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19 April 2006 @ 07:45 pm
On flag-burning and a Christian nation  
Well, my friends, the big picture tonight is 13 stripes of red and white, Old Glory, The Star-Spangled Banner. You know, I'm happy to say the flag that flew over Iwo Jima has not lost its value with time. In fact, recently it was sold at Sotheby's to a wealthy Japanese collector.

Now, only the lowest form of scum would burn the American flag, but in America there's no law against being the lowest form of scum. And I'd like to keep it that way, not that it affects me personally, but I have some friends in this business that might be hitting me up for bail money.

Now I love this country. I even vacation here. And I love the flag. Matter of fact, I get goosebumps every time I lick a stamp with a flag on it. But now, just because I don't burn the flag, suddenly that makes me a law-abiding citizen, and I resent that. In fact, I'm against any law that I wouldn't break if I could get away with it.

You know, it's bad enough there's a federal law against burning money. And of course, people get around that by putting it into savings and loans. But one guy burned a flag in public four years ago, and the President wants to amend the Constitution over it. Now, I know, a lot of people have died for the flag. But a lot of people have died for a lot of different flags, and I bet you some of them wish they hadn't.

You know, 29 countries have red, white and blue flags. Now, I'll tell you this, my friends, it wasn't the originality of our founding flag designers that inspired those students to stand up to the tanks in Tiananmen Square. No, it was the Bill of Rights, a masterpiece of the most brilliant minds of the Age of Enlightenment, a beacon of freedom to the all the world. The flag? It isn't even Betsy Ross's best work. You know, she did a needlepoint of a log cabin that was just fabulous.

Now, it's easy to get a symbol mixed up with what it stands for. I know, because when I was a teenager, I used to sleep with a Playboy centerfold. It was a picture, but to me, it was a symbol of sex, in the same way a photo opportunity at a flag factory is a symbol of freedom. In other words, they're both just jerking off.

Now you know, putting an image before reality is the definition of idolatry. And I'm not necessarily calling the President a pagan, but a country that loves freedom enough to let its flag be burned for the sake of it is just following the example of a God who loves his people so much he let them kill his son. And that, my friends, is the big picture.

A. Whitney Brown - The Big Picture - Saturday Night Live - September 30, 1989