Obama face flags explode in controversy

The American flag. This Memorial day, remember one who fights for that flag and is now in a Mexican jail.
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Obama face flags are new evidence of a disturbing possibility: that Barack H. Obama is building a personality cult based on himself. His disdain for the Constitution, and his calling it “a charter of negative liberties,” is bad enough. Now he has people believing that he is some sort of god. They are even willing to desecrate the American flag on the strength of that belief. That Obama does not put a stop to such behavior is the worst sign of all.

Obama face flags on eBay

Obama face flags - sold on eBay and spotted in Kokimo, IN

This Obama face flag turned up in Kokomo, IN. Photo from Atlas Shrugs site.

The first sign of Obama face flags turned up nearly two and a half years ago, on eBay. Some seller, whose name eBay does not record any longer, offered American flags with Barack H. Obama’s face instead of the fifty-star union, for under $5 US, plus shipping and handling. The Free Republic site highlighted the sale, which eBay has since stopped. Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugs site picked the story up, and then WorldNetDaily (now simply WND) took it from there. The WND article includes a screen capture of the eBay sale, before eBay discontinued it. It also has a cropped image from Atlas Shrugs, showing an Obama face flag flying from a flagpole near a house in Kokomo, IN.

Obama face flags violate the US Flag Code. Public law 344, section 4G clearly says:

The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.

Never before has any US flag appeared for sale having on it the likeness of a sitting US President (or man holding that office), or any other politician.

The Obama face flags story died then. eBay stopped the sale of such flags, and no one reported any further sightings.

Until today.

An Obama face flag on a Democratic office building

Today, The Daily Commercial (Leesburg, FL) reported that another of the Obama face flags turned up, flying from a flagpole next to the office of the Lake County Democratic Party. The flagpole carried a traditional US flag, plus an Obama face flag flying beneath it.

Jim Bradford, a veteran living in Leesburg, noticed the flag over the last weekend. He photographed it and sent pictures to his friends and to several veterans’ groups. Then fellow veteran Don Van Beck confronted Lake County Democratic Chairwoman Nancy Hurlbert (no relation to this correspondent) directly.

The chairwoman admitted that the Obama face flag had flown for two months, and then said:

We were given this flag as a gift. We are proud of our president, we’re proud of the United States, and we felt it was time to display that.

If her story is correct, then no one told her that Obama face flags are as illegal as they are unprecedented. Van Beck offered to take the flag down at once, to spare her the effort. In reply, she said,

No, this is private property. You’re not allowed to touch anything. I’ll call the police.

Van Beck then dared her to call the police to defend flying a defaced flag. She demurred, and said that she would check the Flag Code out for herself. Van Beck also offered her a white-on-black POW/MIA flag to fly in place of the Obama face flag. Later, Chairwoman Hurlbert admitted that the defaced flag was not according to code, and took it down. (See also here, here, and here.)

Obama face flags in perspective

This is arguably the worst thing that anyone has done to an American flag. Burning the flag does at least have one good reason, according to the Flag Code: to dispose of an old, worn-out flag. Deliberately substituting a man’s face for the stars redesigns the flag to honor, not the United States of America, but the owner of the face. No sitting President has ever demanded, or gotten, such a favor.

Worse yet, the Obama face flag of Leesburg, Florida is not the first Obama face flag. And it won’t be the last. Note carefully what Chairwoman Hurlbert said to Don Van Beck: “We [received] this flag as a gift.” A gift from whom? From the same person who sold Obama face flags on eBay two and a half years ago, before eBay caught him and stopped the sale? From a customer of that person?

Even more stunning is Chairwoman Hurlbert’s attitude. For two months she flew that Obama face flag underneath the regular US flag, in front of her headquarters, and never checked the Flag Code to see whether what she was doing might be wrong. Either that, or she did not care what the Flag Code said, until Don Van Beck, Jim Bradford, et al. let her know, in no uncertain terms, that they did care, whether she cared or not.

(As an aside: Ms. Hulbert might not see the irony when she defends the concept “private property.” She is “proud” of a “President” who has signed on to an agenda that calls on governments to abolish private property.)

But once again, the Obama face flags themselves are the worst problem. A recent poll, using “robo-calling,” found that most respondents thought that Barack H. Obama is a Muslim, not a Christian as he claims. Considering that many of Obama’s policies violate Sharia law, in spirit if not in letter (like forcing employers to pay for oral contraceptive regimen for their female employees), Obama is far more likely to be an “Obamist,” building a personality cult based on himself. Obama face flags are consistent with such a cult, whether Obama himself, or someone other than he, is building it.

Presidents of the United States do not have US flags sporting their faces in place of the union. This “President” now does. That is the real harm of the Obama face flags.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

12 Responses to Obama face flags explode in controversy

  1. lincolnman61 says:

    Actually, Abraham Lincoln put his face on the American flag during his campaign for President in 1860. Here’s a picture of one of his campaign posters: http://imgur.com/yQ1JK

    And here’s some information about the odd spelling, if you’re curious: http://history1800s.about.com/od/abrahamlincoln/ig/Lincoln-s-1860-Campaign/Lincoln-Campaign-Flag.htm

    So saying that no president has ever had their face on a flag is not accurate.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      That might predate the Flag Code. Electioneering usage of the flag was far more extensive than the law allows today. For example, I’ve seen photographs from the Warren Harding campaign, of the flag draped on a stage rail. Today the accepted stage decoration is tricolored bunting, with blue, white, and red stripes, in top-to-bottom order.

      Even so, that’s a campaign prop. This Obama face flag is clearly different in character and spirit.

  2. rpeh says:

    So what?

    Freedom of expression. First amendment. You don’t like it? Tough.

    Mountains out of molehills again, Terry. I’d hate to see the state of your lawn.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Don’t go making assumptions about properties of which no known on-line photograph is available.

      We deal here with more than a violation of the Flag Code. We deal here with a very disturbing sign of mass delusionary neurosis, if not psychosis. (I dislike the term hysteria, which suggests that this mass delusion is somehow peculiar to women. Trust me. It isn’t.)

  3. Fergus Mason says:

    Do I really have to point out that this is not, in fact, an American flag?

    I think the fact that only Free Republic, WND and Atlas Juggs bothered with this story shows how insignificant it really is.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      That’s where you’re wrong. It’s an American flag in every particular but the one that started all the trouble.

      And I thought you said that you did not care for that man.

      By the way: consider yourself on very strict moderation.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        I could make a flag that was a German flag in every particular except it had a green central stripe instead of a red one. It wouldn’t be a German flag. Equally, this object here is not an American flag because an American flag has a blue field with white stars in it. I doubt that it does violate the flag code for that very reason; the code refers to defacing a proper American flag, which this is not. Whether I care for Obama or not is irrelevant here.

  4. DinsdaleP says:

    Not much of a controversy, let alone an “explosive” one.

    Someone receives a tacky flag as gift, likes it, and starts flying it underneath an actual American flag on their property.

    After some time, its noticed by someone who’s offended by it, and after some testy exchanges she realizes it violates the flag code, and takes it down voluntarily.

    No trespassing on pivate property or police intervention required.

    It’s nit the job of Obama or any president to police the nation for ridiculous things done using his image, of denounce them when they occur. There are enough real problems out there to focus on.

    Anyway, feel free to express your outrage as is your right. I agree the flag was tacky and stupid, but hardly worth getting worked up over. For that matter, doesn’t the official Conservapedia logo violate the Flag Code as well? Ironic if it does, but nothing demanding outrage.

  5. Now, if there ever was a reason to burn the American flag, it is, with this one.

  6. JT says:

    If it was only Obama, then I could understand the hoo-hah. However, I have two pictures from Tea Party rallies showing altered American flags.

    Now, I’m not saying that just because one does it, the other should, but there is that little story involving eyes, logs and dust.

    http://www.picpaste.com/Tea_Party_Flags.jpg

  7. tomtom1981 says:

    Please report on stories that matter. I often appreciate CNV’s coverage on stories regarding shady political associates, illegal lobbying connections, violations of the constitution, etc. that the mainstream media won’t cover. This story, however, is baseless, distracting, and counterproductive (to the conservative cause). As others have pointed out, making custom flags in the likeness of the American flag is common practice among citizens across the political spectrum – hence, this seems to be a non-issue. With all of Obama’s broken promises and shady practices, it becomes distracting to report on a non-story like this and take attention away from real problems concerning religious liberty, the economy, gas prices, and the list goes one…

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