One of the things we seem to have forgotten in modern society is that words have meaning. I’d like to take a few moments to analyze the Alabama Creed:
I believe in Alabama, a state dedicated to a faith in God and the enlightenment of mankind; to a democracy that safeguards the liberties of each citizen and to the conservation of her youth, her ideals, and her soil. I believe it is my duty to obey her laws, to respect her flag and to be alert to her needs and generous in my efforts to foster her advancement within the statehood of the world.
So what does this mean in a modern context? Let’s dissect it into its individual ideas.
Dedicated to a faith in God. This creed, enacted in 1953 by the Alabama Legislature, is still the official creed of the state. It stands in defiance of those who would argue this is a violation of “church and state”, because this creed affirms that Alabama, consisting of its citizens and those they elect to represent them, still hold to faith in God. I wonder if those in militant opposition to religion in general would be interested in fighting for the removal of this creed on this basis alone.
Dedicated to the enlightenment of mankind. What does that mean? I can’t read the mind of the lady who originally wrote this creed to understand what this meant to her in 1953, but the Oxford English Dictionary1 defines Enlighten as “Give (someone) greater knowledge and understanding about a subject or situation“. Given the state has a decent number of colleges and universities, I would be confident in saying Alabama has shown such dedication to enlightenment.
A democracy that safeguards the liberty of each citizen. Again, lets define terms. Democracy is “A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives“. It is derived from the Greek roots of demos (δῆμος), which originally meant a subdivision of Attica, made up of people with common, tribal, and communal interests, and not “common people” as we have homogenized it to mean today2, and kratos (Κράτος), the name of a deity that was the personification of strength3. Liberty is “The state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s behaviour or political views“.
As an ideal, this sounds worthy, but as events around the Confederate Battle Flag have shown in past months, democracy in its basest form is simply mob rule, and in our era of anonymous outrage and the 24-hour news cycle, the mob who rules doesn’t even have to have a numerical majority, just the loudest voice. This incident serves as a breach of the trust the public places in its elected officials. On the other side of this issue, it serves as a victory for those offended by the flag. Who is right? Each side of the issue has a strong opinion on the matter, so there can be no amicable resolution. I believe, and I must overcome my pride to say this, but those who support the Confederate Battle Flag must take Romans 14:13-234 into consideration, although doing so brings up the question of “who is my brother?5“, which requires additional consideration. I would recommend this post for your consideration, but I would add that while a gentleman must deal kindly with his fellow man in general, barbarians and heathen are a different matter.
The conservation of your youth, her ideals, and her soil. Given the definition of conservation has evolved to take on a connotation of environmentalism, let us break it down into its Latin root words of con/cum (together) and servare (preserve) to grasp the word’s original meaning. The citizens of the great state of Alabama have an obligation to the next generation to leave the state in as good a condition for the next generation as was left for them.
They must likewise preserve the values the citizens of the Alabama have held in high esteem. We see this notion trampled daily in modern society. “Progressive” concepts that destroy old institutions and the very fabric of our society are to be defended against. Note that I do not equate “progressive” with “progress”. Progress is essential for the advancement of a society; although not all progress is beneficial for the long-term health of a society. The native Britons had become advanced after their submission to the Romans, and after the Romans withdrew in the 5th century, they were so “civilized” that they’d become effete, which led to Vortigern inviting Saxon mercenaries to drive the Picts and Scots from the land, only to have Saxons conquer the native Britons and alter the cultural and genetic makeup of the island6.
Lastly, Alabamians must preserve together the soil, which could take on two connotations. First would be the literal soil, which is preserved through the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. In the second sense, many Alabamians have served in the military and sworn/affirmed an oath7 to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”. The Constitution represents to a degree our way of life, which to many Alabamians, is tied to the land where their ancestors lived and are buried. To preserve the soil is to preserve the heritage.
Duty to obey her laws. We are told in the Scriptures to “Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21, ASV) and “to be in subjection to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready unto every good work, to speak evil of no man, not to be contentious, to be gentle, showing all meekness toward all men” (Titus 3:1-2, ASV). However, if the laws of the land are discordant with the laws of YHWH, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:30, ASV).
Respect her flag. To be honest, I’ve not seen many people give that much attention to the red saltire on a white field, although given its close proximity in looks to the Confederate battle flag, I could imagine that it might get some undue attention. We have to realize that this symbol isn’t unique or original to Alabama, it also known as the Cross (or Saltire) of St. Patrick8. Florida has essentially the same flag9, except it has the Great Seal of Florida in the middle of it. Before we send Sherman to march to the sea10, burning all symbols that look like the battle flag, let us remember that a great many Southerners are of Scots-Irish ancestry, and with the cross of St. Patrick already mentioned, the National flag of Scotland is a white saltire on a blue field, the cross of St. Andrew11. So, lets respect the flag and let it fly proudly.
To be alert to her needs. Alabamians need to take civic responsibility for the management of their state. Know what the esteemed statesmen are doing in Montgomery and vote out the politicians.
Generous in my efforts to foster her advancement within the statehood of the world. I believe this is one area that the past couple Governors have done well at, and provide Alabama’s citizens an example to follow. Alabamians must represent their state as an honorable and good place to live and do business. This means we Alabamians must be spokespeople for the state wherever our travels take us. We must be on our best behavior. We must be kind to others and give them a reason to hold Alabama, and its citizens, in high esteem. We must make sure that when the world has a poor image of the United States, its only because they haven’t been exposed to the greatness that exists in the South.
- All definitions listed are from the Oxford English Dictionary unless stated otherwise.
- Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge ye this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock in his brother’s way, or an occasion of falling. I know, and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean of itself: save that to him who accounteth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. For if because of meat thy brother is grieved, thou walkest no longer in love. Destroy not with thy meat him for whom Christ died. Let not then your good be evil spoken of: for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he that herein serveth Christ is well-pleasing to God, and approved of men. So then let us follow after things which make for peace, and things whereby we may edify one another.Overthrow not for meat’s sake the work of God. All things indeed are clean; howbeit it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. It is good not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor [to do anything] whereby thy brother stumbleth. The faith which thou hast, have thou to thyself before God. Happy is he that judgeth not himself in that which he approveth. But he that doubteth is condemned if he eat, because [he eateth] not of faith; and whatsoever is not of faith is sin. (Romans 14:13-23, ASV)
- While he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, seeking to speak to him. And one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, seeking to speak to thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand towards his disciples, and said, Behold, my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother. (Matthew 12:46-50, ASV)
- It’s worth noting the British isles had several cultural “wash, rinse, repeat” cycles. Legend has it that Brutus, namesake of Britain and of Trojan stock, defeated the native population of the island several generations after the fall of Troy. His men became the forbears of the native Britons, who were subjugated by the Saxons led by Hengist and Horsa. Then there were the incursions initiated by Ragnar Lothbrok that led to Viking influence in parts of the islands. The Vikings spread their seed far and wide, with Rollo conquering a portion of France to establish the duchy of Normandy. The Normans (north men) would then under the leadership of Rollo’s descendent, William the Bastard, cross the English Channel and defeat the Anglo-Saxon kings. Several hundred years later Britain saw the return to the throne of a king with a trace of native Briton blood in him, Henry Tudor. Following the Tudor dynasty, a Scot, James VI and I, the first king of the United Kingdom of England and Scotland introduced the Stuart dynasty to English royalty. His son Charles I was executed by a republican rebellion that saw Oliver Cromwell ascend to power, but not to the throne. The people repented of this mistake (a lesson the modern English seem to have forgotten) and Charles II was restored to the throne. A few generations later saw the end of the Stuart line with the death of Queen Anne. This led to the rise of the House of Hanover to the British throne, with the coronation of King George I, the son of Sophia of Hanover, who was the granddaughter of James VI and I. There was no coup leading to George I, 52nd line line to inherit the throne, but England had laws against having a Catholic monarch, and George I was the first Protestant on the list. He was also the first germanic king since the Saxons and spoke little English. His grandson was George III, whom all Americans should be familiar with, him being the “tyrant” the Declaration of Independence was written to (or about), an excellent piece of propaganda. He is probably more maligned in American history than he deserves. The last Hanoverian was Victoria, whose grandchildren (George V, Wilhelm II, and a couple European nobles) fought against each other in WWI.