The other day I was in the boys’ clothing section, looking for rubber boots. I found black ones – with a skull and cross bones on them. Navy blue ones – with skulls and cross bones on them. Red ones, same thing. Next store, same thing. Eventually I found a normal pair, but in my treks through these sections, I saw t-shirts, pants, hats and pajamas with pirate motiefs in addition to the boots. And not a British navy logo in sight.

I realize that in recent years, Disney, with other media moguls, has popularized pirates, bringing them into pop culture full force. But I did not realize that parents were so ignorant of or hardened to history and current issues that they would dress their children in a symbol that has been feared and hated for centuries, creating a market for such clothing.

Pirates aren’t cute. They’re not funny. They’re not entertaining. Just ask Jessica Buchanan. Or Michael Scott Moore. Or Paul and Rachel Chandler. Or Blackbeard’s 13 wives. Or John Callis’ victims. Or any other person who has known an actual pirate. Pirates shouldn’t conjure up thoughts of movie theaters, popcorn, or cute kids with eye patches. To think “pirates” should be to think drunkenness, looting, theft, kidnapping, rape, murder, and slavery. These are the activities associated with the Jolly Roger.

Through history, right to the present day, piracy is a force of evil in the world. The skull and crossbones is about as cute and friendly as the Nazi Swastika. Pirates are the sea-going equivalent of Taliban terrorists. They are, in the vernacular, bad guys. Really bad guys. The good guys (read: British Navy, U.S. Navy, etc.) fight them. Throughout history right up to today – this actual day – armed forces have risked their lives to protect civilians from pirates and the chaos and fear which they create.

In short, unless they hear and receive the gospel, pirates will hear and receive God’s judgement on their violently wicked lives (Matthew 25:41). And next time you’re looking for a shirt for your son, ask the sales rep if they have any with a Navy SEAL crest – maybe we can create a market for clothing that represents freedom and justice.