Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Should The American Flag, Old Glory, Be Officially Recognized as The American Idol?

The Real American Idol

If you're expecting to read about American Idol, the television show, you may be severely disappointed in this article. If, perhaps, you are always open to new information, you may find a small amount of satisfaction in what is about to be presented to you. If you have an aversion for truth, you may become angry at pondering the following facts.

It has been proposed by many in American culture that idolatry is rampant, idolatry being the insatiable pursuit and accumulation of material wealth. Admittedly, becoming rich seems to be in the forefront of many lives today. Much of the activity we see on a daily basis is nothing more than the active plans to keep up with others or surpass them in the accumulation of things.
This proposal, true though it may be, is easily hidden among the normal activities of everyday life. It's hard to convince someone that they are involved in inordinate idolatry when they tell you that they are simply trying to provide for the fundamental needs of their family as well as planning for the future. When what to the rest of the world is considered a luxury is viewed by Americans as a necessity, it is difficult to make a case for idolatry. The activity usually proceeds without modification, a mixture of prudence and greed.

I am willing to propose, however, that there is a single idolatrous action which is more pervasive among Americans and, at the same time, is the most public of acts. In fact most have been taught to engage in this one activity since they were children in school, never giving a second thought to the nature of this action. But before I identify this specific act, I'll refer to a source which will provide a clear line of demarcation for our understanding the significance of this act.
The ancient nation of Israel had a Prophet who foretold of the Messiah to come. Among other details, this Prophet Isaiah told of Jesus who "shall stand for an ensign of the people." (Isaiah 11:10) This Messiah would be set up as "an ensign for the nations." (Isaiah 11:12)
This word translated "ensign" in the King James Version of the Bible can also be translated as banner or flag. The Prophet is telling us that one day this Messiah, who we know to be Jesus, will be set up as a flag over the nations of the earth. He will be the one person who will unite the earth in peace and rule as the visible focus of all earthly allegiance.

This declaration by the Prophet carries a level of significance which fails, for the most part, to enter our understanding. Most Americans would read this and shrug. Sadly, most American Christians would do the same thing. Yet, ask them about the impact of 911 on this country and you may find it difficult to shut them up. American interests around the world, especially in fighting terror will be lifted up in word for all hearers to consider. All things American have taken on a significance not seen since WWII. A patriotic fervor unseen in this generation has taken hold and it was especially evident in the months following 911 through the initial phases of the War in Iraq.

Interestingly, this patriotism which traversed all potential boundaries was evidenced in one item, the American flag. And Old Glory garnered one thing from a multitude of Americans which many never gave a second thought about. Old Glory received their allegiance. It mattered not the location, whether on the steps of the national Capitol in Washington D.C., the neighborhoods of the nation or the far flung reaches of the globe. The American Flag was given due allegiance.
There might be some who would immediately offer an appeal to common sense and say that everyone knows that we don't really give our allegiance to the flag itself. Everyone knows that allegiance can only be given to a person, specifically, a living person. This point would seem to be the common sense view to hold, wouldn't it? Yet, the words of The Pledge of Allegiance, which are recited on a regular basis by many, say specifically, "I pledge allegiance to the flag.." Do we so glibly utter words of such magnitude? Is it so easy to make such an excuse? Or are the words completely meaningless?

Another point which some might make is the fact that everyone knows that the flag is not alive. It is simply a piece of cloth with colors arranged in such a manner as to provide an identify to a country and its citizens. It is an inanimate object. To attempt to ascribe life to an inanimate object is to revert to less enlightened times. Modern civilization doesn't engage in such dark practices as giving allegiance to living objects. Such historical idolatry isn't becoming of the educated citizens of a modern democracy.

At this point, the argument runs head on into the specific thoughts of an august and elite group of Americans. They are specifically known as Senators and Congressmen of the United States of America. They are the representatives of the citizens of the United States. And what they do is considered the work, will and voice of the people. In fact, their work on behalf of the people is written down for all to peruse. It is completely public. And believe me when I say that they have spoken very accurately the thoughts of the people. And what is their verdict on behalf of the people? .............The flag is alive!

Fortunately, this fact can be easily verified by anyone since it is contained within the pages of law known as The United States Code. Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8, Paragraph(J) states the following: "The flag represents a living country and is itself considered to be a living thing."
If you need a few moments to contemplate such a pronouncement, please do so. Such a bold statement should reach to the depths of our being and inform us as to the true nature of certain activities long considered truly American and God honoring. No one said full disclosure was free of shock or discomfort.

WOW! The real American Idol!
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