I must confess that I am not a Southerner by birth. I have, however, lived in the Southern United States for over 15 years. I understand that to some I would not be a credible critic of any tradition here, but I have been reading about the controversy surrounding the Confederate flag flying atop the South Carolina Statehouse. On this issue I feel moved to speak.
For this area to be referred to as the "Bible Belt" is a great compliment to my way of thinking. God has blessed His people here with easy smiles, hospitality and generosity. Those are the strengths -- of course there are weaknesses. A major weakness is the lack of ability to be flexible in the face of change. Let me make it clear that this is a weakness of all humanity. So I can't help but refer to the Bible for a solution to this matter.
In the Romans 14, we are taught the principle of the neighbor's good: "Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacles in your brother's way." And, "Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification."
The Scripture speaks for itself -- if this beloved flag so deeply offends our fellow Americans and brothers and sisters in Christ -- let's take it down. It can be cherished in private homes and museums. It can be part of a proud history. But, please, let us remember that is exactly what it is -- history. Let the future tell the story of harmony.
Mary Latham, Harlem