By David Tulis
The lad in front of the room is creasing back his Trail Life USA handbook and is trying to spread out his material as much as possible to edify his eight listening boys and handful of dads.
Respect is the rule. Superiority. If flags of other nations are nearby, the U.S. flag flutters above them all, he reports. If being carried, it is held at a level higher than other flags.
“It shows respect to your country,” Clay Hindman says. “You’re not breaking the law” if you don’t follow the protocols he outlines, “but it shows respect.”
The rules for the banner help a boy “honor the country,” Clay says. “You know your country is the best.”
In raising the federal banner, one shoots it up the pole rapidly. But in descent, the flag creeps down.
“Lower the flag slowly and respectfully, retrieving it from the halyard with the help of an assistant who keeps it from touching the ground,” advises the handbook. “This gives the act of lowering the flag a certain dignity and helps you avoid the appearance of being anxious to pull down the symbol of our country in a hurry.”
I ask this group leader why the flag is treated so. Thinking I have reasons to ask, he suggests I make remarks.
Here they are, best I can recollect, made to these nine boys and their dads — all of them professing Christians and home educating family men. I defer to the Trail Life USA theme in patriotism and civic duty, but also account for growing fatigue among the citizenry with the flag and its faded glory.
Being deferential, but hinting at truth
The U.S. flag is intended to be seen with the same sort of devotion and care that God demands of His people.
The flag has in its blue field 50 stars. There’s one star for each state. These stars are called pentacles. They have a hidden, secret meaning, and on the U.S. flag the pentacles are upside down. These stars are used worldwide by nation-states. Though they have an occultic and hidden spiritual past, they are used in many places today to represent nation-states. The United States is a nation-state, and the stars on its flag are used on flags of Soviet Union, China, Iraq and even on banners of tinpot dictatorships in South America. The star, upsidedown on the flag, represents a goatlike figure, the Baphomet, which — again — has a hidden and dark mystery behind it, an obscenity.
Ask your dad to talk with you about it.
Nation-states are a new development in humankind. In times past we’ve had empires, monarchies and other forms of government. Nation-states began roughly at the time of the American revolution. Nation states are unlike kingdoms in that they are corporations and republics. Your loyalty in a kingdom is to your king and his fiefdom, his person and his property. Your loyalty today as Americans is to an abstract entity, a corporation, a republic.
Prior to the flag with its stars the Americans were colonists. They were chartered by the king of England to oversee cities and towns in the New World. At the time of the war for independence they resisted lawless claims against them by the Parliament, its taxes and impositions and its troops.
The colonies operated first in confederation. We know about confederations from the Bible. The Hebrew Republic was a confederation of the 12 sons of Jacob and their offspring. They were united under the kingdom; the prophet Samuel warned them against asking for a king and centralizing their government, but they did.
The 13 colonies are represented by the stripes on the cloth. No, the blood of Jesus is not represented by the red strips. The colonies were not a nation. But in Philadelphia in 1778 they formed a nation and a government with that government is seated in the [68 square-mile] federal district. What is that district’s name? Right, Washington, D.C. The District of Columbia. The states created the central government as their agent. But now they are subordinated to it and Tennessee is worth no more than any other state. We’re regimented now.
The 50 stars represent the states. No, you cannot tell which star is Tennessee’s or which is Georgia’s. They are undifferentiated, and all equal. They are subordinated to federal power.
In fact many states look exactly like the federal government, with the same sorts of administrations, executive, legislative and judicial branches and police departments. They are like mini-USAs.
Now, the United States is an empire. It flies the flag over dozens of countries, and in fact in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal we learn that it has military operations going in 80 countries. We are an empire, with warmaking going on around the world, under this banner.
You may look with admiration at this flag. But around the world, think of other people and how they see it — they hate it, it represents for them a great evil.
It is intended that you not see these dark things when you treat the banner with this great care. It is not intended that you consider the blood Americans have shed around the world in their many wars and interventions.
A mighty people
Americans are a great people. They are remarkable for their genius, their commerce, their innovation, their strength, the industrial might that made the United States a world power in 1945 when the world had been badly damaged by war and the U.S. stood as a monument of industrial power — with its seas of tanks, ships and planes overwhelming the armies of its enemies.
What is intended of you, when you see the flag raised and handled, that you give to it the same devotion you give to God. It is intended that your heart melt with admiration, appreciation and concern. It is intended that the flag inspire obedience and fealty, a sense of hope and confidence in what the flag stands for. You’re not supposed to look too closely, but to have this sense of awe and care.
When you say the pledge of allegiance — is it really possible you are pledging allegiance to a piece of cloth with colored design? No, You are pledging allegiance to that which the flag represents — the government of the United States. It is intended that you not just see government, but beyond and behind that, the ideals which the government is thought by the people to represent — freedom and the like.
— David Tulis hosts a talk show weekdays in Chattanooga from 9 to 11 a.m. on 1240 AM Hot News Talk Radio, covering local economy and free markets in Chattanooga and beyond. Support this site and his radio station in Chattanooga, on your smartphone via the TuneIn radio app or at Hotnewstalkradio.com. Noisily patronize his advertisers. Encourage the free press by having David air your commercials. Also, “buy me a coffee at the tip jar.”