THE CROSS vs The FLAG: by Carole Carnie

Recently, there has been much debate over whether to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds in South Carolina. Being a critical thinker, I will exercise disciplined clear thinking. I will wholeheartedly strive to be rational, open-minded, and base my position on informed evidence only. Understanding the sensitively of this issue, and desiring to respect both viewpoints, the objective of this blog is to add a positive voice to this social intercourse. I’m expecting that it will bring clarity, and a better understanding of this highly emotional, super charged, and passionate interchange!

Allow me to emphasize, that this blog is not being written with the intent of changing anyone’s stand on this controversial topic. Neither is it being written to condemn, or judge your position. I’m too wise of an individual to assume God’s position of judgement, “judgement is for God, and God alone!”

My only goal is to present the facts as known to me, hopefully furnishing you with the information needed for you to make an informed, and intelligent decision, utilizing your God given right, “the freedom of choice!” For me, any choice I make must align itself with my core values, which are governed by the “word” of God. That is not to be confused with being in line with a popular viewpoint, or confused with being in align with my emotions! Oftentimes, I must readjust my emotions so that they are in alignment with the “word” of God! This ministry does not intend to shy away from difficult issues. I firmly believe that by confronting our challenges head on, it serves to give us a better understanding of one another, which only serves to bring us closer, making for healthier relationships! Healthier relationships, foster healthier churches! Okay here we go! We can do this if we keep at the forefront of this controversy, love, harmony, and respect for every individual, and every viewpoint. Let’s remove this “elephant” out of the room! 

America’s history is steeped in the cruelty of the slavery of Blacks. Today, most Americans would agree that our past brings much sadness, guilt, and great shame! The majority of Americans feel tremendous compassion, and empathy for those who were enslaved. But then, there are those who have no regard for the suffering, and pain “slavery” has caused Blacks in this country; those are not the individuals I am speaking to. I am addressing those individuals who are sincerely interested in how their position may, or may not affect others. I do not claim to be a scholar on the subject of the Civil War, and I am confident that many who are “shouting” their opinions concerning this topic, are not scholars either. Please, if I may bring this to your attention, the definition of opinion is, ” a judgement that rest on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.” With that being said, in my attempt to write responsibly, I did some research on the Civil War to ensure that the information that is being shared is as accurate as possible. However, to this day there is still conflict between scholars regarding the reasons for this war.

cotton
Art work by J. Carnie “Picking Cotten”.

One thing that we all can agree on though, is that the reasons for the Civil War are extremely complicated, and complexed. There were many contributing factors for why this battle was waged. However, for the benefit of this blog, I will be citing only two of the documented reasons for this conflict. I’ve chosen to use these two reasons because they are the most agreed upon reasons for the Civil War;  and those reasons are, “to continue slavery, and money! The slave industry was a big “economic business.” President Lincoln was  against slavery, he believed it to be immoral! Cotton was the cheapest crop to grow, bringing in the greatest revenue for slave owners. When the cotton gin was invented by Eli Whitney, it revolutionized the cotton industry, it meant that cotton could be picked faster. Which meant you could plant more, which meant you needed more slaves to harvest the crop, which in effect meant greater profits. So, when Lincoln was speaking against slavery, he was threatening the very profitable economic business of the south. Simply stated, the Civil War was both about slavery, and money!  The slaves were crucial to the money that could be made!

Because the Confederates were outnumbered by approximately two to one by the Union soldiers, their war casualties were great. It is understandable why they take great pride in the flag that their loved ones willingly gave their lives for. These were real people, with real families, who sacrificed their lives for what they believed in. Remember, it was a different era, which held different social values than we hold today. So, our challenge is to resist judging our past by the standards of today. For those who lost so much, “the lives of their loved ones, they see the honor in the act of their loved ones dying for what they believed in. I get it! I may not agree in their cause, “slavery, but in believe in their principles. Many of us would not die for a cause we know is worthy of giving our lives for, “our faith!” For me, it’s clear why the Confederate flag is held in high esteem by Southerners. It is estimated that a total of 180,000.00 Americans lost their lives in the Civil War!

On the other side of this controversy, Blacks fought and gave their lives for that same war. Now imagine with me if you will, that those slaves were fighting for their very existence! They must have known that they were in the fight of “their lives!” They had to be aware of the fact that if the North did not win this battle, they would be forced to return to their dreadful existence.Those men must have fought with zeal! They too were real people, with real families, who sacrificed their lives for what they believed in. I get it! For me, it’s clear why the Confederate flag is not held in high regard by Blacks. It is recorded that, (to the best of their record keeping of Blacks) an estimate of 40,000,00 Blacks lost their lives in the Civil War.

The Confederate flag, also known as the “Stars and Bars” was created to represent the Southern states that seceded from the Union in 1860-61 to form the  Confederate States of America. The first flag was created in March 4, 1861 (first 7-star version), and in November 28, 1861(final 13 star version). Between 1861 and 1865 four flags were created for the confederacy. The states which were part of the confederacy were, South Carolina, who is today in the forefront of the battle over the Confederate flag, and who was also in the forefront of leading the Civil War. It’s understandable why today South Carolina is a leading advocate for leaving the flag as is. The other Southern states were, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. With our very basic refresher course in the Civil War completed, let’s attempt to make sense of the basis for all the passion surrounding the Confederate flag. Now, allow me to express my thoughts regarding the Confederate flag, with the understanding that my ancestors were the benefactors of slavery, and that my perspective is coming from that reference point. JC and I both still have living family members who picked cotton. JC’s family is from Mississippi, and my family is from Florida. We both have first hand accounts of the painful symbolism of the Confederate flag.

Our history is just that, our history, good or bad! We as Americans have come through some horrific times ‘together.” Yes, we are in this together! What gives me hope, is that we will use our past to convict us of where we want to go in the future, and to remind us of where we do not want to return. We owe the next generation a better tomorrow! Yes, we have come a long way, but we have a long ways to go!  The Bible says, “the race is not to the swift, or strong, but to those who endure to the end.” None of us can take responsibility for our forefathers, but we are most certainly responsible for our actions today.

I often say, ”when you know better, you do better!” For me, this is very clear. I’m not concerned with being right in this situation, I desire is to do right! As our history has proven to us, both sides have valid reasons for the positions they take. But today we know better, today we must do better, we should live by the standards of today; not be held slaves to yesteryears injustices! As a Christian, the symbol which drives all that I do, and all that I am, is the “Cross” For me, all else pales to the “Cross.” It shall forever guide me in the decisions, positions, and choices I make in my life. People are more important to me than symbols. Yes, there are those who died for the the Civil War, on both sides! As I witness churches being burned down around this issue, one thing I know for sure, is that I would rather be on the side of the “Cross,”than not; “because I know what it stands for at all times,” love, compassion, peace, and the pursuit of happiness for all. Written with the upmost respect, and love!

From My Heart to Your Heart

Carole Carnie

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Created for Carole Carnie Ministries by Carnie Studios (C) (P) 2015.

In association with “Loving Hands Ministries Inc.” 501 (C)(3) nonprofit organization.

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