Friday, July 07, 2006

Flags and Icons

Chief Justice John Roberts, although a strong opponent of abortion “rights,” has stated that he doesn’t foresee a time when Roe v. Wade will be overturned. It’s the “settled law of the land.”

This year a proposed constitutional amendment which would ban flag burning as a means of public expression fell just one vote short of passing. Considered by some as a means of free speech, flag burning is regarded by others as especially heinous during time of war.

These two issues, flag burning and abortion, when placed in juxtaposition reveal how convoluted our values truly are. Normally the trails of flag burning (free speech) and a woman’s right to abortion (by way of right to privacy) have little to do with each other. They are perhaps parallel within the Bill of Rights and Constitutional Amendments, but they don’t necessarily intersect. That is, until Country Music steps into the foray.

Enter Natalie Maines and Tim McGraw. In the world of Country Music, it is more profitable to advocate burning babies in their mothers’ wombs than it is to burn American flags. That is the bottom line of it, folks.

When Natalie Maines exercised her right to public speech and spoke against the Iraq War and President Bush, the marketplace reacted. Her group, the Dixie Chicks, lost millions in bookings, air play, and record sales. Now, I can’t and I won’t defend what Maines said any time she spoke out the Iraq War. Yet she is right when she argues that her criticism against Bush and the Iraq War resulted in a backlash of defensive flag waving. In Country Music, it is not wise to be regarded as unpatriotic. It’ll cost you big time.

When Tim McGraw sang, “Red Rag Top”, a song about a “young and wild” couple who “did what they did” because they “decided not to have a child,” the marketplace barely hiccupped. The lyrics do not schwaffle. The young girl is as a “mother-to-be,” and she carries a child, not unidentified nebulous tissue. This reflects the dichotomy of thought found among many who consider abortion a permissible option. Even though they believe what is being carried inside the woman is a human infant, they will still proceed to terminate his life. The law of the land allows them this right. Although the song does express some remorse over the decision, abortion is still upheld. In fact, the song’s success may well be precisely because it allows the listener to take from it what he will, either a pro-choice or a regret-for-an-abortion message. How postmodern is that? So, McGraw's raking in the dough.

The dynamic message is this: It is less patriotic to burn a flag on a public street than to burn babies out of a mother’s womb.

Or maybe it’s this way: It’s more patriotic to a burn baby out of a mother’s womb than to burn a flag on a public street.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like burning flags as a means of public expression, especially during times of war. That is the time when our troops need a public display of support for them, and flag burning sends exactly the opposite. It is, if you will, a message of aid and comfort to the enemy. Specifically it says that the ideals for which Americans have stood and fought for are going up in smoke and dying with the embers and ashes of that burning flag. It is a cremation by effigy of the democratic dream for which this nation has fought and is fighting for. But what does it say of us as Americans when we defend the flag with great fervor on the one hand, only to applaud destroying our future on the other?

Women are the bearers of the future physically in a way no man can either be or portray. They give birth to future generations. Motherhood is the iconic symbol of a rich and vital future. It is not for idle whimsy that Liberty was portrayed as a female. She is the bearer of the future of democracy in the world. Women are not merely symbolic of motherhood; only a woman can be its symbol. Liberty portrayed by a female suggests she is capable of being a mother, even if she is not one in fact. She is welcoming and nurturing.

Women who abort are mothers who kill their own young. These are women who by that very act state that the future has room for only a select few. These women are the arbiters of those who will be culled out for death. That is not the face of Liberty, but of fascism. Yet this is the face of the new woman of America. This is now the woman of our songs.

Motherhood has its foundation in a God who gives gifts to men. After the first sin God told the first woman that pain would be increased in childbirth (Ge 3:16). This was a blessing. She had been told to be fruitful and multiply (Ge 1:28). Yet she sinned, and could expect all that to be taken from her. However, God mercifully told her that children would still come from her and her husband. For his part Adam showed how he received God’s words in what he named her. Eve means “mother of all living” (Ge 3:20). Not only would all future generations of human life come from this one woman, but also one woman from out of all those future generations would be chosen to bear God’s Son. He would crush the head of their enemy, the serpent (Ge 3:15). The future promised to Eve was met in Mary of Nazareth, the Blessed Virgin Mother. Because of Christ’s incarnation in Mary, a woman’s vocation is sanctified. The fruit of Mary's womb, Jesus, was sent to die for the sake of all the world in order that they would live eternally. Now every pregnancy ever since then is an icon of that one pregnancy still – a reminder to Satan of the One who overcame him on the cross. Abortion must be that much sweeter to him on that account.

Both flag burning and willful abortion intersect at one vital point: There is despair for the future. Flag burning says that the nation is headed in a direction that will lead to its destruction. When the future appears too bleak for either parents or the infant, abortion becomes the “logical” choice. In “Red Rag Top,” the couple chose abortion because “I was out of a job and she was in school/Life was fast and the world was cruel.” So, the infant paid the price of the parents' lousy choice of premature sex. That was an expensive lay. And the tote board just keeps on rackin' up each time the song plays, teaching its values to more and more listeners as it does.

Wherever for some there is no immediately self-gratified hope of a future, apparently the only option is to destroy any hope of a future for others – either burn a flag to symbolize the destruction of democracy or have an abortion, or both. Right now both represent the full-fledged “American Way.”

But if you’re a Country singer, be sure which way you sing. God has His icons and foundations, and that’s all just fine and dandy, but we just won’t nevermind about Him anymore, will we, now? For good ole American Country singers and their fans the truly American way is that abortion is “in,” but you had best watch your mouth when it comes to walkin’ the patriotic line.

It just seems to be a bit hypocritical to me, that’s all.


Dan @ Necessary Roughness said...

Excellent point. Thank you.

Lawrence said...

So True, sadly.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for speaking out so boldly about this

Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

beautifully expressed and brutally honest. Thank you.

Orycteropus Afer said...

You done outdid yerself, ma'am. Good thing I ordered a bulk shipment of Golden Aardvarks — that way, you won't have to wait for yours.