Dispute over flag protest erupts in Wisc. village

I think that desecrating a flag shows disrespect for the country. It is sinful to disrespect your country or leaders.

      Burning a flag is not clear in what you are saying.  You could be burning it to show disagreement with a new law or to show disagreement with your government or it could be showing hate for the country and those who live in it.  So a person is not making any clear statement.  Showing an anti-abortion poster is better than burning a flag.  People know what you are saying.

      However, there is freedom of speech.  How far should that freedom go?  Should people be able to say the n word in public.  I see this as basically equivalent to burning a flag.  

      It causes public disruption.  Most people don't like it.  It's an eyesore...

      It is a persons Property so should they be allowed to burn it?  

      Also, how should people be penalized? 

I don’t know if it should be illegal or not. I was in a disagreement with my brother. I started thinking about this after reading this article.


Flying a flag upside down is not the same as burning or desecrating the flag. It was wrong for the police to sieze the flag. Burning or trampling on the flag should be illegal.

***This is not an apologetics topic and does not belong on this forum.

Moved to Secular News.

Please review Choosing Your Forum Wisely** and follow those guidelines for future posts.

I think it’s a despicable act but I don’t think it (flag burning) should be illegal.

I agree, and would add that it is rather foolish for a businessman to do such a thing. In a town of 1000 people, in the Midwest, your restaurant will not fare well if you show repeated disrespect for the US flag.

I’m not so sure about that. Certainly doing so will offend a great many people, but the US courts have ruled that neo-Nazis could march in a predominantly Jewish suburb and that the Ku Klux Klan have a right to a road sign thanking them for cleaning the ditch along the highway. I think flag-burning is also a free speech issue.

This would be something hard to prove were flag burning illegal. It would be up to the prosecution to prove it was actually an American flag being burned and not something that merely resembled it.

What if someone burned something that had 43 stars and 11 stripes with white on the top and bottom?

This is NOT an American flag, despite the strong resemblance.

How about the Malaysian flag (I think). It has alternating red and white stripes, but the crescent moon and 7 pointedI will poi star on its canton.

How about a Liberian flag, which has only ONE star?

The Flag Code, a public law of the USA, forbids wearing the American flag as an item of apparell.

This would technically forbid flag lapel pins that figured so prominently in the last presidential campaign.

Flying the flag upside down is permitted in extreme distress–that is imminent danger to life and limb at the place it is so displayed.

But because it’s such a strong visual signal, it loses its effectiveness if used to simply mean “I don’t like this.”

That is my position as well.


In a country where we tout freedom of speech, of course it should be allowed.

The story in the linked article is mild compared to what Harry Reid said about the war in Iraq being lost. That is almost as unpatriotic as it gets yet i still maintain he had the freedom to say it. And obviously he hasn’t been mandatorily punished for it since he maintains his esteem in his high office to this day. So what’s the big deal over this person from Wisconsin flying an American flag upside-down?

He might not have met with such resistance if it was for more, shall we say, legitimate reasons. But to signal distress with the flag and go on a mantra about tyranny over a liquor license? Pure folly. That said, the man is right about one thing; what those policemen did was trespass, commit theft, and violate his right to free speech.

What those police officers did was unconstitutional. I hope they lose their jobs.

Wow, apparently none of the police officers involved ever served in the military. Flying the flag upside down is a distress/coercion signal. It was thought that the enemy would not know the proper orientation of the flag and thus the captive would be able to signal distress/duress.

The officers should be arrested for trespassing and theft.

Apparently the police acted on the advice of the Marinette County District Attorney.

The Village President confirms that Crivitz Village police removed the flag on July Fourth, under the Marinette County District Attorney’s advice. But no one from the Village would speak with NBC26. The Marinette County District attorney did not return a phone call.


Perhaps Mr. Crivitz’ intent was to signal distress, but he is failing to communicate that intention with many of the people who live in that area. Instead, he is offending them.

Right now there’s no flag on Congine’s property. He says someone vandalized the rope on the flagpole.

But he had been flying the flag union down. Before the Fourth of July parade, which would go past Congine’s property, the Crivitz Police Department took matters into its own hands. The police department says it received complaints about the flag, and tried to contact Congine. On the 4th, the police department took the flag down, returning it to Congine the next day.


I think the issue is confused because although flying a national flag upside down may be a signal of distress, it can also be interpreted as saying “down with this country.”

True, in many respects. A piece of material is purchased and then for some reason destroyed…what of a piece of chalk and then one uses that chalk to sketch a symbol on a house,or tree or sidewalk…an ancient pagan symbol later called a swastika? A flag turned upside down is a symbol of stress. The legion burns flags when they are too old for display purposes. A student is not permitted to wear a tee shirt illustrating a developing baby.re: anti-abortion agenda!I I used to illustrate just how far freedom goes…by holding a students fist right up to the edge of my nose…'see your freedom to do whatever extends right there,after that I must get involved" so a tricky question…freedom of speech does not allow one to scream fire in a crowded theatre when there is no fire…so for just reason limitations are posed on that amendment! Wearing a pro-MJackson tee shirt is to me a sick act for this character was a druggy,child molestor who performed provocative gyrations on stage,hardly an innocent little boy as the latest line goes…thats ok tho.in the hate crimes bill now before congress we may all be silenced for being Christians…have a nice summer,play in the sand…oh oh.now we are warned by our betters that too can be dangerous…and so everthing not forbidden is required …soon to come!

Technically, flying a US flag upside down is meaningless on land. It was a nautical symbol (not used anymore). Flying any national ensign upside down, or in any unusual way, was a nautical sign of distress. You could show distress at sea in any number of ways, this one simply one of them.

Today, the international sign of distress is a signal of almost anything in a group of 3. Three black flags for example, or three blasts of a whistle.

More information, here:

There is actually a federal law that dictates how the flag should be flown.

So flying the flag upside down, may violate the US flag code , but there are no stipulated penalties for violating the code. Confiscating the flag is probably uncalled for.

By the way, the proper way to dispose of a US flag is not specified in the Code. All it says is that it should be done with respect. Often, US flags are disposed of by burning.

Ohio law2917.31

Inducing panic.

(A) No person shall cause the evacuation of any public place, or otherwise cause serious public inconvenience or alarm, by doing any of the following:

(1) Initiating or circulating a report or warning of an alleged or impending fire, explosion, crime, or other catastrophe, knowing that such report or warning is false;

(2) Threatening to commit any offense of violence;

(3) Committing any offense, with reckless disregard of the likelihood that its commission will cause serious public inconvenience or alarm.
(B) Division (A)(1) of this section does not apply to any person conducting an authorized fire or emergency drill.

©(1) Whoever violates this section is guilty of inducing panic.

The law is on the officer’s side. The “business owner” would need to have the law overturned.

As for his liquor liscense - that was plain politics.

1/20/09 Board Meeting Minutes
Page 3
18) Class B Reserve Liquor & Fermented Malt Beverage License Application: VTC Tavern, LLC: (Whole)
Motion by Trustee Volk, seconded by Pres. Deschane, to issue a Class B Reserve Liquor & Fermented Malt Beverage license effective 1/20/09 through 6/30/09 to VTC Tavern, LLC, Vito Congine, Jr., Agent.

Roll call vote: Keller: No, Volk: Yes, Swanson: No, Rich Porfilio: No, Janis Porfilio: No, Kostuch: No. Motion failed
for lack of voting requirement.

Motion by Trustee Janis Porfilio, seconded by Trustee Rich Porfilio, to deny issuance of a Class B Reserve Liquor & Fermented Malt Beverage license to VTC Tavern, LLC, Vito Congine, Jr., Agent, due to current economic conditions and concerns within the community as to an additional licensed establishment, and to concerns regarding the location of the establishment.
Roll call vote: Keller: Yes, Volk: No, Swanson: Yes, Rich Porfilio: Yes, Janis Porfilio: Yes, Kostuch: Yes. Motion carried.


**Vito Coine SR (this jerk’s dad) owns a good-sized tavern elsewhere in town, and was among several tavern owners who spoke at the public hearing that there were enough taverns in town already (thanks dad).

The town apparently offered the younger Congine a beer/wine license (as opposed to a hard liquor license, which he was after), with an opportunity to review his establishment after six months. He didn’t want to go that route.

Vito Congine Jr. has a felony conviction on his record, which may have factored into the town’s decision not to extend a liquor permit in his direction, although there is no indication that was a reason in the town meeting minutes.


If his flag was ticking enough people off (especially during a massive gathering like a parade- shouting fire in a crowded theater) the officers are duty bound to uphold the peace. If upholding the peace involves the temporary seizure of $5.00 worth of property for a couple hours so be it.

It’s a flag. A physical object. The police shouldn’t have seized it. There shouldn’t be any laws to regulate what can be done to it. So many people make the flag into an idol…

The state law is not on the officers’ side(and if it were it would unconsitutional). What you highlight does not include expressions of opinion that make people mad. It includes acts such as screaming fire in a crowded theater(which is not opinion). The Supreme Court has ruled it is unconstitutional to supress speech based on the content of the opinion, thus it is legal to burn flags for example.

If his “expression” is disturbing the peace, especially if it can be construed that he is deliberately disturbing the peace, the law is on the side of law enforcement. If he wants the law changed he can go through the process.

In this case they were not “restricting” his speech based on its content, it was based on the effect it was having on the crowd.

It is this man’s Constitutional right to fly his flag upside down as sign of destress-- however I do not think that our founding fathers (or whoever wrote that ammendment) had not being approved for a liquor license in mind. :mad: To fly the flag as a sign of destress was implied for like plagues (e.i Spanish Flu, Influenza, Small Pox) and maritime distress.

This being said I feel the police in this case were both right and wrong. They were wrong to seize his property in this sense, but they were right that he was abusing the flag. But this is my opnion.

Also, isn’t burning the flag the only appropriate way to dispose of a damaged, aged or otherwise worn out flag?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.