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As I sit here watching the South Carolina Highway Patrol Honor Guard remove the Confederate flag from the State Capitol, as I hear several in the background saying “Thank You God!” and shouting “USA, USA, USA” I have a sense of pride in the people doing the right thing.  As I watch one of the members of the Honor Guard, a black man, take the flag and present it to the Curator of the museum, I can only imagine his feelings.  As someone who has hung a Confederate flag in my bedroom as a child, I am proud of the people who made this decision and the reverence of which it was handled.

That said, to me the Confederate flag is a symbol of the south and a period of history.  It is a symbol of my high school mascot at one time.  It is not about racism for me though I understand it is for others.  That said, a Dodge Challenger named the General Lee with a Confederate flag painted on it’s roof is most certainly related to a show about Southerners, their moonshining and their family.  To have that show removed from TV is offensive to me because it is censorship…plain and simple.

I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.  To see a bakery owner penalized because they stayed true to their beliefs is offensive to me.  The home of the brave and land of the FREE?  Really?  It doesn’t seem like the people owning the bakery are free to exercise their beliefs.

To have the government take the money I’ve earned and spend it on things I disagree with is offensive to me.

There are plenty of things I can be offended by.  The way the South Carolina government handled the flag issue, with lots of conversation, with people free to express their opinions and feelings and to make a decision after all that discussion and all those feelings are taken into account is a small glimpse of how to handle disagreements and to take what is offensive to some to a point of either compromise or collaboration.  When people of color listen to those who support the flag as a symbol of heritage our world is better.  When people who see the heritage can also see the pain our world is better.

When things are taken away, when people are punished simply because of someone’s opinion, we are all the lesser for it.

I’m offended by lots of things in this country.  It doesn’t mean I’m right and it doesn’t mean I should always get my way.  Taking our offenses to the table of peace and trying to come up with better solutions is when offense ends and peace begins to take over.

Grace and peace.

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