The Confederate Battle Flag is tearing apart the very fabric of our society. Yet many Americans are ignorant of its impact and apathetic about the need to control this menace.
Defenders of the Confederate Battle flag argue that it is part of their heritage and is not harmful and thus should not be regulated or banned. But 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombing have shown the profound effects anti-American beliefs and symbols can have on human behavior.
For decades, communities have struggled to define just what symbols are so offensive as to be legally obscene, and to delineate limits on the government's ability to regulate such symbols.
Courts have ruled that speech having even the slightest redeeming social importance -- unorthodox views, controversial views, even unpopular ideas hateful to the prevailing climate of public opinion -- have the full protection of the Constitution, unless excludable because they encroach upon the limited area of more important interests. But implicit in the history of the First Amendment is the rejection of allowing citizens to celebrate any act of treason against the United States as utterly without redeeming social importance.
Displaying a Confederate Battle flag is patently offensive because it affronts contemporary community standards relating to the description or representation of treason; and the symbol is utterly without redeeming social value.
While almost everyone would agree that merely categorizing of the Confederate Battle flag as "obscene" is insufficient justification for such a drastic invasion of personal liberties. Most people would discern that if the First Amendment means anything, it means that a State has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his own house, what symbols he may display or worship. Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. However, that man does not have the right to display that obscene symbol in plain view of the entire public, if that symbol violates community standards.
Nothing in the First Amendment requires that a jury must consider hypothetical and unascertainable "community standards" when attempting to determine whether certain symbols are obscene as a matter of fact. ... It is neither realistic nor constitutionally sound to read the First Amendment as requiring that the people residing in a city like Palm Coast accept public depiction of conduct found tolerable in rural and less sophisticated areas, such as Bunnell (where the Klan has historically had a presence).
In fact, displaying the Confederate flag in public may actually already be a crime. The U.S. Constitution reads, in pertinent part, "...treason shall consist of levying war against the U.S., adhering to its enemies..." To adhere to something means to support or hold a firm belief in. No one can seriously argue that the Confederate battle flag wasn't an enemy flag of the United States. And to display a flag is the most fundamental form of support.
Furthermore, prohibiting the display of the Confederate Battle flag within residential zones or near churches, parks, or schools is justified, and would pass constitutional muster, because it is not primarily designed to prohibit the free expression of the content of the symbols, but rather designed to reduce the "secondary effects" of publicly celebrating treason on the surrounding communities, such as increased crime and terrorism.
Can you imagine children standing in a classroom citing the "Pledge of Allegiance" and then gazing out of their classroom window and seeing a symbol that violates that pledge of allegiance?