I’m a patriot. I love America. My mother and father were both immigrants to the United States. They never let me forget how lucky I am to have been born and raised in The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. I lived in the UK for 18 years and traveled the world. So I didn’t just hear about the differences between US and them; I saw them, heard them and tasted them. Lived them. So American flag art? Bring it on! American flag art with an embedded cross? ‘Scuse the blasphemy, but why the hell not? If you’re a Christian and you know it happy clap your hands. But an American flag and embedded cross sold by the NRA? Uh . . . well . . .
The National Rifle Association is not a government institution. It’s under no obligation to be non-secular. As a Jew educated in a Quaker school, where we recited the Lord’s Prayer every day and sang Christian hymns aplenty in Glee Club, I’m down with the whole Son of God thing. (He was a Jew, after all.) If the NRA wants to worship Jesus (one way or another), or evoke His name to sanctify their mission, God bless ’em. It’s the mission that matters.
That said, the NRA needs to reach out to as many Americans as possible. While white Christian gun owners are their base, minority gun owners are Americans too. Sure, most American minorities are Christian. But many are not. To take the moral high ground, to establish a claim that it represents all Americans, the NRA needs to be seen as a catholic movement. (Small c.). It should start by being one.
Equally important, minorities could well be the NRA’s secret weapon. They are, after all, the most important part of the Democratic party’s base—if only in terms of branding. Steal Black and Hispanic voters from the anti-gun side of the aisle, and the NRA will find opposition to gun rights melting away like the Potomac River in spring.
In short, the NRA needs to gradually move away from the urban cowboy, Chuck Norris gestalt, towards a more inclusive image. Something that celebrates diversity. No, not that affirmative action, equal-time-makes-us-all-equal BS. Real equality. The equality that led our Founding Fathers to enshrine the right to bear arms in the U.S. Constitution.
Offering NRA-branded talismans blending Jesus, guns and patriotism is no great sacrilege. But it’s not clever. Just like the organization itself, the NRA should sell American values without alienating anyone. Would the NRA sell a flag-draped Star of David? I wouldn’t want or expect them to.
“Impressions of Old Glory” Print, $79.95 plus S&H.
Description Jack E. Dawson’s artistic themes and renderings really strike a chord with NRA members. Jack has once again stirred our patriotism with his newest print, “Impressions of Old Glory.” Channeling inspiration from the time-honored National Cemetery Flag Folding Ceremony often used at veterans’ memorial services, Jack depicts a war torn U.S. flag draped over a cross. But look more closely, and you will see hidden images of inspiration.
A newborn baby (representing life), a woman pledging allegiance (representing love of country), and Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine and Coast Guard emblems (representing respect for our Armed Forces) are among the many subtle images that correspond to 13 folds used in the traditional flag folding ceremony.
Jack E. Dawson is at his creative best here, combining spiritual and patriotic elements sure to touch your heart. A key to the hidden images is provided on the back of the piece. Professionally framed in dark wood grain with an NRA medallion prominently displayed, “Impressions of Old Glory” measures 20” L x 24” high. Made in USA.
“No, not that affirmative action, equal-time-makes-us-all-equal BS. Real equality. The equality that led our Founding Fathers to enshrine the right to bear arms in the U.S. Constitution.”
Not to be beating up on the founders once again, but that never happened. Let’s not um, whitewash it. Let’s keep in mind their conception of equality as expressed in the Constitution. It demonstrably didn’t apply to women or blacks, and they didn’t exactly have Jews or Catholics in the front of their minds, either. They meant white male protestant landowners — people like themselves. Slaves and freedmen couldn’t own guns, for example. You might think 2A says they could, but that’s not how the founders read it, and they wrote the thing.
The NRA is of the same tradition. That’s who they are and that’s what they’re going to reflect in thought and deed. And that is also their conception of the Second Amendment, naturally: It was written for people like them. Change would be a very good thing, I completely agree, but I wouldn’t underestimate how fundamental the change would have to be. It’s in their DNA as they see it.
The founding fathers weren’t a homogeneous group – what you said is only true of some or arguably many of them and even the hypocrites were partly right.
Letter from Washington to the Jewish Congregation of Newport:
While I received with much satisfaction your address replete with expressions of esteem, I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you that I shall always retain grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced on my visit to Newport from all classes of citizens.
The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security.
If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good government, to become a great and happy people.
The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy-a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.
It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.
It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my administration and fervent wishes for my felicity.
May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants – while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.
May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.
Thank you so much for providing President Washington’s letter. This is the first time I have seen it and it speaks volumes about his fine character and love of country.
Magoo, I go even further. The NRA is racist, just like many (most?) gunowners. Now, I know people around here get upset when I say that, but I’ll bet the ones who get most upset are the ones most guilty of it. For the most part, gunowners are “white male protestant landowners” just like the Sacred Founders and the NRA membership. And just like 220 years ago, those guys have problems with their darker brothers.
Think about this? Whenever this comes up on the blogs, there is a unanimous cry from the pro-gun guys of denial, total denial. Does that make sense? No, that would be like my saying every single one of them is racist. The truth is somewhere in the middle.
I’m an immigrant who arrived here when I was four years old. My father had to borrow $100 dollars in order for us to move to the good ole USA. I know how lucky I am to live in this great country and I am grateful for everyday that I’m here. I see nothing wrong with this nice piece of art and I have great respect for our FLAG and the NRA.
So now even a private, secular organization can’t embrace Christianity without facing criticism? I agree that the NRA needs to reach out to folks from as many walks of life as possible for the good of their cause, but that doesn’t mean they must do it at the expense of their core beliefs or those of their core constituents.
Naysayers claim they “hate being hit over the head with the Bible,” but we seem to have gotten to the point where ANY display of Christian faith (Muslim too, but with a different flavor) elicits cries of “too far!”
If someone doesn’t like an NRA Dawson print with a flag/cross they have the option of buying one with just a flag http://www.nrastore.com/nra/Product.aspx?productid=HO%2024680 You gotta love all the choices we as Americans enjoy. Personally I like the flag/cross print.
My only objection to this piece is that this kind of tacky, hokey, schlock art makes the NRA look like a bunch of rubes straight out of 1953. I spent my earliest years in a small town in Oklahoma (the state that is sometimes called “The Buckle of the Bible Belt) and this kind of crappy religious “art” was everywhere, right next to the sad clowns and the velvet Elvii.
And although I understand your objections to the apparent message being sent here, I think what’s really happening is that the NRA is simply trying to raise money by catering to what it sees as its most loyal base: Rural white Christians, or those who (though they might be suburban in life) consider themselves to be “rural” in spirit. IOW, the same demographic that listens to country music (another art form that is replete with overt Christian imagery.)
I don’t have a problem with it. Nor would I have a problem with the NRA offering a mezuzah made from an expended .30-06. Or a little Shinto shrine carved from human skulls. Whatever.
I have no problem with this either. It’s when diversity ends up being exclusion of one group or the other in order to be inclusive of another group that the issue gets screwy.
The fundamentalist religious element of the gun rights community has always made me a little uneasy about associating myself with it. I think that image definitely hurts its credibility in a lot of circles.
But ultimately I’m not really bothered by this at all — it’s just one item buried in a store with a lot of other random stuff. Hell, there are probably a lot of people that will pay $80 for this sort of tacky religious artwork and a lot of their money will go straight to helping out the NRA.
Overall I think the NRA does a pretty good job of maintaining a secular image considering what they have to work with and I expect to remain an NRA member for a long time.
The artwork looks like an accurate depiction of one of the problems with the state of the church in America: the flag is obscuring the cross.
touche! Personally, I like the print because it reflects everything I live for – God, Old Glory (country), our Military (freedom), and our children. However, I do have to agree with you that having the flag covering the cross is indeed ironic since God is definitely the most important element in the print. When I saw it through your eyes, I couldn’t help but smile. Thank you for brightening my day!