To the editor:
As a member of Greater St. James AME Church, I am perplexed with many issues from a church that is draped in the history of the Atlantic Slave Trade. As a member of the black community and a citizen of South Carolina, the question is often posed: How does the rebel flag line up with my values?
It lines up because I’m a South Carolinian who accepts my past. Some people don’t, but I do. If I don’t, I would be lying and deceiving. We all know that’s not the right thing to do.
In history, we capture the important events that help form our values. Not just the ones we don’t agree with, but those that helped push us in our singular direction. Keeping the flag at a museum like the Statehouse is a benchmark for our unadulterated history as a state. Once we change where the flag is, people may inquire why the state troopers don’t change their uniform with Confederate vestiges — or why not change The Citadel?
There shouldn’t be a question why we should change something that so steeped in history, especially if it was the official government of the South during that time. More significantly, even though traces of this time in our American history are still here doesn’t mean the same bad attitudes are around. That would be similar to criticizing the singer Prince for wearing antebellum clothing like Benjamin Franklin did. Or Donald Trump for wearing a toupee as some of our founding fathers did.
It doesn’t represent their character or reputation. The secession and battle flag are ceremonial ones. Maybe it would be better to fly the official CSA flag, the Stars and Bars — not to be confused with the more popular Confederate battle flag.
Not maintaining our unique history would strand us away from our own identities and make us lose sight of the candid conscience we have as a people.