Should Burning the Flag Be Illegal?

@kkthom3 (279)
United States
December 7, 2008 1:47pm CST
I know that in America one of our most cherished rights is the freedom of speech and being able to protest and speak our minds whenever we feel it is necessary, but is burning the american flag taking this too far? Some people believe that the right to burn the flag for demonstrational purposes is completely reasonable and within their rights as citizens of the United States, but I personally feel that that is taking it too far. I think when people want to burn the flag they are trying to demostrate their displeasure with something specific like the current president or a certain law, but the US flag is not a symbol of just one law or one politician. The United States flag represents everything that America stands for, including democracy, free speech, and the belief that all men are created equal. So when a person exercises their right to burn the flag they are burning a symbol of that same right to free speech. In my opinion, when a person burns the flag they are not just disrespecting and objecting to one small aspect of America, but they are disrespecting all of America and everything that it stands for. What do you think? Is burning the flag a right for American citizens or should it be illegal?
1 person likes this
14 responses
• India
8 Dec 08
Hi kkthom3, I think burning the flag of a country by their own citizens is complete disrespect and a shameful thing that the citizens should not practice at any cost.Their disappointment should not relate with the pride of the nation.I think that the individual countries also should come up with some laws to prevent this shameful incidents whose direct effect is on the health of the nation only.
• India
8 Dec 08
Though not an American, I am responding to this discussion with reference to any flag of any nation. Let me confess though, that when I first came to know about this ‘fight’ of Americans, I was taken aback…totally, completely. Some things in life should be sacred…they are the very foundations of civil society, of our very existence. Democracy, secularism, civil rights, fundamental rights, freedom, religion, language, all these keep changing with times, with influx of ideas and people and waves of activities on various issues. However, amongst all such turbulence and peace, one thing that remains constant is the land where one belongs to…one’s motherland. And a flag represents one motherland…nothing more nothing less. No matter what life throws at you, would you ever burn your mother’s picture in a moment of anger and frustration? The national flag is a symbol (picture) of your motherland, how can you ever burn it?
1 person likes this
• Philippines
8 Dec 08
I agree with darkjedi. I think the only time a flag should be burned is if it is too old or ragged to be used. No matter how much we try to justify whatever it is that we are fighting for, burning a flag (whether it be your own or someone else's) is totally unacceptable for me. A flag symbolizes its people and to burn it just to make a political point no matter how valid it may be is just wrong!
1 person likes this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
8 Dec 08
Most definately yes it should be illegal. But in this day and time when the government is trying to please all the people all the time so no one has to take responsibility for anything anymore, freedom of speech is often the "allowed" reason for burning the flag of our country. It should just be stated.. If you don't like what this country is doing for you - leave it! Go to another country and state your case....
1 person likes this
• Argentina
8 Dec 08
No, it shouldn't be illegal and let me explain why I think this way: The flag is just a symbol, it represents all the things you listed and probably more. But, it also represents all of those things individually. As for the burning of the flag, it doesn't necessarily represent hatred or disrespect for what it symbolizes. Let me use a practical example here. Lets say a group of gay people from California burn the flag in front of the supreme court building. They are protesting the recent ban to gay marriage. The burning of the flag would not be representing disrespect for the country, or to kids fighting in Iraq or whatnot. They are saying: "If this kind of bigotry is present in the supreme court, then America as we know it is doomed". There's a difference and it makes a lot of sense, don't you think? And there's a second reason to why it shouldn't be illegal: It would mean freedom of speech has its limits. It means it can be controlled. Once they do that, what's next? Ok, lets make it illegal to be outspoken if you disagree with the incredibly stupid laws we promoted. Then, they will say it's illegal to even say it in the privacy of your home. Then you'll have people thrown into jail because they disagree with the president. All of the sudden, your beautiful democracy has turned into a very nice dictatorship. You might think I'm blowing it out of proportion, but I'm not. Throw a snowball down a mountain and soon enough it'll be an avalanche. Look at Hitler if you want a good example of what I'm talking about. You have all the right in the world to feel mad if someone burns the flag, but the fact you disagree with it doesn't make it neither a wrong way of protest, or illegal. There's worse things in the world than a piece of cloth symbol being burned down. Rich
1 person likes this
@sponnala (30)
• United States
8 Dec 08
Burning the flag should be illegal by law. Some may argue its a form of protest.. but there are many other healthy ways such as rallies and interest groups to protest. burning the flag is rude and should be banned because everyone deserves respect and America hasn't committed that big of a crime where its flag shall be burnt. burning the flag is showing hatred like Hitler did in the Holocaust against the Jewish People..That is very wrong and therefore it should be illegal
1 person likes this
@Sheepie (3118)
• United States
7 Dec 08
Well, as wrong as it is, and as powerful and negative a message it shows, it's legal. I mean, if the people who are doing the burning are otherwise making the public feel threatened, or simply because they are burning something in public, they should be arrested, but communication is one thing the government should keep their hands off of, whether the opinion being represented is negative or positive. Now, say that something outrageous happened and many citizens of America wanted to overthrow the government completely. The government works for us, not the other way around. We're a democracy. I understand that burning the American flag is going to create a lot of attention for the group who is doing it, and probably for all the wrong reasons, but I don't think that would really be a reason to outlaw it. People get to make their own decisions.
1 person likes this
@irishidid (8539)
• United States
7 Dec 08
No, it should not be illegal and I'm stating this as it applies to free speech. People got upset when the supreme court made this decision but looking at it as a constitutional matter, they had no choice.
1 person likes this
• Japan
7 Feb 09
Well I think that freedom of speech has it`s limits. Those limits start when your right to free speech cause conflict with my rights. Should people be allowed to burn the flag? Well the flag is a symbol and over the years it has come to mean many things to many people. If a person wants to burn it go ahead. Now, for every action there is a reaction. So, the chance of burning an American Flag in America in public and not getting beat down is? Slim and none. So, if you want to burn go ahead but it@s going to cost you.
@jambi462 (4598)
• United States
8 Dec 08
Our flag is a piece of cloth and if someone were to set it aflame you would be willing to put them in jail for it. That's a bit ridiculous, I mean especially if this is the so called home of the free. Burning the flag should not be illegal, nothing should be done about it. Remember amendment one, I guess you should take it up with our founding fathers.
@agrant10 (1446)
• United States
8 Dec 08
This is a very good discussion. I have never really thought about this, however I feel the same way you do about this. There are other ways we can display feelings. As you stated the flag represents so much. This should be illegal to burn the U S flag in protest.
@zhangfzoe (432)
• China
8 Dec 08
I am not sure whether it is illegal to burn American flag. But I know it is illegal to burn Chinese flag. It demonstrates that you're doing something against the national law and showing your anger towards the country.
@becnh83 (806)
• Philippines
8 Dec 08
yes of course unless no one saw you burning it, you might be questioned about your patriotism....lol
@bunnybon7 (35948)
• Holiday, Florida
8 Dec 08
it absolutely should be illegal when you think of the many americans fighting and dieing for our and others freedom and rights