Speeding past his flag pole I caught a glimpse of blue and white cloth hanging below the Stars and Stripes. It was the right blue for University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, aka Carolina, but I didn't spot the familiar logo.
As I drove my brain registered a second possibility. Was it the flag of Israel?
Why here and why now? Surry County doesn't have enough Jewish men for the quorum required for public worship. According to MyJewishLearning.com there have to be ten men (or women) over the age of thirteen. "Only in a group of ten or more is there sufficient sanctity to recite certain public prayers."
I doubt my neighbor is a new convert boasting his holiness. Given current events, I think he has gone to extraordinary measures to publicly side with the state of Israel.
More commonly people with strong opinions write letters to the editor, or to their elected officials. Bumper stickers proclaim a driver's persuasion. And of course, the long-dead Confederacy's Stars and Bars do flutter in some local yards. But sporting a foreign power's
standard is rare outside of a diplomat's embassy.
While I thought Afghanistan was justified in killing Taliban terrorists, but I didn't hang their flag out my window.
And I've never heard that Americans hung the Union Jack under the American flag before we entered the fighting in World War II.
My neighbor's identification with a country 6,000 miles from here is probably tied to the Christian Zionism movement, which to over-simplify, believes that war in the Middle East will usher in Jesus' second coming. They also believe that a promise in Genesis still holds that those who bless Abraham (and his descendants) will be blessed by God.
My reading tells me that many non-Christian Israelis think it suspicious that American Christians are aligning themselves with Israel. This is logical given America's track record of discrimination against American Jews. And then there is the sorry story of the many who were denied safety in the US after fleeing the Nazi's pogroms in Europe.
If I were Israeli, I'd think it strange that a small town farmer wanted to fly my flag.
I do too.