Georgia City Council Reverses Course, Votes to Remove Christian Flag from City Hall

Flag GeorgiaCOCHRAN, Ga. — The city council of a municipality in Georgia has decided to reverse its course regarding a Christian flag that it initially approved to fly outside of city hall, and has voted to remove the flag at the end of the week.

The city council in Cochran had voted 5-1 last month to allow the flag to stay—a white and blue flag with a red cross first created in 1897 to honor the Christian faith. The flag was meant to coincide with a Bible reading marathon from May 1-7 sponsored by the International Bible Reading Association, a private organization.

But the flag was taken down for a time by the city manager after the city attorney asserted that it could pose a legal issue.

“The city manager took the flag down because an attorney said we could have a problem,” Councilman Gary Ates told local radio station WMAZ.

However, between 75-100 area residents urged officials to restore the flag to its place.

“The people of Cochran came to a city council meeting and said, ‘Let’s put the flag back up’,” Ates explained.

Therefore, the flag was again flown outside of city hall.

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But group Americans United for Separation of Church and State claimed that it had received several complaints and sent a letter to the city to assert that the flag is unconstitutional. The organization is led by Barry Lynn, who is stated to be a licensed United Church of Christ minister.

“[D]isplay of the Latin cross aligns the city with religion generally—and Christianity in particular—in violation of the Establishment Clause requirement that the government stay neutral on questions of religion,” the letter asserted. “Please remove the Christian flag from city hall and any other government buildings and refrain from flying it in the future.”

While it is not known how much influence the group had in the city’s decision, officials further analyzed its decision to restore the flag and decided to remove it after all. It voted 4-1 on April 28 to take the flag down—at the conclusion of the Bible reading marathon.

“After reviewing further imput from the community, detailed written legal opinions from our city attorney and a second legal opinion from a constitutional lawyer, impact on the city fiscal resources and the environment in which the original decision to exclusively fly the Christian flag was made, the city council voted … to rescind the motion to exclusively fly the Christian flag 24/7 from the flagpole at city hall and remove the flag effective May 8th,” a statement posted on the city website reads.

“The only flags that wil be flown from the flagpole at city hall will be the U.S. and state flags,” it continues.

The Georgia state Constitution, first formally written in 1777—just one year after the founding of America—acknowledged Christianity and required its leaders to be Christians.

“[W]e the people of Georgia, relying upon the protection and guidance of almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution,” it reads. “The representatives shall be chosen out of the residents in each county, who shall have resided at least twelve months in this state … and they shall be of the Protestant religion, and of the age of twenty-one years…”


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  • LeftCoast

    Another one bites the dust.

    • Paul Hiett

      Would you be ok if a Jewish flag were flown? What about an Islamic flag? Perhaps a Toaist flag?

      Or, is it that you only want a Christian flag being flown over our government buildings?

      • LeftCoast

        Truth? only an American flag. But, according to the Georgia Constitution, they are to be Christians. So, if this is in the paperwork, then they must fly it. I would like to see our Red, White and Blue only. We can fly our Christian flags at church with no issues. There is a place for everything and we must respect that.

        • Paul Hiett

          And that is exactly what I would agree with as well.

          • pastoredsmith

            No, Paul. You want every shred of Christianity banned from the public in America. Not only do you believe the lies of atheism, you tell lies, too. But, why should you tell the truth? You have no basis for morality.

          • Paul Hiett

            Here is what I believe. Everyone should have the right to worship as they want, as long as that worship does not infringe upon the rights of others. Feel free to accuse me of lying if you want, but that’s simply your opinion and obviously not rooted in anything factual. I’d suggest you should apologize for incorrectly labeling me as a liar, but we both know you would never raise yourself up to the level of your savior.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Did you seriously just tell Paul what he believes?

          • Paul Hiett

            It’s a growing trend, I’ve noticed.

          • FoJC_Forever

            Paul Hiett tells us what he believes, and pastoredsmith’s comment is spot on.

          • Paul Hiett

            Since my comment below contradicts his claim, I’d say he lied.

          • Robin

            Now that is the funniest thing I have ever heard. You are a true comic!

      • pastoredsmith

        No problem. This is America. Land of FREEDOM.

  • pastoredsmith

    So, America falls to the likes of Barry Linn and the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Another victory for the bullies. NEWS FLASH: Bullies never win long term. God is still on the throne even if America’s freedoms are falling one at a time.

    • Paul Hiett

      If only you could appreciate the irony of that statement.

      • pastoredsmith

        Hello again, Paul. You seem to spend more time on this site than most of the paid staff do. Are you assigned here, or is this just your “pet peeve?” Either way, your atheist arguments are lame at best, completely ignorant at the heart. You really should give up hating God so much. Accept Christ while you have the opportunity. Otherwise, you will stand before Him accountable for the lies you lived and spread around.

        • Paul Hiett

          If I had a nickel for every “accept Christ” post I’ve received, I’d be earning 20% somewhere on a beach in the Caribbean.

          Anyways, do you really want me to list the bullying from Christians that has gone on in this country over the last hundred years or so?

          • Coach

            sure, list them.

          • Paul Hiett

            Let’s see…atheists can’t hold office, gays can’t marry, we must swear on Bibles in court, modified the Pledge of Allegiance in the 50’s to include God, added it to our money, passing laws left and right to allow discrimination against minority groups, constantly telling everyone that they’re going to hell, while demanding everyone else respect their beliefs only.

            This is just the tip of the iceberg.

          • UmustBKiddinMe

            Oh, and don’t forget Blue Laws – stores not allowed to be open because Sunday was “God’s” day. No liquor sales on Sundays. Only Christians can hold elected office.

        • weasel1886

          Why don’t you answer questions or provide some examples

    • beaucejim

      Your news flash is right on …. bullies never win long term which is why all of this Christian bullying that has been going on for decades is now losing!

      • pastoredsmith

        Christians are BEING BULLIED, beaucejim. So, do you join Paul as another trolling atheist on this Christian news website?

        • Paul Hiett

          Can you give an actual example of how a Christian was bullied, and did not start with the Christian doing the bullying?

          • FoJC_Forever

            You don’t want examples. If you did, you would already see them.

          • Paul Hiett

            Would you care to post such an example?

          • James Von Borcke

            That would be a ‘no’… The fact is, it’s not Christians that are being bullied, but the Christian Right that has lost its strangle-hold on our society’s neck and is throwing a temper tantrum over it.

        • UmustBKiddinMe

          In what way are Christians being “bullied”?

          Do you believe that not having laws that control how other people live being based solely upon the Christian belief system is “bullying”?

          Do you believe that not allowing the government, which represents all people of all faiths as well as no faith, no longer favoring and promoting the Christian religion is “bullying”?

          Do you believe that holding Christians accountable to the law is “bullying”?

          All this talk about “Christians being bullied” is nothing more than some Christians being upset that they are not allowed to impose their will on others and are no longer able to use the government to promote the Christian faith.

          Just like a petulant child who doesn’t want to share.

        • FoJC_Forever

          Paul is part of a posse.

        • FoJC_Forever

          Be aware, there are also hackers who use these boards to track people down.

    • UmustBKiddinMe

      “Bullies never win long term”

      So I’m assuming you are referring to people who want to control and limit the freedoms, liberties, and equality of others in order to ensure compliance with those people’s religious beliefs, right?

  • UmustBKiddinMe

    Well no surprise there. It just amazes me that there are still folks out there who believe a government entity should be promoting religion – regardless of what type.

  • dawnrosanne

    The city council was wrong to take the Christian flag down. A letter from some anti-Christ group should not have caused the city to reverse it’s original decision. So sad.

    • UmustBKiddinMe

      Why in the world do you think it appropriate for a governmental body, that represents all the people of all faiths, as well as no faith, to fly a Christian flag?

    • Ambulance Chaser

      Even if that letter gives an accurate explanation as to why it’s unconstitutional to fly the flag?

    • weasel1886

      This flag flying is nothing more than a political stunt in order to sucker Christians into believing the council cares about them

  • Coach

    Let them take the flag down. God’s going to strip this nation of things equated with Christianity and the Bible, that only give an appearance of Christianity. There were people upset years back when Obama stood in front of a picture of Jesus as well, but that’s nothing to defend, Jesus never posed for a picture and along with the flag, it simply attempts to associate idolatry with godliness. God’s more offended by people dragging His name through the mud (Exodus 20:77 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.) and claim Christianity, when they haven’t surrender their lives to Christ and just want to associate with a faith they don’t truly possess.
    No need to worry as though this is some sort of tragedy that a flag is being removed 1 John 2:7-8 7 Brethren,[a] I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning.[b] 8 Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.

    • Paul Hiett

      And what about all of us citizens, some of us whom have served in the military, that don’t believe what you believe? Are we to just submit to your religion for the sole reason that you think you’re right?

      • Coach

    • FoJC_Forever

      True, the flag is necessarily indicative of the practice and belief of Christianity. The real issue is that people are lost in Darkness and continue to complain about small things which do not force them to become Christians, since it is impossible for one to be forced to become one anyway.

  • Reason2012

    Let them put up an islamic flag – the same people will cheer their courage and “diversity”.

    • weasel1886

      I doubt it.

    • Bobby Mae

      Only in your mind do “the same people love Muslims.”

      • Reason2012

        Not at all. Google islam in school and read up how kids are indoctrinated with islam with greater frequency in our schools and how there’s no outcry about it by those who attack Christianity in school.

        • Paul Hiett

          Well, yeah, except that’s not actually happening.

        • weasel1886

          You should work harder at making stuff up

          • Reason2012

            Google school islam and read up on how it’s taught out of textbooks, kids are sent on trips to dress up like muslims and pray to allah.

          • weasel1886

            I have and there was no such events

          • Reason2012

            google islam taught in school

          • weasel1886

            I saw where there is teaching ABOUT Islam but not Isalm and I saw nothing about students being forced to pray or worship Allah.
            I learned about Islam in middle school in 1968. It didn’t cause me become one

          • Reason2012

            They’re teaching islam, not just “about” it. google islam taught in school trip mosque. They are dressed up in islamic garb, brought to mosques, and even made to pray.

            So you have no problem with people being taught the beliefs of Christianity and salvation through Christ, and taught to all kids in public schools?

          • Bobby Mae

            Can you please prove that in your next reply to me instead of another “look it up” ? (which thus far as not matched your claims. )

          • weasel1886

            Never happened

          • Bobby Mae

            Exactly… The people here equate “Muslims exist” with “STOP TURNING MY KID MUSLIM”

        • FoJC_Forever

          Exactly.

        • Bobby Mae

          Define indoctrinated. I know it’s one of the right’s favorite words.

          • Reason2012

            “to teach (someone) to fully accept the ideas, opinions, and beliefs of a particular group and to not consider other ideas”

            Are they allowed to teach Christianity? No.
            Are the allowed to have a field trip to a christian church, dressed up as nun’s and priests and pray to God? No. But they’re allowed to have such trips to mosques.
            One viewpoint allowed others not allowed.
            Hope this helps.

          • Bobby Mae

            We’re all indoctrinated… And who went to visit mosques?

          • Reason2012

            Google muslim school

          • Bobby Mae

            Are Christians not indoctrinated? Lol

          • Reason2012

            Try making someone believe something they don’t want to.

            Nevertheless, to publicly censor Christianity and only publicly teach contrary ideas is indoctrination.

            Christians do not mind all beliefs being taught – don’t have to fear from false beliefs. By sharp contrast those who hate Christ and Christianity want to censor it. Huge difference.

            If Christianity was taught, wouldn’t care that others are taught with it – as it stands Christianity is censored and other beliefs passed off as ok.

          • Bobby Mae

            I highly doubt that you wouldn’t care if Islam was being taught in schools even if christianity was..

          • Reason2012

            It’s far better than islam being taught in public schools (it is) while Christianity is censoring (it is). That’s at least one more step in the right direction.

            I find it fascinating you do not care that islam IS being taught in public schools.

          • Bobby Mae

            Islam isn’t being taught in schools .

          • Reason2012

            google islam taught public schools and pick one of dozens of examples of it being taught in public schools. google islam public school trip mosque and read up on how they’re dressing up as muslims and taking trips to mosques.

          • Bobby Mae

            My kids just went on a field trip to one of the California missions. Whats your point? Teaching kids that other religions exist is not indoctrinating them to become Muslims lol

          • Reason2012

            Great… then you won’t mind when they’re brought to churches and they are made to pray and learn about the gospel of Christ.

          • Bobby Mae

            Correct, my panties don’t get in a bunch.

          • Bobby Mae

            So you’re fine with children at public schools going to churches, just not temples or mosques right?

          • James Von Borcke

            “Great… then you won’t mind when they’re brought to churches and they are made to pray and learn about the gospel of Christ.”

            Christian symbolism, imagery and concepts are everyone in this country. Television, movies, music, art, architecture, literature, radio… Heck, I can find a church within three blocks of my house no matter which direction I walk, but I have to go several miles to find a mosque or temple, about ten miles to the nearest Hindu shrine, and nearly thirty miles to the closest pagan sanctuary.

            And having lived in nine states and having visited nearly every one, I’ve yet to find a place that was ~not~ like that.

            The overall effect is that most children by the teen years, even if raised in non-religious homes, know what Christianity is and what most Christians believe.

            Exposing children to the reality of Muslim Americans, working class families living peacefully with the same freedoms and liberties we enjoy, obeying the law and paying their taxes, worshiping in mosques that display incredible works of art and culture, when the most common imagery of Muslims that Americans are familiar with is that of terrorists who hate America and destroy everything in their path, is not a bad thing.

            Nor is it indoctrination.

            Rather, it’s part of the wondrously unique American experience.

          • Reason2012

            Yes, this is a Christian Nation, so of course you’ll find such things everywhere. It’s not everyone else’s fault you’re offended by Him.

            So because everyone “knows” about Christ, that means we must censor such Christian field trips but promote muslim field trips? Completely false.

            And no, most people have no clue about Christ beyond Him being on a cross and having no clue why. Your attempt to censor Him only furthers that ignorance and furthers how many are going to end up facing God’s judgment having never received His forgiveness.

            I find it fascinating you claim to be a Christian but support the censorship of Chistianity while promoting muslim field trips.

          • James Von Borcke

            “It’s not everyone else’s fault you’re offended by Him.”

            When did I say that I was offended by Jesus? Are you under the impression that I’m not a Christian?

            “So because everyone “knows” about Christ, that means we must censor such Christian field trips but promote muslim field trips?”

            I’m saying that there is already a cultural familiarity with Christianity from which such field trips are unnecessary.

            “And no, most people have no clue about Christ beyond Him being on a cross and having no clue why.”

            Because a priesthood, jealous over their authority over the Jewish people, feared those teachings which allowed the people to pursue a spiritual path without the aid of intermediaries.

            “Your attempt to censor Him only furthers that ignorance and furthers how
            many are going to end up facing God’s judgment having never received
            His forgiveness.”

            Acknowledging our cultural familiarity with Christianity is not censoring anything.

            “I find it fascinating you claim to be a Christian but support the censorship of Chistianity while promoting muslim field trips.”

            I promote peace, which can only come about through love, which can only come about through understanding.

            Just like the Gospels teach. Perhaps you should re-read them.

          • Reason2012

            // When did I say that I was offended by Jesus?

            Then why go out of your way to make sure He’s being censored more than He already is?

            // Are you under the impression that I’m not a Christian?

            Are Christians the ones going around demanding Christ be censored except where others give permission? No.

            // I’m saying that there is already a cultural familiarity with Christianity from which such field trips are unnecessary.

            So again, because you feel everyone knows about Christ, let’s censor Christianity and instead promote muslim mosque field trips, dressing up as muslims, praying to allah and more. Sorry, people’s perceived konwledge of God is irrelevant to the fact you promote one while seeming intent on censoring Christ. You’re the first “Christian” I’ve seen spending much time trying to censor Christ.

            // Because a priesthood, jealous over their authority over the Jewish people, feared those teachings which allowed the people to pursue a spiritual path without the aid of intermediaries.

            And today those who hate Christ seek to censor Christ, knowledge of Christ. Not sure why you seek the same.

            // Acknowledging our cultural familiarity with Christianity is not censoring anything.

            You are claiming muslim field trips to mosques are ok but give reasons why it’s ok to not have any to Christian churches. You are in FACT seeking censorship.

            // I promote peace, which can only come about through love, which can only come about through understanding.

            It’s not promoting piece to actively seek to censor Christianity and Christ while promoting muslim field trips to mosques where they learn to pray to allah – that’s being anti-Christ regardless of what words you speak to claim othewise.

            // Just like the Gospels teach. Perhaps you should re-read them.

            The gospel say “Learn about Islam, pray to allah, but ignore preaching the gospel and censor knowledge of Christ, repentance and salvation through Christ? Where is that in the Bible?

          • James Von Borcke

            “Then why go out of your way to make sure He’s being censored more than He already is?”

            I’m not. I simply want the Constitution upheld.

            “Are Christians the ones going around demanding Christ be censored except where others give permission? No.”

            There are a good number of Christians that enjoy the protections the Constitution affords them; I’m just one of them.

            “So again, because you feel everyone knows about Christ, let’s censor Christianity and instead promote [Muslim] mosque field trips, dressing up as [Muslims}, praying to [Allah] and more.”

            To learn about them, yes, sure, why not? One field trip isn’t going to outweigh the life-long presence of Christianity.

            “Sorry, people’s perceived [knowledge] of God is irrelevant to the fact you promote one while seeming intent on censoring Christ. You’re the first “Christian” I’ve seen spending much time trying to censor Christ.”

            I’m not censoring Christ, and in case you forgot, the leader of Americans United is a minister, so there’s at least two. The Danbury Baptists, of Jefferson’s famous letter describing the function of the First Amendment, agreed, so there’s a cluster more right there. And Jefferson himself was another one.

            Christians have stood by this protection since the nation was founded. It’s only the Religious Right that insist it must be otherwise, painfully aware that these protections were put in place to protect ~us~ from ~them~.

            “And today those who hate Christ seek to censor Christ, knowledge of Christ. Not sure why you seek the same.”

            I don’t. But don’t let that get in the way of bearing false witness against me.

            “You are claiming [Muslim] field trips to mosques are ok but give reasons why it’s ok to not have any to Christian churches. You are in FACT seeking censorship.”

            I’m stating that many children know ~only~ of Christianity and it increases their knowledge of America and the world to learn about others who are not Christians, especially when the only images of those non-Christians are of violent antagonists when there are literally millions of Muslim Americans who are their honest, hard working, taxing paying neighbors.

            You have yet to explain why this is a bad thing.

            “It’s not promoting piece to actively seek to censor Christianity and Christ while promoting [Muslim] field trips to mosques where they learn to pray to [Allah] – that’s being anti-Christ regardless of what words you speak to claim [otherwise].”

            I don’t believe it to be anti-Christ to learn about your neighbors. Nor is it anti-American to do so, either.

            “The gospel say “Learn about Islam, pray to [Allah], but ignore preaching the gospel and censor knowledge of Christ, repentance and salvation through Christ? Where is that in the Bible?”

            No, the Gospels say, (Mark 12:30-31) “…Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second [most important commandment] is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

            It’s easier to love people when you understand them regardless of whether or not you agree with them.

            What I see from the Christian Right is a perversion of the second… As it bids us to love our neighbors as ourselves, one must wonder about those who hate their neighbors. Do you hate your neighbors because you hate yourself? Because that’s the only way that I can imagine to explain your behavior in regards to Christ’s teaching.

            Well, there’s always the possibility that you don’t care what Christ taught… That would certainly explain quite a bit.

          • Reason2012

            // “Then why go out of your way to make sure He’s being censored more than He already is?”

            I’m not. I simply want the Constitution upheld.

            So assuming you’re right about the Constitution, you’d rather Jesus and the gospel be censored and we should obey man instead of God?

            And secondly, Congress shall pass no law prohibiting the free exercise of religious expression. You demand it’s illegal for religious expression in some situations – that’s violating the Constitution, not upholding it.

          • James Von Borcke

            “So assuming you’re right about the Constitution…”

            No reason to assume; everyone from Jefferson, Madison and Adams (essentially, ~all~ of our Founding Fathers) all the way up to our modern day SCOTUS affirms that I am, so I am. Or, more accurately, they don’t say that I am right, merely that I agree with them that this is the ‘law of the land’ and the reasons for it.

            “…you’d rather Jesus and the gospel be censored and we should obey man instead of God?”

            I believe, as Jefferson, Madison, Adams, et al, that it is for every individual to face the question of a god, gods or no gods, on their own terms, without the interference of government.

            “You demand it’s illegal for religious expression in some situations – that’s violating the Constitution, not upholding it.”

            I ~agree~ with Jefferson, Madison, Adams and SCOTUS that the government is not here to serve ~you~ in promoting your religion. You have the absolute right to promote your religion ~on your own~, without interference or assistance of the government, just the same as I do. Y’know, that whole equality thing.

            Put simply: If your religion has merit, it will not need the help (or the ~appearance~ of approval) of government to spread itself; if it does not have merit, then it does not deserve the help of government to begin with.

            The ‘persecution’ that you perceive is simply the realization that you ~do not~ have the help of the government, nor the appearance of approval, and you ~believe~ that is a sign of not having merit (which the government is completely and utterly silent on). I’d wager, however, that this perception is merely the result of realizing that those who do not share your faith (from ‘unreal’ Christians such as myself to working class Muslims and everyone else) are living their lives peacefully and happily without your faith, and being good neighbors despite their myriad of differing beliefs, and that’s giving you cause to question the merit of your faith all on its own.

            Personally, I think you should stop trying to bury your doubts by copying and pasting scripture for me (as I have my own Bible, after all) and actually think about it on your own. But what do I know? I’m just an ‘unreal’ Christian.

  • Reason2012

    The government continues to cave to atheism as the State Religion and all other beliefs be silenced, theirs winning by default.

    • The Skeptical Chymist

      So let me understand…

      If a government flies an Islamic flag, that would be an unconstitutional favoritism toward Islam, right?
      If a government flies a Hindu flag, that would be an unconstitutional favoritism toward Hinduism, right?
      If a government flies a Buddhist flag, that would be an unconstitutional favoritism toward Buddhism, right?

      but if a government flies a Christian flag, that is fine, right?

      and if a government flies no flag, that’s promotion of atheism, right?

      That makes no sense at all. Flying no flag, just like praying no prayers, is not a promotion of atheism. It is being neutral in matters of religion, which avoids making anyone a second class citizen.

      • Reason2012

        Not talking about just flying a flag: talking about the utter censorship of belief of Christianity except where given permission, the flag being another such case.

        When they censor atheism while Christianity is allowed to be talked about and promoted, you’ll finally seem to understand

        • The Skeptical Chymist

          Christianity is talked about all the time, in many places. On this site, in churches, on the radio, on TV, on cable channels, on many, many internet sites. It is only required that the government not promote Christianity, or any other set of religious beliefs (or non-belief). Christianity is certainly not being censored by the government. If you think that, you have a persecution complex. Christians are only being asked to follow the same rules that everyone else has to follow.

          If an atheist flag were designed, and the government chose to fly that flag over the city hall, courthouse, or wherever, that would be unconstitutional as well. That would be unconstitutional promotion of atheism, at the expense of religion. It would make all believers second-class citizens – exactly the way flying a Christian flag makes everyone who is not a Christian a second class citizen.

          You seem to think that not flying a Christian flag is promotion of atheism. It is not. It is simply asking Christians to follow the same rules as everyone else. The government should not fly a flag that promotes any particular religion, and it should not fly a flag that promotes atheism, either.

          • Reason2012

            Because we live in a Christian Nation, so of course on a case by case basis it will be chosen to be flown.

            Sorry, flawed logic to “censor Christianity everywhere except where you give permission” otherwise it’s “promoting Christianity”

            Censoring all beliefs in God is promoting atheism. Just like censoring all beliefs of atheism would be promoting belief in God.

          • The Skeptical Chymist

            The only sense in which the United States is a Christian nation is in the sense that the majority of its citizens are Christians. The U.S. was explicitly set up in the Constitution as a secular nation – a nation without an official religion, and one in which citizens of all religions (and of no religion) are treated equally. That’s explicitly what Madison intended when he wrote the Constitution, and is why there is no mention of Christianity in it. And by the way, it is not a case of “censoring Christianity everywhere except where I give permission”; it is government staying neutral in matters of religion, as required by the Constitution and as interpreted by the Supreme Court.

            When principals start reading “The Atheist Manifesto” over intercoms, and Christians have to call the ACLU or the FFRF to prevent it; when our coins have the motto “There is no God” on them; when States have sentences in their constitutions prohibiting Christians from holding office; and when city governments fly atheist flags and prohibit Christian flags, then I’ll listen to your complaints that Christians are being persecuted. In the meantime, you just want to maintain the special rights that have been unconstitutionally given to Christians for a long time.

          • Reason2012

            No, the USA was set up for people to be free to worship, which means the intent was a Christian nation – not an atheist nation that you imply it is.

            There are a great many references to God in the documents of the founding fathers. And the First Amendment, the very first amendment, makes sure we have the very right you’re intent on censoring except where you give permission.

            When schools start having trips to Christian churches and people are then given option to pray in the name of Christ, your fake facade will come down and suddenly you’ll be singing a different tune.

          • The Skeptical Chymist

            Here, let me fix it for you:

            You say: “No, the USA was set up for people to be free to worship, which means the intent was a Christian nation – not an atheist nation that you imply it is.”

            Here’s the corrected version: “No, the USA was set up for people to be free to worship or not, as they choose, which means the intent was a secular nation – not a Christian nation that you imply it is.”

            You have a big problem with the establishment clause, which as now interpreted requires government to remain neutral in matters of religion. It is as simple as that. Government must remain neutral in matters of religion. The city council members can fly the Christian flag all they want over their private property – over their homes, over their churches. Why don’t they do that and be content? Their intent is to use the apparatus of government to promote their religion. That is un-American and unconstitutional – a violation of the establishment clause.

            And again, this is not me, personally, granting permission or not. This is the Constitution. The issue has been decided, and the city folded on this issue, because they knew they would lose and they would have to pay the legal fees and court costs for disputing it.

          • Reason2012

            And you end up proving that belief in God was FULLY supported by the Constitution and founding fathers.

            It’s not “remaining neutral” to censor Christianity everywhere except where people like you give permission.

            The Constitution does not say “you can only express your religious beliefs where others give you permission” that you false imply it does.

          • The Skeptical Chymist

            OK, I give up. There is no reasoning with Reason2012. So long, best wishes for your health and happiness.

          • James Von Borcke

            “It’s not “remaining neutral” to censor Christianity everywhere except where people like you give permission.”

            It is when ~every~ belief ~and~ disbelief are equally barred. That’s not a matter of anyone ‘giving permission’, but of everyone following the same rules.

            This flag was flown in correspondence with a Bible reading marathon, that means its ~intent~ was to promote Christianity, thereby promoting an establishment of religion. And everyone involved knew what they were doing was illegal and unconstitutional.

          • Reason2012

            False. Just because they choose to a Christian prayer does not mean the rest were barred. And when others on a case by case basis choose to pray a different prayer, you can now see they were not barred and your claim is disingenuous.

            This is America – they have the liberty to choose to fly a Christian flag, or not fly one. Not what you would turn it into, which is censoring all flags, all prayers, all nativity displays, all crosses on graves, and so on except where you give permission.

            No, only those who hate God seem to claim to “know” it’s unconstitutional. First Amendment: Government shall pass no laws PROHIBITING the free exercise of religious expression.

            Which part of that do you not understand in your attempt to claim religious expression is illegal?

            Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion and where was a law passed to force them do put up the flag or force them to pray? Nowhere.

            So which part of the First Amendment do you not understand?

          • James Von Borcke

            “This is America – they have the liberty to choose to fly a Christian flag, or not fly one.”

            Yes… They have the ~personal~ liberty to do so. A government building, however, is not a ~personal~ building, and it is ~not~ for any singular religious group to claim.

            “No, only those who hate God seem to claim to “know” it’s unconstitutional.”

            I love God, and I love this nation. But thank you for your display of vanity and pride.

            “Which part of that do you not understand in your attempt to claim religious expression is illegal?”

            The part which applies here is the one about ‘respecting the establishment of religion”. I’m not saying that expressions of faith are illegal; I’m saying that using the ~government~ to express that faith are unconstitutional. We have page after page of documents written by the Founding Fathers stating this is so, and no amount of yelling and frothing from you is going to change that, nor will a group of councilmen who set themselves up to play the victims.

            “So which part of the First Amendment do you not understand?”

            Being a veteran of the armed forces, I think I’m more qualified to explain the First Amendment then some keyboard warrior who is in the throws of a Persecution Complex.

          • Reason2012

            Please point out where the First Amendment talks about a building. It doesn’t.

            It’s vanity and pride to point out the First Amendment protects us from anti-Christ beliefs? How so?

            No, they did not pass a law respecting the establishment of religion, which is the critical part you completely ignore.

            Was any law passed here forcing them to put up a Christian flag?

            No.

            So the law was not violated and they did not pass any law respecting the establishment of religion.

            Having several family member veterans in the armed forces, they will tell you the same thing I am, rather than ad hominem which is all you can fall back on.

            Take care.

          • James Von Borcke

            “Please point out where the First Amendment talks about a building. It doesn’t.”

            It was a government building, therefore it was an espousal of religion.

            “It’s vanity and pride to point out the First Amendment protects us from anti-Christ beliefs? How so?”

            It’s vanity and pride to pronounce me as hating God when you don’t know the first thing about my relationship with God. It also puts you on a pedestal to proclaim that you love God more than I.

            “No, they did not pass a law respecting the establishment of religion, which is the critical part you completely ignore.”

            They voted to put it up. And they did so ~knowing~ it violates the First Amendment. Y’know, we’ve had court cases about this already. And nearly every time, the Religious Right has lost.

            “Was any law passed here forcing them to put up a Christian flag?”

            They, as makers of law and having sworn to uphold the Constitution, knew what they were doing.

            “So the law was not violated and they did not pass any law respecting the establishment of religion.”

            Again, this has gone to court already. No amount of grade school kid semantics will change it.

            “Having several family member veterans in the armed forces, they will tell you the same thing I am, rather than ad hominem which is all you can fall back on.”

            Being a veteran myself, I don’t care what they’d say. I fought to defend their narrow views as well as my own, but I also fought to defend the Constitution, which trumps their (and your) opinions and pride.

          • Reason2012

            Please cite where it says in the First Amendment: if it’s in a building, the government is espousing it and that is a violation

            Secondly, was any law passed here to force them to do so? No. So the First Amendment was not violated.

            Making it “illegal” for Christian prayers IS a violation of the First Amendment.

            Seems ad hominem is all you can fall back on, which is childish. Please stay on topic.

          • James Von Borcke

            “Please cite where it says in the First Amendment: if it’s in a building, the government is espousing it and that is a violation”

            This is the same semantics game my kid in Jr High plays when he’s asking permission to do something when he really knows he’s going to go an do something naughty… Please tell me you aren’t in Jr High?

            “Secondly, was any law passed here to force them to do so? No. So the First Amendment was not violated.”

            When a government building has a national, state, county and/or city flag flying, it says, “this is a building for this government.” When a government building is flying a Christian flag as well, it says, “this is a building for this Christian government.” We are not a Christian government. That said, claiming a government building in the name of Christianity isn’t just unconstitutional, it’s treasonous.

            “Making it “illegal” for Christian prayers IS a violation of the First Amendment.”

            And when is this happening? Or are you talking about the times when it was ruled that ~exclusively~ using Christian prayers in government buildings violated the rights of non-Christians?

            Answer me this: How can a nation hold that all people are created equal when it also suggests that God likes ~some~ of them better than others?

            “Seems ad hominem is all you can fall back on, which is childish. Please stay on topic”

            According to you, I’m worthy of never-ending torture in that fiery pit y’all have wet dreams about… That’s about the ultimate in ad hominem, don’t ya think?

          • James Von Borcke

            “No, the USA was set up for people to be free to worship, which means the intent was a Christian nation…”

            Thomas Jefferson: “It does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

            This is the architect of Religious Liberty talking; you should probably listen.

          • Reason2012

            Where did I say it injures me for my neighbor to say there’s another god? They do so all the time and I’m fine with it.

            A Pastor wrote a letter to Jefferson expressing his fears that Jefferson would in some way restrict religious freedoms. In response to these fears, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter back to indicate that he would in no way restrict the freedom of religious expression because he saw a wall of separation between church and state.

            You should probably listen to him on that, instead of giving lip service to be a Christian but with your actions attack anyone praying in gatherings except when you give permission, which contradicts your claims.

          • James Von Borcke

            “You should probably listen to him on that…”

            I did. It is ~you~ that is supporting the actions of individuals who ~chose~ to violate that wall.

            As a Christian, I ~depend~ on my religious liberty. Not just from the government, but from ~you~. That’s the part ~you~ do not like, and that’s too bad. Get over it already.

          • Reason2012

            Again, where did I say it injures me for my neighbor to say there’s another god? So you admit you were lying?

            The only ones violationg that wall are people like you that claim you WILL prohibit free exercise of religious expression. Jefferson says he would “in no way restrict the freedom of religious expression” – you may have read it, but you not only ignore it, you do the exact opposite of what Jefferson daid.

            A Christian preaches the gospel and the truth of Christ to every creature – A Chrisitan that instead seeks to censor religious expression of Christ needs a reality check as something’s very wrong with that picture.

            You claim to depend on religious liberty, and yet here you are promoting the censorship of Christ and Christianity except where you give permission. Your actions make your words false.

            “Too bad”?
            “Get over it”?

            Try “grow up”.

          • James Von Borcke

            “Again, where did I say it injures me for my neighbor to say there’s another god? So you admit you were lying?”

            I didn’t say that you did, so I’m not lying. But your continued insistence that I said you did is a lie.

            “The only ones [violating] that wall are people like you that claim you WILL prohibit free exercise of religious expression. Jefferson says he would “in no way restrict the freedom of religious expression” – you may have read it, but you not only ignore it, you do the exact opposite of what Jefferson [said].”

            And no one’s individual right to expression was censored; it was the use of a government office to promote that expression that was unconstitutional.

            “A Christian preaches the gospel and the truth of Christ to every creature – A [Christian] that instead seeks to censor religious expression of Christ needs a reality check as something’s very wrong with that picture.”

            You have your right to express your beliefs; you do not have the right to use the government to express those beliefs as being sanctioned and approved by said government.

            “You claim to depend on religious liberty, and yet here you are promoting the censorship of Christ and Christianity except where you give permission. Your actions make your words false.”

            It’s not me that’s giving and not giving permission; it’s the Constitution of the United States of America that is. The same rules that bar you from using the government this way also bar me from doing so as well.

            That’s called ‘equality’…

            “Try “grow up”.”

            I did, quite some time ago… During the time when people like you called me a n****r-lover for believing in racial equality. Y’know, the Religious Right.

          • Reason2012

            Then why quote to something that only addresses “it does not injure me for my neighbor to say there’s another god” and then say I should probably listen?

            No laws were passed here forcing them to put up a flag, so there’s no violation.

            You insist it’s illegal for such an expression, which WOULD be a violation of the Constitution.

            It’s that simple. Take care.

        • James Von Borcke

          “talking about the utter censorship of belief of Christianity except where given permission, the flag being another such case.”

          Being a Christian, the only time I’ve ever been censored is at sites like this, when I point to the Gospel teachings which conflict with the political positions of the Religious Right and then the posts get deleted for no reason.

          • Reason2012

            If you claim there is no censorship of Christianity, you must be reading a liberal news source that keeps people ignorant of it.

          • James Von Borcke

            “If you claim there is no censorship of Christianity, you must be reading a liberal news source that keeps people ignorant of it.”

            No, I’m just a Christian who’s never been censored. Reading this article, for instance, I don’t see censorship, but I do see the Religious Right doing its best to encroach upon the government in a manner that violates the Constitution. If that’s what you take as censorship, then I’ve got news for you…

            As a Christian, I do ~not~ want the government used to promote my faith in any regard. It is ~not~ the government’s job to do this, nor is the government here for individual religions to use it for that purpose. After all, while those who flew this flag claim to Christianity, I am confident that their Christianity is not ~my~ Christianity (especially as my branch has an 1800 year long history of promoting secularism, pre-dating even Catholicism).

            So while I’m ~supposed~ to see this as censorship against my faith, I instead see it as ~protecting~ my faith from those who would use it for their own political agenda to espouse a version of Christianity I don’t believe in. Nor am I the only Christian to believe this, given that the Executive Director of Americans United is himself a minister.

            If I woke up tomorrow and found that flag flying over my town hall, I’d call them as well. Just as I’d call them if I found a flag representing Islam, Judaism, Hindi, Shinto or even Atheism. None of them belong there, and for good reason.

          • Reason2012

            Hello. So there is no censorship of Christianity just because YOU have never been censored? Seriously?

            No, there’s censorship going on, and here you are promoting another case of it against others.

            The government is NOT promoting a faith when individuals on a case by case basis might choose or not choose to have a prayer. That’s liberty and freedom. You instead advocate the censorship of Christianity expression except where you give your permission, which is not freedom at all.

            Sorry you do not get the right to demand government censor Christian prayers just because you do not like them doing so.

          • James Von Borcke

            “Sorry you do not get the right to demand government censor Christian prayers just because you do not like them doing so.”

            As a Christian, I follow Christ’s instructions regarding when, where and how to pray. Perhaps you’ve forgotten what those instructions are?

          • Reason2012

            So you admit you were wrong that just because you have never been censored, then that does not mean there’s no censoring going on?

          • James Von Borcke

            “So you admit you were wrong that just because you have never been
            censored, then that does not mean there’s no censoring going on?”

            No, I stand by my observation that the Religious Right has fabricated a Persecution Narrative to rile up the voting base and for fund raising purposes.

            I’m sure they thank you for your obedience.

          • Reason2012

            So you’re claiming there’s NO censoring yet here you are trying to censor this expression and it WAS censored. You’re being disingenuous to claim there’s no censorship anywhere. I hardly expected you to be honest, but others will see, so for that I thank you. Since you’ve made it clear you have no intent on being honest here, I thank you for at least showing others this is the case.
            Take care.

          • James Von Borcke

            “So you’re claiming there’s NO censoring yet here you are trying to censor this expression and it WAS censored.”

            My position, as stated by the Founding Fathers and then affirmed by SCOTUS ~over and over again~, is that there is no use of government buildings to promote religion. This limitation is ~not~ censorship. Christians have been, and remain, free to promote their religion through their own devices, just like ~every other religion~ held by a citizen.

            The only dishonesty seen here is your continued attempts to facilitate your Persecution Narrative despite the fact that your religion is not being treated any differently than any other religion. Equality is not persecution except to those who perceive themselves superior to everyone else.

  • http://www.google.com/ Jan van Niekerk

    “Americans United for Separation of Church and State claimed that it had received several complaints.” Sure. But what if they lied? What if nobody complained? Who was it that complained? Do the anonymous complainants have anything to do with Cochran Georgia? (I certainly don’t, but neither did I ask them to take their flag down.) Who was being harmed by this flag?

    • FoJC_Forever

      Good questions. They probably won’t be addressed by the concerned parties, simply because they’re afraid of it being a legal issue.

    • James Von Borcke

      “Who was being harmed by this flag?”

      America, for one. For the other, my faith (Christianity) which places no claim upon government as this flag falsely represented.

      At least these folks had the good sense to make sure the US flag was up top… I’d have called it treason it wasn’t.

    • BarkingDawg

      Everyone is being harmed by the disregard of the freedoms of the US Constitution that the flag represents.

      If they want to fly it, let someone buy a private plot across the street, put up their own private flagpole and let it fly.

      just keep it off public land.

  • FoJC_Forever

    The Establishment Clause doesn’t mean the government remains neutral on matters of religion. If they were neutral, there would be no mention of religion in the Constitution. The Clause was written to keep the government from controlling religious belief and practice. Removing a city’s right to fly a flag, based on it being religious, is doing the very thing the Establishment Clause was written to stop.

    The atheists have been fooling people for decades. They are seeking to establish a government which controls religious belief and practice, dictating when and where it can be practiced and expressed.

    • Paul Hiett

      Where in the constitution does it establish a religion?

      Furthermore, aren’t you constantly pushing to establish laws that support only your choice of a religion?

      • FoJC_Forever

        Your first question is proof of your nature, a troll who doesn’t thoroughly read just reacts.

        No, I’m not pushing laws to make people become Christians, since that is not possible.

        Christianity isn’t just a religion, it is the following of Jesus (the) Christ into Eternal Life. All those who reject Jesus, reject Life.

        • Paul Hiett

          Think it’s possible to discuss something without insulting?

          • FoJC_Forever

            Again, troll, I’ll feed your need for attention.

            I’m not insulting. I’m simply stating a fact about you.

          • Paul Hiett

            Never mind then.

        • James Von Borcke

          “Christianity isn’t just a religion, it is the following of Jesus (the) Christ into Eternal Life”

          Yes, but following him how? That is, do you love your neighbor as you love yourself? Do you not throw the first stone? Do you judge the sins of others when it’s clearly stated that such judgment is God’s to make? Do you agree with Jesus when he says the Good Samaritan (a heretic by 1st Century Jewish standards) will gain eternal life simply by being a good neighbor regardless of being a Samaritan?

          There’s a lot of talk about being Christians coming from the Religious Right, but rarely anything that reflects the ministry of Jesus.

          • FoJC_Forever

            ‘Throwing the first stone’ is a popular reference for those who embrace Sin and don’t want it pointed out to them. What Jesus was referring to when He made the comment was the execution of Judgement according to the Law given through Moses to the children of Israel. At the time Jesus spoke these words, the Law was the binding Covenant between God and mankind, and, according to it, adultery was punishable by stoning. This is no longer the case, since Jesus, the Word of God, changed the Covenant and replaced it with a new one. So, no, I don’t put sinners to death by stoning. Stoning isn’t a part of the Covenant people who know and love Jesus (the) Christ have with God through Him.

            ‘Judging’ what is sinful, in the context of calling something a sin when it is a sin, is God’s to make. He has declared it what is sinful in the Scripture and also bears witness through His Spirit. It is not un-Christ-like to label a sin a sin and warn those who are being lied to and also lying about what constitutes a sin, according to the Will and Word of God. We have been given the authority by God to declare what is sinful and what is not by simply agreeing with His Word and communicating that which He has individually given us to declare.

            Jesus didn’t say the Samaritan would gain Eternal Life. He pointed out
            that he was a neighbor unto the man attacked by criminals, because he
            had compassion and helped him in his time of need with the resources available to him. The others in the account merely walked by and did nothing to help the victim of the crime.

            Your questions are slick, because they also make absolute statements which are misleading. A person who is looking for an excuse to abide in Sin will gladly embrace you as someone “who really understands them”, because they want a free pass to remain in their sin. In short, your words are devilish and deceptive.

            I don’t speak for people of the “Religious Right”, so you can bash them all you want and they can speak for themselves individually. However, I can say that your pathetic attempt and shaming and guilt mongering only shows that your heart is dark and you don’t actually care about God’s Will or Word. Rather than complaining about what the Religious Right are doing or not doing, you should lay down your life and take up the cross Jesus has for you, and follow Him.

          • James Von Borcke

            “Jesus didn’t say the Samaritan would gain Eternal Life.”

            He said a good neighbor would gain eternal life, and that the Samaritan was a good neighbor.

            Nice effort trying to rule-lawyer on Jesus, though. But I don’t need a five-paragraph break down to explain what Jesus plainly said in one sentence, especially when that break down says the opposite of what Jesus said.

    • James Von Borcke

      “The Clause was written to keep the government from controlling religious belief and practice.”

      How do I have the freedom of my religion if the tenants and restrictions of your religion are codified into the secular laws that effect me?

      • FoJC_Forever

        Be specific.

        • James Von Borcke

          Answer the question.

          • FoJC_Forever

            That was the answer. Be specific. To what are you referring?

          • James Von Borcke

            It’s not about specifics; it’s about ~me~ being able to live without being burdened by ~your~ religious beliefs being codified into law for no secular reason, and your inability to explain how I can enjoy my protected rights as a US citizen when that is the case.

            That is to say, I don’t need to be specific when ~any~ law based on your beliefs would suffice. So imagine ~all~ of the laws you would enforce in this United States of Jesus you dream of, and then explain how this is supposed to work out for those who don’t share your faith.

          • FoJC_Forever

            So you believe that someone should be forced to be burdened by your religious or non-religious beliefs. You and those who profess your opinions use double standards in every way imaginable.

          • James Von Borcke

            Are you saying the my being free of your religious beliefs is an infringement on your beliefs?

  • The Skeptical Chymist

    Good to see that the city council chose to follow the Constitution and not to endorse a particular set of religious beliefs. No doubt among their constituents there are people who are not Christian, and they should not be put in a position of being second-class citizens.

    If you would demand that a city council take down an Islamic flag, then you should demand that this city council take down its Christian flag.

  • scatcatpdx

    I am a Christian and I would take down this flag There no reason to fly this flag and below the American flag where the Gospel is not procalm and even go as far it doesn’t belong in our church less (as some of you need to repent) it becomes an Idol.

  • James Von Borcke

    “…and they shall be of the Protestant religion…”

    The article is interesting in that it points out that the Georgia Constitution was written one year after the US Constitution, but it ignores that the US Constitution says…

    “…but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any officer or public trust under the United States.” (Article VI, Paragraph 3)

    So within a year of the US Constitution being ratified, Georgia was already attempting to undermine it.

    Additionally, while the article admits that Georgia required office holders to be Christian, the Georgia Constitution specifically stated that such must be Protestant, thus violating the No Religious Test Clause for non-Christians, but also for all non-Protestants (ie, all other Christians).

    This is reflective of how during the Reagan Era, the Southern Strategy resulted in a coalition of churches that stopped identifying ~politically~ as Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, etc., and started using the blanket term “Christian”. By doing this, it allowed these religious leaders (who were almost always of the Religious Right persuasion) to claim to speak for all Christians while completely ignoring the voice of the Religious Left (that is, claiming to hold the voting might of all Christians while ignoring at least ~half~ of those Christians).

    It’s also why when the Religious Right starts ranting about the ‘original meaning of the Constitution’, it’s clearly evident that they have no understanding of what that original meaning was, nor ever did.

  • BarkingDawg

    “[W]e the people of Georgia, relying upon the protection and guidance of almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution,” it reads. “The representatives shall be chosen out of the residents in each county, who shall have resided at least twelve months in this state … and they shall be of the Protestant religion, and of the age of twenty-one years…”

    That’s nice. It’s also completely illegal now under the US Constitution.

    Too bad, so sad.