Programming Note: Thanks to all of you who have contributed to this vibrant discussion. I invite you to read my latest post, which confronts the question of slavery as a cause of the Civil War in a more direct maner: "Re-Waging the Civil War."

In honor of MLK, evidently, Senators Joe Biden and Chris Dodd, two candidates for the Democratic nomination for president, attended an NAACP rally in front of the South Carolina statehouse in Columbia. Both senators agreed that the Confederate flag, which formerly flew over the capitol dome but still remains on the property, has no place on the capitol grounds (read the Washington Post story here).

The actions of Senators Dodd and Biden strike me as pure demagoguery. Was this the most meaningful message they could have imparted on MLK day? Or was this their best shot at getting on TV and touching a hot-button issue with a vital constituency?

Back over at the Liberty Papers, Kevin makes an argument for dumping the Confederate flag (and the monument to Confederate veterans as well) because "the Confederacy existed for sole purpose of allowing the enslavement of other human beings."

Those Liberty Boys sure are hard on the Confederacy. Lighten up fellas.

Having said that, for different reasons, I agree that the public display of the Confederate flag is problematic and ought to fade into the sunset.

My comment I attached to Kevin's post:

Sadly, the honorable history of the Confederate battle flag is largely irrelevant.

The flag is a negative symbol in the South for two reasons:

1) it was co-opted by the Klan and became a symbol of violence toward African Americans; and

2) it was adopted by the massive resistance that emerged during the post-Brown Civil Rights years in the South. The Rebel flags found their way onto Southern state flags as a symbol of modern defiance rather than an homage to the tradition of bravery among a mostly non-slaveholding force of fighting men during the Civil War.

Too bad–-but that is the reality. There is a time-honored Christian principle of laying down non-essential symbols and practices that offend others.

Southern whites need to forego the flag as a measure of their desire to live in harmony with their neighbors.