When can a church take down a Black Lives Matter flag?

Philip Greenspun's Weblog 2017-07-14

Happy Bastille Day!

One of the richest whitest towns in the United States, Concord, Massachusetts, is next to our local airport (Hanscom Field). When I go into Concord I pass a tall white church with a “Black Lives Matter” flag out front. (I have never seen a non-white person in the vicinity of this church.)

When the congregation put up the flag, I’m wondering if they had a plan for when the flag can be taken down.

Surely nobody is going to step forward and say “We don’t care about black lives anymore, so let’s have a ‘No human being is illegal’ or rainbow flag instead,” right?

If someone says “African-Americans are doing better than white Americans, so we can take the flag down,” that can always be refuted with at least one statistic on which white Americans are doing better (I don’t think this is true for Asian-Americans!). In any case, the typical member of the congregation would have virtually no contact with black Americans and therefore wouldn’t have any direct personal experience to offer.

Will we therefore find a descendant of that flag 100 years from now?

[Separately, last weekend I flew a helicopter tour for a couple of African-American local college students who’d bought a Groupon from East Coast Aero Club. As we flew over downtown Concord I pointed out the flag in as neutral tone as I could muster. The passengers broke into fits of laughter.]