundy High there. (at the school of the very church perpetuating this fight) I have lost good friends over this. My wife’s family doesn’t speak to us much anymore. (all because of my blog posts on the subject—> http://bit.ly/fKlpCC )

    After I took a stand against the church in question a good friend of ten years sent me a scathing email accusing me of having become “a man who takes a moral stand on nothing.” He of course offered his shoulder to cry on when I decide to come back to Jesus and repent of the sin of Presbyterianism.

    1. Good write-up on your blog. Thanks! 🙂

      I particularly like your point about filling in a spiritual void with a martyr complex. That point reminds me of the handful of times I went on ‘street evangelism’ at Fundy-U Florida. The other guys were total jerks to people: yelling at people who were smoking or drinking and purposely calling women wearing pants or guys with long hair by the wrong gender titles or pronouns. At the end of the outing they would all reconvene and swap stories of the ‘persecution’ they underwent and the people they cowed into a decision. It wasn’t the message of Christ that brought the negative reactions from people, it was their own combativeness and egotism. 🙁

    2. I just read your two commentaries on the King flag, and I agree with every point you make. That is all.

  19. I serve in the military along side Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs. If they are willing to lay their lives on the line for us (almost 200 Canadians have died in Afghanistan), then we need to accept a more inclusive acknowledgement of their service. (The Christian flag is seen only in our churches or Christian schools).

  20. I grew up in King in this sewer of pseudo christian “values”. Many of the leading families speak with pride about keeping “the blacks” out of their town and almost everyone bemoans all “the mexicans” taking over.
    People there are proudly ignorant and backwards which guarantees that most of the sane people leave.
    I was really hoping the ACLU would have sued them into bankruptcy but it looks like the brave christians didn’t want to fight if it cost them any money.

  21. The so-called Christian Flag is wrong here…because it is Constitutionally wrong.

    1. There is absolutely nothing in the Constitution that forbids a Christian flag with flying at a War Memorial.

      Only in the sick minds of secularist antichrists like Sailorboy and Freedomo8 do such prohibitions exist.

      1. Dear Frederick:

        ‘We the people say ‘fight,’ versus Jo 18:36.

        Any thoughts?

        Christian Socialist

  22. Darrell, what on earth is the matter with you?! What on earth is wrong with these Baptists defending this flag at this war memorial?! Why don’t you explain what your problem is for the rest of us? If you post stuff in a public forum, then you had better explain yourself! What have these Christians done wrong, that deserves mockery, derision, and ridicule? Why are you supporting the actions of the ACLU?!

    1. Dear Frederick:

      Welcome to the ‘Stuff Fundies Like’ forum!

      Methinks Kimberly Sumner put it best when she said:

      ‘For those who don’t believe in that flag, then it’s just a meaningless piece of cloth, but for us, who do believe in it, it gives us peace,’

      Christians do not believe in a meaningless piece of cloth; nor do they find peace in said such cloth. Christians find peace in the grace of God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ [2Co 1:3] who is himself our peace [Ep 2:14] which he wrought through his own blood on the cross [Co 1:20]. Christians confess that the Lord of Peace himself grants us peace in every circumstance [2Th 3:16].

      The difference is not one of semantics but of essence.

      The ‘standard reply’ is this: the flag’s meaning is identical to what the texts I cited proclaim. The flag ‘stands’ for what the word proclaims.

      That is exactly what Jesus did when he said, ‘this bread is my body, broken for you … this cup is my blood, poured out for you!’

      Jesus gets to do that. You don’t. The ‘standard reply’ un-biblically invests the flag with sacramental import. We don’t get to do that.

      If you want to be biblical, I’d suggest that you stick with the symbols that Jesus gave us. Bread and wine, a simple meal, hospitality shared in the Name of the risen Lord of glory – that’s all the pageantry that any Christian needs. To argue otherwise pits one against the sufficiency of the Scriptures.

      I always welcome those who bring a differing perspective to the forum. I’m genuinely glad that you’re here, and I sincerely hope that you’re in for the long haul, and that you learn to know us well!

      That said, if you mean to challenge us, be prepared to be challenged. Beside the humor and jesting, you can expect to see Scripture and scriptural reasoning used in ways you may not yet have encountered.

      Don’t let that frighten you. Stay with us! Stay with us! Stay with us!

      Christian Socialist

Comments are closed.