Your Article in re Mr. John Riddle’s Flag

>The former flag of Georgia, it combines the state’s seal with the Confederate Stars and Bars.<
The flag that Mr. Riddle flies combines the Georgia seal with the Confederate Battle Flag (also called “The Southern Cross” or “St. Andrew’s Cross.”) The current Georgia State Flag is the Stars & Bars with the State seal inside the circle of stars.
>Mark Potok, a national expert on hate crime, said the overt display of the Confederate Stars and Bars, or St. Christopher’s Cross<
For a more accurate statement, change “national” to “self-proclaimed,” “Christopher’s” to “Andrew’s,” and omit the “overt” (since any display is by its nature overt – “covert display” is a contradiction in terms).
>The Southern Poverty Law Center has recorded cross-burnings, effigies of Obama, and one incident of children on an Idaho school bus chanting ‘Assassinate Obama,'<
And Canadian news recorded a large meteor over Saskatchewan. And the Nepalese teen known as Buddha Boy has returned to the jungle. And a 19-year-old college student did away with himself in Miami. And the Vatican forgave John Lennon for a sacrilegious remark he made in 1966. I wonder what the SPLC will make of all that?
>Neighbors said they’re most worried that the flag, easily visible from a handful of homes, casts a shadow of prejudice over the area.<
PREJUDICE: Unreasonable predilection for or objection against something; OR an opinion or leaning adverse to anything without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge; OR an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics; OR an opinion or judgment formed beforehand or without due examination.
BIGOTRY: Obstinate and unreasoning attachment to one’s own belief and opinions with intolerance of beliefs opposed to them.
IGNORANCE: A lack of knowledge, either in general or of a particular point.

[all definitions from Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged (Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.; 1981)]  
From the news article, there is the distinct possibility – perhaps probability – that Mr. Riddle’s neighbors have formed their opinion adverse to the old Georgia Flag before sufficient knowledge and without due examination; and that they show obstinate and unreasoning attachment to their belief and opinion (that the Confederate Battle Flag is a symbol of hatred) with intolerance of the opposite belief (that the Confederate Battle Flag is not a symbol of hatred).
Those who believe that the Confederate Battle Flag is a symbol of hatred definitely lack knowledge:
The flag that we know as the Confederate Battle Flag was used by many (but by no means all) Confederate military units during the War for Southern Independence (1861-1865). It was their flag, and they alone had the right to interpret its meaning.
When the War was over, the Confederate soldiers became Confederate veterans. They formed an organization known as the United Confederate Veterans. The Confederate Battle Flag was still their Flag, and they alone had the right to interpret its meaning.
In 1896, since many of the Confederate veterans were aged, infirm, and dying off, the Sons of Confederate Veterans was formed as the successor organization to the United Confederate Veterans. The legacy and authority of the United Confederate Veterans was transferred to them over the next ten years. This transfer of power culminated in a speech given 25 April 1906  at New Orleans, Louisiana by Stephen Dill Lee, Confederate lieutenant-general, and commander-in-chief of the United Confederate Veterans:
“To you, Sons of Confederate Veterans, we will commit the vindication of the cause for which we fought. To your strength will be given the defense of the Confederate soldier’s good name, the guardianship of his history, the emulation of his virtues, the perpetuation of those principles which he loved and which you love also, and those ideals which made him glorious and which you also cherish. Are you also ready to die for your country? Is your life worthy to be remembered along with theirs? Do you choose for yourself this greatness of soul?
Not in the clamor of the crowded street,
Not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng,
But in ourselves are triumph and defeat.”
Since 25 April 1906, therefore, the Confederate Battle Flag has been the flag of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. They alone have the right to interpret its meaning. They have interpreted its meaning, and explained (repeatedly!) that meaning – and it is not hatred, nor is it bigotry.
The Confederate Battle Flag is not the flag of the Kluxers and other malcontents of their ilk. They do not have the right to interpret its meaning.
The Confederate Battle Flag is not the flag of the NAACP or the SPLC. They do not have the right to interpret its meaning.
The Confederate Battle Flag is not your personal flag, or the personal flag of Mr. Riddle’s neighbors. You and they do not have the right to interpret its meaning. Your comments and theirs, therefore, are out of order.
More to the point: A glance at will show that the Kluxers – undeniably a hate-group – use the thirteen-stripe United States Flag (a/k/a Old Glory) far more widely than they do the Confederate Battle Flag.
Now then: Are those who jeer at the Confederate Battle Flag going to be logically consistent and jeer at the United States Flag as well – or are they going to continue operating by a double standard by jeering at the Confederate Battle Flag and honoring the United States Flag?
>"It’s like he’s picking on a certain race of people and I don’t think that’s what America is about," Byl said.<
And it’s like Helen Byl is picking on a certain group of people (those who honor the Confederate Battle Flag). Is that what America is all about?
Clifton Palmer McLendon
Gilmer, Texas