LAMB OF GOD singer Randy Blythe says that the Confederate flag shouldn't be flying over government buildings because it is "offensive to people."
The Confederate flag's symbolism is the subject of an emotional debate in the South in the aftermath of the massacre of nine blacks by a white gunman in a Charleston, South Carolina church last month.
White supremacist and suspected killer Dylann Roof had been pictured holding the Confederate flag before he allegedly carried out the murders.
While some people see the flag as a divisive symbol of the South's proslavery legacy, supporters insist the flag is a honorable symbol of regional pride, a mark of respect for Southern soldiers who died in the American Civil War.
During an appearance on the "Metal Injection Livecast", Blythe weighed in on the Confederate flag controversy, saying: "Most of the people waving that fucking flag don't know what that flag is. That is the flag of the army of Northern Virginia; it is not the flag of the Confederacy. It is a military unit flag, okay?"
He continued: "Now, here is my thoughts… Number one: I am so glad it got taken down from South Carolina's state building. And I'm probably gonna get shot when I'm down in Charleston next time, or something, but I don't give a fuck. These are taxpayers' dollars maintaining this, paying for the people that raise that flag up. This is not a Sons Of The Confederacy building; this is your state Capitol. C'mon! Their money pays for you to run that flag up, you know what I mean? Let's be realistic. That being said, at the same time, and this is something I learned from my father, who is a liberal man, a highly intelligent man, a very moral man, I don't believe in censorship in America. I believe that anyone should be able to fly the swastika, right? I think it's fucking despicable. I fucking despise that. I'm obviously anti-racist, anti-fascist, have been punk rock oi-oi, whatever, you know? But you have that right. Whoever they want, they have the right to display that flag, you know what I mean? I don't think half the people know what it means. It's a military unit flag. I don't think they know what it means, but they have that right. Even the fucking lowest of the low, the 'God Hates Fags' people [Westboro Baptist Church], they have the right to be idiots. We all have that right here in America. Because this is a… Believe it or not, some people say it's not… I've been to some places that are not free societies… This is relatively free society. And the minute we start clamping down just because we don't like something like that, if it's not directly hurting someone else, that opens all sorts of doors, man."
Blythe added: "I think [the flag] definitely should be taken down from the government buildings, and I'm glad of that… I think it's really good that that flag is down, and I think if some people are gonna wave it and all this other stuff, they need to realize what it symbolizes to other people. I think it's simple-minded to equate it with a Nazi flag. I think it's simple-minded because, in fact, a lot of people in the South do look at it as a symbol of their heritage. I have relatives buried in graveyards who were Confederate soldiers, and the local Daughters Of The Confederacy, or whatever, will put little Confederate flags out. I live in Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy. They don't equate it with hate. But publicly displaying it and all that stuff, man, it's offensive to people. Just use some fucking common sense."