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The Confederate Flag: Hated or Misunderstood

The Confederate Flag: Essay

By Kevin BaileyPublished 6 years ago 5 min read

The confederate flag today is often viewed as a symbol of racism and hate associated with slavery and hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and white power skinheads. But what a person chooses to believe in as a symbol does not reflect what another might believe. An argument could be made that the issue is not about the symbol of the flag itself but what it has been used for and how it has changed people’s perception of it. The flag has an interesting religious background. (Coski)

The Confederate flag was actually never such a thing. It never became the National flag of the confederacy. During the Civil War the flag slowly gained popular use and was easy to see on the battlefield, so one regiment might not fire upon another friendly regiment. In its beginnings, it was not considered a racist symbol. “One modern scholar concluded that the battle flag in its Civil War context was not a “racist symbol” because it did not have an explicit racist referent.” (pg. 20, Coski)

When the Confederate states were forming in 1861, the states were looking at symbols to possibly be used as a national flag. They settled for what is known as the “Star and Bars” flag with three stripes that were horizontal, red and white with blue and stars representing the 13 confederate states. A man named William Porchor Miles had suggested a St. Andrews cross “X” shape flag but was rejected. The name of this cross came from the Christian martyr Andrew who did not want to be crucified on the same kind of cross as Jesus was because he did not find himself worthy. (Hinkle) This cross later became a symbol of Scotland who saw him as a saint. Later when King James the VI of Scotland became King James I of England, it was incorporated into the British flag in 1606. (Coski)

Many volunteers over the last few years leading up to the Civil War formed militia companies. The local women from each community created flags from silk with state seals and mottos from each company on them. Most of these flags however were not used long as they were not practical battle flags needed to mark positions and move troops during combat while providing only the valuable use of pride and morale to benefit the soldiers. (Hinkle) Because of these problems on the battlefield, General Pierre Gustav Toutant Beauregard sent his aid who happened to be William Miles to ask Congress to come up with and change to one battle flag that would be used by all units. Miles once again suggested his idea of the St. Andrews cross but was rejected. (Coski)

That September in the fall, Virginia high command met to discuss and come up with a Confederate battle flag. Beauregard pushed for the St. Andrews cross symbol. They accepted this and chose to create a new battle flag with a blue St. Andrews cross with white and gold stars on a red field that would be square. By November the army of the Potomac assembled in Centreville, Virginia and received their new flags. This is why the flag is sometimes called the “Beauregard flag.” However as the war went on, the task of requesting the other confederate states for flag uniformity was difficult and met with stubbornness. (Coski)

For some southerners, the flag represents religion and where they came from as a people. In the Bible Genesis 48:5, Israel lets Joseph know that he would be adopting Ephraim and Manasseh and that they would be counted among the tribes. When Israel blesses the two young men he crosses his hands. He tells Joseph that Manasseh was to become a great people, but Ephraim was to become a multitude of nations. The tribes of Israel disappeared and believed to wander the Middle East for years and there is no historical record of Ephraim or Manasseh ever becoming a great nation. (King James Bible) But some believe those nations are Britain and the United States. Britain being the oldest great nation (Manasseh) and the United States becoming a multitude of nations (Ephraim) which with our racial diversity one could argue we are a multitude of different countries and ethnic groups. This is represented on the confederate flag with the cross as to some southerners it represents the same crossing of the hands or arms when Ephraim and Manasseh were blessed and the 13 stars represent the lost 13 tribes of Israel not 13 colonies as most believe. Although further evidence would be needed to support this, it is interesting that these two nations fit the bible prophecy. (Ogwyn)

The Confederate flag's history did not stop after the Civil War. In fact, all the way leading up to World War II and even Vietnam, some military men have used the flag to represent who they are and where they are from in battle. “Gene Andrews from Nashville, TN recalls it seemed like there was a confederate battle flag flying over every fire support base I ever saw.” “Unconfirmed reports say one of the first U.S. tanks to enter Kuwait City after the Persian Gulf War sported a battle flag on the vehicle’s radio antennae.” (52 Hinkle)

The flag over the years has acquired several different meanings from a southern battlefields logo, religious and southern symbolism to a symbol of rebellion, hate, racism, individuality and defiance. Many people compare it to the Nazi German flag and see nothing but a reminder of killing, slavery and racism. But all the more reason we should not ban the confederate flag. To ban something is almost like trying to erase. We do not want to be reminded about the past and things that were done. The old saying is “History repeats itself.” We do not need to ban the confederate flag. We need to educate people more about it. (Hinkle)


Coski, John M. “The Confederate Battle Flag: America’s Most Embattled Emblem” Published

By Belknap Harvard 2005

Hinkle, Don “Embattled Banner: A Reasonable Defense of the Confederate Battle Flag”

Published by Turner 1997

Ogwyn, John H. “The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy” Published by Thomas

Nelson, Inc 2003

Henry Morris “King James Version Study Bible.” Master Books Edition Pub., 2012


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