George Washington’s first flag.

Don’t Mistake Democrats’ War On America’s Heritage As Just A Clash Over A Pine Tree Flag

The controversy surrounding historical symbols such as the ‘Appeal to Heaven’ flag reflects a deeper conflict over the very soul of the nation.

By Adam Johnston – May 30, 2024


One effective way to sever a people’s ties to their country’s past is to redefine and replace their nation’s history and symbols.

The latest target of leftist iconoclasts is a Revolutionary War-era flag emblazoned with an unassuming pine tree and the words “An Appeal to Heaven,” which was seen flying outside Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s New Jersey vacation home.

Predictably, these four words have caused left-wing media outlets, such as Slate, to panic as any appeal to God by government officials instantly sends leftists into hysterics about the rising threat of “Christian nationalism.”

According to Slate writer Molly Olmstead, the Pine Tree Flag has been divorced from its historical roots and now serves “as a symbol of the spiritual fight to push Christianity deeper into society and especially into politics.”

“The idea that the symbol is pulled from U.S. history could grant the flag a veneer of democratic legitimacy,” Olmstead continues, “but no one should confuse it for a contemporary democratic symbol. It’s a resurrected emblem, with a uniquely theocratic twist.”

In reality, Democrats are using the religious associations of the “Appeal to Heaven” flag as a flimsy pretext to further erode American history and silence dissent from conservatives — as other flags rooted in the American Revolution are now viewed as “symbols of the far-right.”

Conveniently for Democrats, due to the presence of historical flags like the Pine Tree Flag at the Jan. 6 demonstrations, anyone who pays tribute to America’s historical legacy can now be painted as a potential “insurrectionist.”

Of course, social justice symbols, such as the “pride” and BLM flags, which cultivate their own religious devotion, receive no such concern or pushback from the nation’s left-wing chattering class. These symbols not only are elevated to positions of prominence at the White House but receive special legal protections. For example, people have been charged with felonies for intentionally doing burnouts on painted LGBT “pride” crosswalks.

Attacks on Symbols of American Heritage Are Not New

In 2019, Nike planned to release a sneaker featuring the Betsy Ross flag, an early American flag with 13 stars in a circle, to commemorate the Fourth of July. However, Colin Kaepernick, a former NFL quarterback and Nike spokesman, lambasted the company about the flag’s symbolism, arguing that the historic flag should not be celebrated as it was a symbol of slavery and had also been co-opted by white nationalist groups.

Sadly, Nike capitulated to Kaepernick’s demands and pulled the sneaker.

But not even the contemporary American flag is safe from attack. Once honored and sworn allegiance to, Old Glory is routinely deemed a “symbol of hatred” and is increasingly viewed as a banner of oppression by a growing number of young Americans.

Besides the targeting of flags, additional examples of cultural replacement include the desecration and removal of historical statues, the attempt to reinterpret our nation’s birth from 1776 to 1619, the subversion of national holidays such as Thanksgiving for “Indigenous Peoples Day,” or even a new federal law commemorating Juneteenth as a “Second Independence Day,” which coincides with the elevation of a separate “black national anthem.”

Taken in totality, asserting that America’s heritage is under assault would be a colossal understatement.

Washington prior to engagement during the Revolutionary War.

Wokeness as Religion

Opposition to the “Appeal to Heaven” flag isn’t about the left advocating for a religiously neutral America. Instead, their pushback is designed to undermine any competing moral system, particularly Christianity, to reshape America according to their preferred totalitarian ideology of identity politics and Cultural Marxism.

Similar to the ideology behind communism, wokeness opposes religion (though mainly just Christianity) while effectively being a religion itself. Unfortunately for us, while the United States was able to defeat the ideological Iron Curtain abroad, it has fallen under the rainbow shroud at home.

Let’s not forget, it was only a few months ago that Transgender Day of Visibility and Easter Sunday occurred on the same day. And while leftists point out that their hallowed day of trans-visibility just so happened to coincide with Christianity’s most sacred day this year, official State Department proclamations and rainbow-illuminated government landmarks across the country beginning in June will demonstrate just how far the country — and yes, those in positions of power in our government — have moved away from publicly worshiping God in favor of their own religion.

The controversy surrounding historical symbols such as the “Appeal to Heaven” flag reflects a deeper conflict over the very soul of the nation, pitting a leftist vision that seeks to rewrite American history against a conservative desire to preserve, celebrate, and build upon America’s heritage. Because America’s past remains politically up for grabs, the battle over its symbols will ultimately play a defining role in shaping its future. This is not merely a cultural skirmish but rather a war that must be won.

Adam Johnston is a contributor to The Federalist, whose work has been featured in The Blaze, WrongSpeak Publishing, and Man’s World Magazine. He is also the creator of, where he regularly writes about politics, history, philosophy, and technology. You can find him on X @ConquestTheory.

The Federalist