In the town of King, North Carolina, there has been a bit of an issue over their local veteran's memorial. Specifically, that it was flying a Christian flag as part of the memorial. A local veteran complained about the sectarian bias, the ACLU and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State got involved, and the city took the flag down while they worked out a "compromise" with the help of conservative Christian law group Alliance Defense Fund. Which, frankly, if you're trying to get a genuine "compromise", I can think of about a bazillion better organizations to work with than ADF, but whatever. Point being, they were trying.
They've announced a rough idea of compromise. The city council will allow a religious flag to be flown, but it will be a rotation of flags chosen from the VA's list of approved religious symbols (the list of ones which may be chosen as grave markers in military cemeteries, and which Pagans fought for *years* to have the pentacle added to, culminating in victory not too long ago). This means there may be a Christian flag flying at the memorial, but it might also be a Muslim star-and-crescent, or a pentacle, or a Star of David, or one of several other flags of varying faiths. Reasonable enough, right?
Not to the local Christianists, who are protesting mightily and loudly, threatening to lodge a complaint with the city council, and if the policy takes effect anyway, organize amongst themselves to take every single "my flag, please" spot for the next few years and all fly the Christian flag in order to maintain their hegemonic domination of the memorial. According to the leader of the citizen's group which is protesting the idea of acknowledging religious plurality:
Many of the foundation’s members are concerned that the city may allow religious flags such as the Muslim Crescent and Star flag, the satanic flag and Wiccan flag, all of which are recognized by the U.S. military, to be flown at the memorial.Look, dude, I hate to burst your happy little Christian-superiority bubble. Actually, I take gleeful pleasure in doing so. But anyway. You do realize that there are, in fact, soldiers of a persuasion other than Christian? That Muslims and Buddhists and Pagans and Sikhs and Jews and atheists and humanists have all been, in smaller numbers than Christians for sheer demographic reasons, but nonetheless have been part of the U.S. Military and have fought and sacrificed and died for this country? It is true. You cannot argue this. The facts are not on your side.
So by kicking and screaming and making a big fuss about oh noes Wiccan and Muslim flags!, you are dishonoring the sacrifices made by actual Wiccan and Muslim servicemembers. If you are going to support the fucking troops, support ALL the fucking troops, goddamnit. My baby brother is a Buddhist and a soldier. Don't you fucking dare erase his existence, and the many like him, simply because they had the temerity to be in the military while non-Christian. They made the same choices, they spend the same time far from family, they are in the same danger during combat deployments as their Christian comrades. That deserves respect, not erasure*.
The only thing the people protesting the flag compromise are actually accomplishing is a clear demonstration of what they are *really* about: not supporting the troops, not honoring veterans, but further grinding their collective bootheel into the neck of everyone who isn't exactly like them as a demonstration of their own supposed moral superiority.
*I am deeply conflicted about honoring Veteran's Day and "supporting the troops", despite having a family member in the armed forces. Not because I don't care about servicemembers, but because I am vehemently not okay with the "giving their lives to defend our freedom" rhetoric that usually is tied to such protestations of support, seeing as the wars we are involved with right now are wars of choice in which dead Iraqi/Afghani civilians outnumber wounded or dead American soldiers by approximately 100-to-1 or more. That's not an honorable ultimate-sacrifice-defending-our-freedom kind of situation, to me. That's a war we didn't have to begin, for aims which are poorly defined at best and completely fabricated at worst, in which the civilian populace in the country we've invaded are bearing the brunt of the losses. That's not something to be proud of. Further, such rhetoric fuels the proces of, and is utterly necessary to normalizing war and contributing to a thoroughly militarized society in which this kind of conflict is okay, and I do not want to be part of that. So please take my phrasings of such things with a grain of salt. It's not as pat and unconflicted as it sounds. I am trying to acknowledge the difficulties and dangers of enlisting in military service for what they are, without glorifying war and the military with a veneer of defending! our! freedom!