Why I Don’t Salute The Flag

When I go to sporting events, I always avoid the national anthem. I hate the music, the singing is always terrible, and I find it generally distasteful. Aside from that, I desperately want to avoid the awkwardness of being expected to remove my hat and salute the flag, because I won’t.

I won’t salute the flag because of what it represents. It is certainly legitimate to render honor where it is due, but there is no honor due to this flag and what it stands for.

The flag of the United States of America is a piece of cloth representative of an oppressive state, one which has murdered thousands of people in unjust wars. The flag represents a state that actively protects and funds those who murder innocents. It represents a state which regularly prosecutes (persecutes) persons who commit victimless “crimes”.

A great, simple flowchart to understand whether a crime has been committed.


The flag represents a state which performs massive surveillance that violates personal security, and claims the right to conscript me into any war they wish, making me their slave. The flag represents an empire more murderous than any state in the history of the world.

The flag does not represent some ethereal, platonic ideal of freedom, justice, or opportunity, long since lost in history. It represents the historic and current actions of the state, and all it has done and continues to do to harm, rob, and kill people around the world. Because of all this, I refuse to salute the flag of the United States of America, and I always will.


17 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Salute The Flag

  1. I’m going to disagree on the path and yet arrive at the same place. I don’t think we get to decide who is worthy of honor. I think “state officials” (to use a horribly loose term) are worthy of honor because they are God’s appointed people (you know the verses so I’m not going to list them but this is where they would go if I in fact choose to list them).

    However, as you mentioned, the flag is not a representative of state officials (hence “honor the emperor” doesn’t apply here). It is representative of the nation. And you are correct to state that this nation does not deserve honor.

    In practice, I would gladly show honor to Obama. But this flag thing (especially in the church) needs to go.

    1. That’s a fair comment. I don’t disagree that we’re to honor those in office. However, that honor should be displayed by not unfairly or fraudulently attacking them, as they become easy pickings for this due to their elevated and public position. Beyond this basic decency, I don’t believe they deserve special or preferential treatment. If a man behaves immorally, it should be noted, and the appropriate response should be offered. If a man with a badge or title behaves immorally, the same should happen.

  2. The Flag of the United States of America does not represent any such thing. That standard represents the BEST of this nation. The ideals that were behind its founding. Ideals that if people would actually get it together would a Shining example of Liberty in the World.

    It sounds to me that you have more a problem with the Government of this Nation and its circumvention of the ideals that the nations was founded on. Though that is nothing new our nation conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the principle that ALL men are created equal. (except slaves, women, and Native Americans of course) The principle was good – the inappropriate application was flawed.

    Now if you can point to a nation on this planet that does not do worse than we have please let me know – though I doubt you will find one. As Screwed up as the United States of America may be – its STILL the best game on the planet.

    1. The standard represents the people who back it and their actions. I certainly have a problem with our government, and will continue to have one for the foreseeable future. Because of this, I will also have substantial problems with its official visual representations as well.

    2. No Founding Father ever said the Pledge of Allegiance. It didn’t even exist until 105 years after the ratification of the Constitution when it was written by the socialist, Francis Bellamy (without the phrase “under God” which wasn’t added until much
      later). It wasn’t officially adopted for another 50 years. By then, the nature of the federal government had changed drastically from its original form established in 1787.

      Most of the Founders would have been appalled at the idea of “One Nation, indivisible…” Since a national government was decidedly not what they were attempting to establish and the states would never have ratified if they believed that was the goal. They had to be assured of this during their state ratifying conventions.

      My point is, from the Founding generation’s point-of-view, the pledge is totally unnecessary at best and completely antithetical to the meaning of the Constitution at worst.

  3. Although the flag stands for the republic, I think we can all agree that Ameritopia is no longer the republic that was founded as one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. However, I still view the flag as a reminder of what once was and still can be the greatest nation instituted by God on this earth. I will still regard it with honor. (Queue the Sousa Marches)

    1. Therein lies the issue. While America’s state was originally as close to the ideal form of a minarchist government, it was not founded as an indivisible nation, nor has it historically provided liberty and justice for all. Being those things are nice goals to shoot for, but The United States of America have clearly missed them.

  4. There’s a difference between appropriate patriotism and inappropriate nationalism. It’s a good thing to love sacrificially your country and the community that is America. And it’s important to not idolize the government. For some of us, the flag represents the country. So we show respect to the flag while being realistic and circumspect about the history of the nation. I can see what you’re saying, but I think the answer is in the balance.

  5. I know this post was about the flag, and not the pledge, but it seems like the two are inextricably intertwined when it comes to giving honor.

    In my view, the pledge has problems. First, with it’s author and his motive for writing it. Francis Bellamy was a baptist minister who was so socialist, his congregation fired him for preaching socialism more than the Gospel. And he wrote the pledge to inculcate into schoolchildren loyalty to the nation, rather than the former loyalty Americans had to their states, which view he considered to be behind Southern secession.

    Then there is this particular phrase: “one nation indivisible.” Isn’t such a comment highly arrogant in light of Acts 17:26 & ff, Daniel 4:28 & ff, and “Ozymandias”?

    Lastly, two related resources:

    1. “Nationalism in the Sanctuary” by Timothy D. Terrell

    2. “Patriotism or Nationalism?” by Joseph Sobran

      1. No, guilt by association is not the basis. Guilt by representation is. The flag (as already stated in the comments) is an official, visual representation of the government (state) of the United States of America. Given that they codified behavior for when it is displayed, this much is clear. Speaking of babies, the state is responsible for protecting and funding the murder of 41 million infants. In 2012 alone) for kidnapping over 1.5 million persons who committed victimless “crimes”. This state is as violent as any in the history of the world, and that is why I do not and will not salute its flag.

  6. I find the only use for the flag now is a banner of distress.. that is why I always fly it upsidedown. Until the” state” stops oppressing the countries and removes its occupying armies from other countries I will consider that we all are in a period of distress.

    As to the pledge written by a socialist to make children comply and be good citizens I will not be party to state worship and Glory. I will stand as daniels friends did and not bow down.

  7. That’s fine…except the lack of humility in the last line that nothing could ever change your mind, you could be wrong, or it could get better. Don’t you long for it to get better, Mr. Puddleglum?

    If there’s no hope in the forecast, then why not renounce your citizenship and its perks?

    I have no sympathy for the modern state of politics, but my thoughts at a ballgame (I don’t salute either though I do remove my cap) do tend to founding ideals and sacrifices made on the field of battle. And there are some renditions of the song worth whooping for.

    Unity doesn’t mean agreement in all things does it?

    1. When writing persuasively, one generally wants to avoid stating that they could be wrong, so I did that here. I do certainly hope for things to improve, but I don’t expect them to in my lifetime. My hopes and expectations are kind of a weird crossbreed of starry-eyed idealism and cynicism. Regarding your citizenship and unity questions, they’re both great inquiries, but I doubt I can give them a proper response in a comment. I will add them to my hopper of future post ideas and hopefully touch on them sooner rather than later. Finally, thank you so much for voicing your disagreements so respectfully. I knew publishing this piece that it wouldn’t be popular, but the amount of personal vitriol I’ve received was somewhat surprising and disappointing. Your comment was the opposite, and highly refreshing. Thank you.

  8. Your entire argument is dependent upon the flag representing a “state” or “government.” If it represents this… then many, including myself, find the flag offensive, and oppressive. It is easily provable that “our” current government… and political leaders… are not living up to the ideals of America. Now… what if the flag represents the “idea” of America? How could a lover of liberty not honor an idea based upon liberty? Based on your own premise… your belief must be accepted as universal truth… The use of phrases similar to “does not” dictates a certain way of prescribed thinking… Making you no different, than a government that dictates what you think. Making you just as oppressive…. since your statements are not posed as questions… but instead as statement of facts. Example: “The flag does not represent some ethereal, platonic ideal of freedom, justice, or opportunity, long since lost in history. It represents the historic and current actions of the state, and all it has done and continues to do to harm, rob, and kill people around the world.” These words take the form of certainty… fact. When in reality… they are view based on individual perception. For what if someone believes that the flag represents an Idea that is not lost in history… but instead lost in the actions of the present? Great posts. I DO TRULY ENJOY reading them.

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