McMINNVILLE, Ore. (BP)–Squeeze an orange and what is inside will come forth. Exert pressure on a nation and the same reality results.
On Sept. 11, the people of the United States were seized in the crushing grip of terrorism. In subsequent days, stories of heroism and acts of patriotism have flowed from sea to shining sea. These reports have stirred a renewed sense of hope. Hope that selfless sacrifice has not been drowned in the sea of crass economics. Hope that perhaps Americans would truly appreciate the precious, fragile ideal of freedom.
The pressure exerted by terrorists also forced a less inspiring reality to the surface of American consciousness. Never has the folly and utter foolishness of political correctness been more on display than in the aftermath of the terrorism of Sept. 11.
The purveyors of PC desire to purge America of any and all forms of offense. As terrorism squeezed, a new offensive symbol came to the attention of the politically correct — the flag of The United States.
I knew that the Pledge of Allegiance was an anathema to the PC crowd, because it includes the horrific phrase, “One nation under God….” But who knew the crusaders of correctness held Old Glory with such disdain?
As a result of the attacks on U.S. soil, flags unfurled across our land in unprecedented numbers. When the Stars and Stripes began to appear, so did the oppressors of offense who were quick to object to the patriotic displays. School children in at least one school in Oregon and another in Texas were told that T-shirts bearing the likeness of the flag were inappropriate. It was said to violate dress codes banning the display of any logo.
School bus drivers in Oregon were not allowed to display flags on their buses. The ban was justified for safety reasons, however drivers asserted the 12-by-16-inch flags posed no danger.
Stories of similar action against flag “waving” have been reported throughout the United States. Public schools, universities, libraries and even private companies have applied the principles of political correctness to the display of the U.S. flag. Though some initial display bans were reversed, it has become clear that the colors of our country are now deemed politically incorrect.
Perhaps clear-thinking Americans will begin to see the efforts at political correctness for what it really is, an assault on the very essence of our nation that is freedom for all.
The flag of the United States is not some crass corporate logo. Nor is it a banner of intolerance. It is the very symbol of liberty. The red stripes remind us of the blood that has been shed to establish and preserve our freedom. The white is indicative of liberty for all. The blue is for loyalty to the cause of freedom that unites the 50 states.
Terror has squeezed our country hard but has given us a glimmer of hope. At the same time, it has exposed those in our midst who have a disdain for what the United States stands for as symbolized in the flag.
The freedom we enjoy almost certainly insures that someone will always be offended. So, to those who are bothered by the display of the American flag, be offended. Voice your displeasure, but do not hinder others from celebrating America’s heritage of liberty.
Boggs, whose column appears each Friday in Baptist Press, is pastor of Valley Baptist Church, McMinnville, Ore.