I have not made it a secret that some of the stuff the Imperial Shrine does is a bit poorly thought out, in my estimation. However, I think they ended up on the right side of this issue.
Imperial has decreed that the Confederate Battle Flag is not to be displayed in connection with any Shrine activities. Before we get into a heated debate about what the flag means, just remember that it is a symbol, and that by nature symbols do not have fixed meanings. However, your symbol of Southern pride and heritage has been used for years by racist nitwits to promote hatred and murder. Look at the KKK – they use that flag too. Maybe it is unfair for me to paint them all as pro-murder nitwits, because I am sure some are not, but there you go. Pro-murder nitwits.
So yes, I get that it is your heritage. However, when some people see it, they think the Klan might be coming for them. It is not that far removed from a burning cross or a noose in a tree.
Special Order No. 4
Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by § 206.5(a) (1) and (5) of the bylaws of Shriners International, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG PROHIBITION
No Noble (in his capacity as a member of Shriners International) or club, unit, organization of Nobles or affiliated or appendant organizations of Shriners International, shall display any Confederate Battle Flag or any image that reasonably can be construed as a reference to the Confederate Battle Flag in Shrine or Civic Parades, Temple activities or in Shrine or non-Shrine public appearances.
No Noble (in his capacity as a member of Shriners International) or club, unit, organization of Nobles or affiliated or appendant organizations of Shriners International, shall participate in non-Shrine public appearances in which a Confederate Battle Flag or any image that reasonably can be construed as a reference to the Confederate Battle Flag is expected to be displayed by the organizer, promoter or by those in control of the premises or facility of the non-Shrine event.
Jerry G. Gantt, Imperial Potentate
ATTEST: Jack H. Jones, Imperial Recorder