I have a friend, a sister in Christ, a kindred spirit. Her name is Peggie and she's African-American.
We've talked about deep things together.
Because I love my friend, I hurt when she hurts and rejoice when she rejoices (Romans 12:15).
So when I hear Christians defending the Confederate flag, I hurt.
I've read Confederate documents* and they unanimously and unashamedly support the slavery of Peggie's ancestors.
Even if the Confederate flag means something different to you, the secession papers prove the Confederacy was strongly committed to slavery.
From the 1860's when the Confederate States claimed their right to own Peggie's great grandparents, to the 1960's when SC raised the flag to oppose integration, to 2015 when the Charleston murderer honored the flag, it's been intimately associated with racism.
Even if you aren't racist, the flag's racist symbolism cannot be denied.
I live in the South and regularly hear Christians defend the flag. Even though I avoid political issues in my devotions, I believe this is spiritual issue, and I'm compelled to speak.
God commands us to consider the feelings of others above our own (Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 15:2-3). He commands us to separate from anything questionable or ungodly (Ephesians 5:8-21) so we don't discredit our witness (2 Corinthians 6:3).
Dear Christians, we must love people more than flags. Please quit defending a symbol that so deeply hurts the hearts of others.
* If you've never studied Confederate documents, here's a sampling. Remember, this is not Union propaganda. These are the documents of the Confederacy, clearly defining their main reason for secession as slavery. And these are not the only Confederate documents that make this point. They are merely a sampling.
Texas Secession Papers This document states that the confederacy assures the "servitude of the African to the white race."
SC Secession Papers This document states that the states' right SC wishes to protect is their right to own human beings because "slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction" if they stay in the Union.
Cornerstone Speech of Confederate Vice President, Alexander Stephens This speech from the second highest official in the Confederacy pulls no punches about claiming whites are the "superior race."
If you'd like more food for thought:
5 Myths About the Confederate Flag
Separating Myth from Facts
Slavery is a Black & White Issue