Flag burning

Submitted by Walt on Tue, 07/13/2004 - 16:24

One of LISNews' illustrious posters, in commenting on book burning, threw in a question as to whether we supported a Constitutional amendment to ban flag burning.

I didn't respond there because the question was so off-topic.

I find the question interesting because, as far as I know, the only approved way to dispose of a worn-out or damaged U.S. flag is to burn it. Anything else is considered inappropriate.

So would a Constitutional amendment be phrased such that you were a criminal if it could be proved that the flag you burned was not sufficiently worn to be ready for burning, but OK if it was?

In practice, I would say that anyone who burns a flag as a form of political protest--something that's happened very rarely--is asserting that the flag has been metaphorically soiled by what they're protesting against. I might not agree--I think burning a flag is a stupid way to protest much of anything, just as I think burning books is a stupid way to protest much of anything--but there it is.

Or is this another attempt to equate love of country with love of a particular piece of cloth, and to make any form of protest that could conceivably be seen as denying that love a crime?