Burning National Flag in America Unlawful: Fact Check

Image about Burning National Flag in America Unlawful, Punishable
Burning National Flag in America Unlawful, Punishable


JAMES ‘MAD-DOG’ MATTIS on Burning National Flag:
Forget Jail ; If you burn the American Flag You’ll spend two years in the Military!

I promise you, You’ll be cured of the Desire to Burn a flag ever again.

You’ll Be Waving It,
Saluting It, Or
You’ll Be Lying Under It

Image about Burning National Flag in America Unlawful, Punishable

Fact Check:

A picture message doing rounds online claims burning national flag in America is unlawful and punishable. It mentions a ‘quote’ of James Mattis saying if you burn the American flag, you’ll have to spend two years in the Military. Then it says you will be cured of the desire to burn a flag ever again and learn to respect it. No, the claims as such are not true.

About James Mattis

James Norman Mattis is a veteran US general and former Defense Secretary with nicknames “Chaos,” “Warrior Monk” and “Mad Dog”. After meeting him in November 2016 as a considerate for Secretary of Defense, Donald Trump praised him as General James “Mad Dog” Mattis.

Image about Burning National Flag in America Unlawful, Punishable

About Burning American National Flag

There are no credible reports suggesting James Mattis saying – you will have to spend two years in the military if you burn the American flag. In fact, messages very similar to it appeared as memes on some websites (image above). Moreover, similar image and quote appeared in a January 2017 Facebook post of ‘Right-Winged Birds of Pray’ – mentioning it is not an official one from the legendary Marine James Mattis.

Screenshot of the picture message on Facebook page Right-Winged Birds of Pray
Screenshot of the picture message on Facebook page Right-Winged Birds of Pray

The United States Flag Code establishes advisory rules for display and care of their national flag. But as of this writing, there are no enforced laws to punish people in case of failure to comply. In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Eichman case that the prohibition of burning the U.S. flag conflicts with the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and is therefore unconstitutional. If a person burns a flag to express his freedom of speech without creating any type of hazard to public, it is legal. You can read more about the history of flag burning and flag desecration laws in the U.S here.

In June 2019, President Donald Trump tweeted about proposal of an amendment for strong ban on burning American flag.

About Burning Indian National Flag

The picture message about James ‘Mad-Dog’ Mattis quote became popular after Gautam Gambhir shared it on Twitter. The former Cricketer and BJP Member of Parliament shared an image of the ‘quote’ in early September 2019. He suggested implementation of the ‘strict rule’ in India also.

Nonetheless, as explained above, burning American flag as such is not unlawful in United States. On the other hand, the Flag Code of India has a strict compliance under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. It prohibits the desecration of or insult to the country’s national symbols, including the National Flag, the Constitution, the National Anthem and Map of India including contempt of Indian Constitution.

Whoever in any public place or in any other place within public view burns, mutilates, defaces, defiles, disfigures, destroys, tramples upon or otherwise shows disrespect to or brings into contempt (whether by words, either spoken or written, or by acts) the Indian National Flag or the Constitution of India or any part thereof, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

Be it America, India or any other country, national flag is symbolic representation of a nation. So, citizens are obliged to respect it as a matter of pride.

Hoax or Fact:


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