The White pastor of a church in Lexington, Kentucky, has rebuked anti-Black lives matter protesters who mix their support of the confederacy with the Christian faith.
“This is a pic from a BLM counter-protest in Branson, Missouri. There are a lot of flags and images here but it’s the ‘Christian flag’ that I’d like to draw attention to,” Luke Aaron wrote June 29 in a Facebook post.
Aaron, lead pastor of Plowshares Brethren in Christ church, published his remarks as the caption of a photo showing a group of protesters. Some of the protesters, who all appear to be White, are holding various flags, including the U.S. flag and Confederate flags. One woman specifically is seen hold aloft a Christian Flag.
Aaron’s remarks suggest a conflict between those two flags, as he wrote that the confederate flag is counter to Christ’s message.
“I believe that there is an ‘unmasking’ taking place in the American Church, in which a lot of what people have called ‘Christianity’ is being revealed as a nationalistic cult of power, comfort, and the status quo,” he wrote on Facebook. “Jesus, though, has never been particularly interested in the power, comfort, or status quo of our world or its empires. In fact, the Cross has always represented a rebuke to the whole thing.”
“Christianity has nothing to do with the last gasps of White dominance in the U.S. And neither can it’s followers. If you find yourself agreeing with the types of people who mix these symbols, you may want to examine your faith,” he added.
The Christian flag, originating to 1897 and officially adopted in 1942 by the Federal Council of Churches, is embraced by various Protestant denominations around the world. Its design symbolizes peace and Christ’s crucifixion. The Confederate battle flag, which some have falsely claimed is religious by design, is often embraced by racists to represent white supremacy. Some Americans also use the flag to celebrate the pro-slavery Confederacy that was defeated during the Civil War. While many Americans disavow the treasonous flag as a divisive symbol of racism, others insist it is a marker of their heritage.
The protest in Branson, Missouri, as depicted in the photo in Aaron’s Facebook may have taken place on June 27, as the local Dixie Outfitters store has been the cite of at least two consecutive protests there. Anti-racism activists reportedly targeted the pro-Confederate store for protests due to the owner’s relationship with the Ku Klux Klan. In turn, counter-protesters have shown up to express support for the store and the Confederate flag.
Current anti-racism protests, occurring worldwide, were inspired by the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Meanwhile, moves to remove racist symbols from public view have taken on greater urgency as activists have taken it upon themselves to do the work. In various cities, they have forcibly toppled numerous statues discredited as monuments to white supremacists. Recently, Missouri decided to remove the Confederate symbol from its state flag.
Photo by Steven Polunsky