Thursday, January 31, 2008

Flag Bashing

[Church/State] Gordon B. Hinckley appears to have been a decent, God-fearing man. And that has nothing to do with the fact that the American flag in Utah should not be flying at half-staff in his honor.

It may seem otherwise, considering the way Old Glory is used as a barometer for any sort of local tragedy, but there are actually Federal guidelines for this sort of thing. The governor of a state may, in fact, order American flags to fly at half-staff, but only under very specific circumstances. And the death of a religious leader -- I feel the need to re-emphasize this, even in Utah: a RELIGIOUS leader -- does not qualify.


Title 4 of the U.S. code spells it all out, and section 7m authorizes a governor to make such an order "upon the death of a present or former official of the government of the state, or the death of a member of the Armed Forces from that state who dies while serving on active duty" (hat tip to USAHistory.org). The head of the LDS Church may be a de facto political figure in Utah, but we can all mourn without bringing the flag into it. (Scott Renshaw)

12 comments:

  1. I wuzza Girl ScoutJanuary 31, 2008 at 1:51 PM

    You'd think there would be enough current and former Eagle Scouts in our midst who'd know proper flag etiquette to prevent this misuse.

    Just goes to show, when the Mormon heart swells, there nary a hair's breadth of separation between church and state around these parts.

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  2. I agree completely. It should not have been flown at half mast for the shooting at Trolley Square either.

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  3. Why then did the flag fly at half mast when Mother Theresa- a religious leader died?

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  4. never at half mast hereJanuary 31, 2008 at 3:50 PM

    Flags at half mast have been abused for over twenty years now. I dont know much of anything, but the first time I remember personally flags flying at half mast was when the Challenger exploded. It seems since then the act has become so commonplace and done for anyone that they fly at half mast all the time.

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  5. How come whenever someone makes a simple, truthful point about local quirks, Mormon quirks, people like ericproffitt point to some Catholic equivalent as a lame ass defensive rationalle?---Well, the Pope does it! Well the Catholics in Boston do it!! The flag should have stayed at full mast in both cases.

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  6. You mean this WASN'T in honor of Heath Ledger?

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  7. to think that people would care more about flag etiquette than an empathetic use of half-masting the flag in pretty much any case as a recognition of significance or importance - whether it be mother teresa, the trolley square incident, Gordon B. Hinckley just shows the kind of vitriolic a-holes that live in this state - who actually have the audacity, or moreover indecency to flippantly palaver over something so harmless as if it was an assault on them personally.

    it just goes to show how much animosity for religion in this state has come to almost entirely cheat so many people of any sense of proportionality - anything is everything - sounds like a bunch of moronic academics

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  8. I'm not personally bothered by the half-staff flags specifically in connection with the church president.

    But it does seem that, in Utah, we tend to overdo things. The fact that there can be no performance anywhere without a standing ovation devalues standing ovations. And, perhaps, lowering the flag after every random shooting devalues that symbol.

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  9. Constable: Fuck your anti-intellectual bullshit elitist snobbery.

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  10. Arguing the technicalities of flying the flag at half-mast is ridiculous. Dissent against Mormons is at the heart of this issue. I'm not an expert on the religious issues Gordon B. Hinckley stood for, but I can tell you he was a heck of a civic leader and at the very least, an example for others to follow, regardless of creed.

    I'm not a Mormon and never will be, but I tip my hat to this fellow and would even lower my flag to half-mast anyday.

    We've lowered the flag to remember the death of corrupt presidents, why is this such a big deal? Too much time on your hands?

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  11. Haven't we all had enough of statements that resemble what should and shout not be done regardless of which side of the fight it is coming from?

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  12. All,

    Please read Proc. No. 3044. Display of Flag at Half-Staff Upon Death of Certain Officials and Former Officials

    {Snip}

    5. The heads of the several departments and agencies of the Government may direct that the flag of the United States be flown at half-staff on buildings, grounds, or naval vessels under their jurisdiction on occasions other than those specified herein which they consider proper, and that suitable military honors be rendered as appropriate.

    Gov. Huntsman was entirely within his rights issue such an order to mourn Hinckley's passing. Anyone else "abusing" half-staff etiquette has the right to do so under the first ammendment protection of free speech. So lets all reserve the anal retentive BS for Walmart bashing.

    Thanks!

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