Nebraska State Sen. Ernie Chambers is taking criticism for calling the American flag a “rag” and comparing it to the Nazi swastika.
Chambers (I) made the comments Tuesday as he spoke out against a state bill that would update civics requirements for students.
“I don’t come here for this rag every day, and it’s a rag. That’s all it is to me,” Chambers said in reference to the flag. “When you show a way to persuade Jews to sanctify and worship the swastika, when you show me that I’ll come up here and stand while you all hypocritically pretend that rag is something that it definitely is not.”
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Fellow state Sen. Tom Brewer (R) had an emotional response to Chambers’ remarks as he introduced a different bill regarding military recruiters, sharing what the flag means to veterans and military families.
“I think I speak for most of us that have worn the uniform, it rips our heart out to hear someone say that they refer to the flag as a rag,” Brewer said. “Because for those of us that have brought home those that we’ve lost, it’s hard to ever refer to the flag as a rag because you have to fold it and you have to get it to the parents, and that’s awful hard to do.”
The lawmaker who introduced the civics bill, state Sen. Julie Slama, also criticized Chambers.
“Sen. Chambers’ comments not only degrade a symbol of ultimate sacrifice for our nation, but they also minimize the horrors and millions of lives lost in the Holocaust,” Slama said.
Chambers, 81, is the longest-serving state senator, representing an area of Omaha since 1971. He made national headlines in 2007 for filing a lawsuit against God over natural disasters.
In 2015, Chambers drew criticism from colleagues for a comment in which he compared police officers to ISIS.
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