- The Washington Times - Monday, June 22, 2015

After the horrific murders of nine church members at a historic African-American church last week in Charleston, South Carolina, some profitable discussion centered on the symbols of racism yet prevalent in the South. In particular, memorabilia of the Confederate States of America in the form of statues, historical markers and the Confederate flag.

In response, Russell Moore, theologian and president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, weighed in on the issue over the weekend. Mr. Moore called on Southerners in general and Christians in particular to consider how for the sake of the Gospel, the Confederate flag should be taken down.

Mr. Moore, himself a Southerner and a descendant of Confederate soldiers, acknowledged the conflicted feelings Southerners feel when these discussions begin — as they invariably do every few years. But he argued that the time had come for Christians to acknowledge the stumbling block that Confederate symbolism will always be to the Christian message. 

In “The Cross and the Confederate Flag,” Mr. Moore wrote:

“The Apostle Paul says that we should not prize our freedom to the point of destroying those for whom Christ died. We should instead ‘pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding’ (Rom. 14:19). The Confederate Battle Flag may mean many things, but with those things it represents a defiance against abolition and against civil rights. The symbol was used to enslave the little brothers and sisters of Jesus, to bomb little girls in church buildings, to terrorize preachers of the gospel and their families with burning crosses on front lawns by night.

“That sort of symbolism is out of step with the justice of Jesus Christ. The cross and the Confederate flag cannot co-exist without one setting the other on fire. White Christians, let’s listen to our African-American brothers and sisters. Let’s care not just about our own history, but also about our shared history with them. In Christ, we were slaves in Egypt—and as part of the Body of Christ we were all slaves too in Mississippi. Let’s watch our hearts, pray for wisdom, work for justice, love our neighbors. Let’s take down that flag.”

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