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Do the Confederate Battle Flag's Colors Have Religious Significance?

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by CMWinkler, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. CMWinkler

    CMWinkler Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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  3. Desert Kid

    Desert Kid Sergeant Major

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    Well, patriotic significance at least.
     
  4. CMWinkler

    CMWinkler Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    Yes, I've seen the graphic referred to and I knew it to be inaccurate. Devereaux Cannon, God rest his soul, was a friend and his research on the flag contained much of the information about the lack of religious significance emphasized by the designer. Of course, each of us is free to attach significance of any kind to our symbols.
     
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  5. Cavalry Charger

    Cavalry Charger Private

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    When it comes to flags, red, white and blue would seem to be common colours in use at the time . As far as the 'blood of Christ' goes, being a Christian society, it would be easy to attach this element of significance to the flag, but not necessarily the reason for it. As you say, one may attach one's own significance to the symbolism,
     
  6. Tin cup

    Tin cup 1st Lieutenant

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  7. Pat Young

    Pat Young Colonel Forum Host

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    I haven't read as many letters from Confederate soldiers as many of you, but I wonder if soldiers at the time thought of it as embedding those symbols of Christ. I have read them referring to the stars and the cross, but not giving the list of symbols that graphic did.
     
  8. KansasFreestater

    KansasFreestater 2nd Lieutenant Member of the Month

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    I did not know about Devereaux Cannon and his passion for flags. Perhaps Sheldon Cooper's "Fun with Flags" was inspired by him? :wink:
     
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  9. Tennessee_Mountainman

    Tennessee_Mountainman Corporal

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    The question is whether ironic, because the opposite was the reason is had a diagonal cross.

    "That flag was a blue St George's Cross (an upright or Latin cross) on a red field, with 15 white stars on the cross, representing the slaveholding states,[30][31] and, on the red field, palmetto and crescent symbols. Miles received a variety of feedback on this design, including a critique from Charles Moise, a self-described "Southerner of Jewish persuasion." Moise liked the design but asked that "...the symbol of a particular religion not be made the symbol of the nation." Taking this into account, Miles changed his flag, removing the palmetto and crescent, and substituting a heraldic saltire ("X") for the upright cross. The number of stars was changed several times as well. He described these changes and his reasons for making them in early 1861. The diagonal cross was preferable, he wrote, because "it avoided the religious objection about the cross (from the Jews and many Protestant sects), because it did not stand out so conspicuously as if the cross had been placed upright thus." He also argued that the diagonal cross was "more Heraldric [sic] than Ecclesiastical, it being the 'saltire' of Heraldry, and significant of strength and progress."[32]"

     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
  10. hoosier

    hoosier 2nd Lieutenant Forum Host

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    I'm sure there could be numerous explanations of the religious significance of the colors red, white, and blue.

    It could also be that the Confederacy wanted to preserve the colors, if not the exact design, of the Stars and Stripes flag under which the Southern colonies (as well as the Northern) originally gained their independence from Britain.

    On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed its flag resolution, keeping the colors of red, white, and blue and the 13 alternating red and white stripes, but replacing the Union Jack with white stars in a blue field, to represent a "new constellation."

    That, however, was not the first Stars and Stripes design carried by the Continental military forces. The "Continental Colors" or "Grand Union" flag in use at the time of the Declaration of Independence consisted of 13 alternating stripes of red and white, with the design commonly referred to as a "Union Jack" in the upper left-hand corner.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Flag_of_the_United_States&oldid=769691249

    The Union Jack consists of a red St. George's cross (for England) superimposed over a white St. Andrew's cross (for Scotland) on a blue background.

    So, if you subscribe to the theory that the Confederates wanted to adopt the colors of the original Stars and Stripes, there's one explanation of religious significance - the colors relate to two saints.
     
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  11. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    The only significance I feel can be attached to the flag is that of brotherhood between fellow soldiers when serving under that flag on a field of battle.
     
  12. DixieRifles

    DixieRifles 1st Lieutenant

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    I agree. Snopes article even states that South Carolina started with the St. George's cross and then it was changed to the St. Andrew's cross. I think that means they were copying previous designs that had a religious significance to them. There were many British regiments that had religious symbols in their flags or badges. Whether or not the men who served in those units saw these as symbols of their culture or their religion is another discussion.
     
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  13. AndyHall

    AndyHall Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Miles did not address the design considerations of the South Carolina secessionist flag he started with (below), but was clear that he turned the cross diagonally in his design to distance its pattern from an explicitly Christian symbol.

    IMG_2897.PNG
     
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  14. Joshism

    Joshism Sergeant

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    Some folks these days sure seem to have a religious devotion to the CBF. :wink:
     
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  15. DixieRifles

    DixieRifles 1st Lieutenant

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    I couldnt hit "Like" as it may be misconstrued. I AGREE with you -- but do not like a religious fervor over it.
     
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  16. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Major

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    I agree with those , who think the only religious significance of the traditional Confederate Battle Flag, was/is whatever the viewer chooses to ascribe to the fact of it's being a representation of a St. Andrew's Cross.
     
  17. AndyHall

    AndyHall Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    It's very common among Confederate heritage groups to ascribe explicit Christian symbolism to the CBF, not as their own personal vision of it, but as straight-up historical fact. As noted at Snopes and elsewhere in this thread, the flag's designer was explicitly trying to avoid that when he chose a diagonal cross as the pattern. Just this week that first newspaper clipping shown on Snopes has been making the rounds on social media, and activists like H. K. Edgerton have made it a central part of their presentations.
     
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  18. Tennessee_Mountainman

    Tennessee_Mountainman Corporal

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    Very well said. And I think it should be noted that a the majority of those groups are made up of, well, I don't want to get political, but nut jobs who discard many things that go against their religious agenda. It's quite embarrassing to me as a southerner when I listen to some of those people.
     
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  19. CMWinkler

    CMWinkler Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    Well, Andy, I'm not sure I agree. I'm a member of several Confederate heritage groups. I won't say I've never heard the symbolism ascribed, but I would not say it was common.
     
  20. AndyHall

    AndyHall Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    My language was imprecise -- I see it commonly on social media, which is often different than f2f interaction. Thanks for letting me clarify that.
     
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  21. kepi

    kepi First Sergeant

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    Didn't the UDC object at one time to confederate banners being used outside of civil war memorial services by politicians and such?
     

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