Complaint Filed over LGBT Flag on US Air Force Base
Brian Kolfage, a triple-amputee due to wounds received in Iraq, writes at The Blaze that he was shocked to see a homosexual ‘rainbow American flag’ adorning a home on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base two weeks ago:
It was an American flag with rainbow stripes instead of the standard red and white stripes flying high on a two story house…on government property…
Everyone is free to express their sexual preferences in the Military in any way they want, but this flag flying on a military base is in violation of Title 4 of the U.S. Code…
The moment the flag took on the union stars is where it becomes a violation, with my understanding of the U.S. Code.
Kolfage says he received the following reply from the Air Force after a few days:
The installation commander carefully considered the opinions of legal professionals and the law. The display in question is not an altered U.S. flag; therefore, its display does not violate federal law. No action will be taken.
Quibbling though it may be, it is not surprising. The US Flag Code is an unenforceable Federal “law,” though it could conceivably be used as a standard to which to hold residents on a military base who have more strict rules on what they are allowed to do on ‘their property.’
To say the Air Force is out of line to allow the rainbow flag because it violates the US Flag Code is a stretch, and ultimately a pointless one. Still, Kolfage says it is only the American flag resemblance with which he takes issue:
If you’re proud of your sexuality, then please represent it, but do not do it at the sake of insulting our nation’s flag. Please have some respect and go buy a regular Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender pride flag.
That said, Kolfage is probably one of the few making that distinction. Otherwise, the complaint smacks of trying to find a backdoor way to end something with which there is disagreement but that is otherwise permissible — a disingenuous methodology not unlike that of Chris Rodda and Mikey Weinstein.
If the military wants to allow flags that resemble American flags but actually represent ideology, that’s up to them. All that matters is that the standard is fairly applied — which is where there may be a bone of contention. Kolfage quotes an Air Force Master Sergeant:
I cannot fly a Christian flag…The point of this message isn’t anti-gay. It’s a fundamental shift of loyalty and allegiance. It is a political statement. I cannot publicly endorse a candidate for office while in uniform, but I can openly tell the world that I am LGBT.
To the MSgt’s second issue, he does have a point. In context, the homosexual rainbow flag is a political statement, which complicates reconciling it with military policies on political issues. Still, if the base wants to interpret things that way, they probably have that leeway. (More troubling, though left out of current public conversation: When did it become socially acceptable to publicly advertise the type of sex someone likes to have?)
The MSgt’s first point is more concerning. If the base does, indeed, have restrictions on flag content — allowing one announcing or advocating homosexuality but not one that displays Christianity — then there is a clear issue of discrimination. Policies vary from base to base, but a housing policy from Davis-Monthan from a few years ago makes no reference to flags or displays of any kind.
If the Master Sergeant has an example of a Christian flag being prohibited, he absolutely has a legitimate complaint. If, however, he only feels that he can’t display such a flag due to the current social/military environment, then his complaining is without merit. The latter is more likely in this case.
Trying to get a “rainbow flag” pulled off a private residence via the Flag Code is ultimately a fruitless tactic. There is room for discussion on what is or is not permissible for military members when it comes to the Flag Code, but this incident was far too much of a stretch to be of any value.
Let them fly their flag to announce their sexual practices to their neighborhood, and let their neighbors fly their own flags to announce their faiths, football teams, and buzzing bumble bees with inspiring quotes. When the rainbow flag is treated differently than others, including flags that might imply a disagreement with the message of the homosexual advocacy flag, then there can be a discussion.
Besides, Christians in particular should support the display of the rainbow flag, as its an excellent conversation piece. After all, it was God who set the rainbow in the clouds as a reminder of His covenant…a covenant made after He destroyed most of mankind for its depravity.