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Where did the connection between flags and identity come from?

By Mark Brodie
Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2024 - 11:19am

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Tim Agne/KJZZ
Burly’s Flags and Off-Road Products sells a wide variety of flags from a tent in Quartzsite.

An Arizona Senate committee later Wednesday morning is expected to consider a bill that would require HOAs to allow homeowners to fly the “An Appeal to Heaven” flag. State law already requires HOA’s to allow residents to fly certain flags, including the Gadsden flag, service branch flags, first responder flags, the Arizona state flag and any historic version of the American flag, among others.

The “An Appeal to Heaven” flag features a pine tree against a white backdrop, with the words “An Appeal to Heaven”  above the tree. The flag dates back to the American Revolution, but in recent years has been adopted as a symbol of Christian nationalism.

But how do flags that were designed for one cause come to be associated with another?

To find out, The Show spoke with Leslie Hahner, a professor at Baylor University, where she studies the rhetoric of symbols and symbolism. The conversation started with the role flags generally play in terms of people identifying who they are and what they stand for.

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