Mississippi Town Rallies After Complaint Results in Removal of Christian Flag

RIENZI, Miss. — Over 100 residents from a small Mississippi town rallied on Saturday after a complaint from a prominent professing atheist organization that took issue with a Christian flag being displayed in a public park resulted in the removal of the banner.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter on Jan. 20 to Rienzi Mayor Walter Williams to assert that the flag, which had been flown in Veterans Memorial Park, was unconstitutional. It said that it had been contacted by a local resident—who was not named—to advise them of the flag’s presence.

“We write to ensure that the town remove the Christian flag from its memorial garden in order to avoid unconstitutional religious endorsement,” the letter read. “We appreciate that the town of Reinzi is attempting to memorialize [veterans’] sacrifice. But as numerous government entities have already discovered, honoring those who have served their community and country does not override the need to remain neutral toward religion.”

FFRF urged Williams to utilize a completely secular display instead, and noted that it can be “quite costly” to ignore their request as another city settled with FFRF in 2015 for $500,000.

“There are countless ways to recognize the sacrifice of our veterans and military members without also endorsing one religion over all others in violation of the Constitution,” it said. “By flying a Christian flag over the memorial, Rienzi sends the message that the town values the service of minority religious and nonreligious service members less than their Christian counterparts.”

As a result of the letter, Williams had the flag removed.

“I never dreamed that something like this would have happened in a town this small, but it happened,” he told local television station WREG. “We’re gonna fly that flag again and I’m hoping it’s not going to be long.”

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On Saturday, more than 100 residents from the small town of 300 held a rally in support of the flag, some themselves bearing the emblem.

“We’re not gonna let other people, or a foundation, or anybody else up in Wisconsin tell us that we can’t fly our flag!” organizer Kevin Nelms proclaimed to those gathered.

“My whole point behind this [is], you’re gonna take one down, we’re gonna put a hundred back up,” he added to reporters. Supporters ran another Christian flag up the flagpole during the event.

Nelms and his group rode from the VFW on their motorcycles to Veterans Memorial Park, flying the flag as they went.

“As a proud American, but number one as a proud Christian, I came today to stand up for the Lord and stand up for our freedom,” participant Susan Woodruff stated.

Williams says that he has hired an attorney and further discussion about the matter will be held at its next board meeting on Tuesday. He was among those who attended the rally on Saturday.

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  • Sickening. “…it can be “quite costly” to ignore their request” is a barely-veiled threat.

    • RWH

      The Christian flag in question does not represent Christianity as a whole but only a select group of churches. Why not put up the Vatican flag, usually hung at Roman Catholic Churches, or the Episcopal Church flag? Neither of these churches recognize the flag in question of being of their own.

      • Darren H

        The Episcopagans ceased to be Christians long ago. They appointed a sodomite bishop.

        Happily, all the gay churches are shrinking away to nothing. Good riddance.

        • RWH

          I never thought that it was a Christian virtue to wish evil or harm on others. For your information, all churches are shrinking. The Southern Baptist Convention lost about a million members. The Orthodox Church of Russia is the only church that is growing inasmuch as Communism has fallen. The group of Nones is growing by leaps and bounds within the United States. Researchers have found that one of the main reasons is that people are repelled by this elevation of the hatred of everything gay as a cardinal doctrine to the detriment of everything else.

          • Chet

            Well, no, it’s fulfilling prophecy regarding the last days and the great falling away of professed believers… The sin of homosexuality will always stand just as will the sin of adultery, and fornication and all the other sins so plainly set forth in God’s Word, the Holy Bible. You might start a the Ten Commandments and work forward from there.

      • Chet

        Does not the Christian flag show the Cross?

    • TwoRutRoad

      There is no veil at all. It’s a clear warning. Anyway, it’s nowhere near as bad as the old “Love Jesus, or you’ll burn in hell!” threat. Sickening.

  • Ambulance Chaser

    All the rallies in the world won’t overcome the Constitution. You can protest all day, but courts aren’t swayed by popular opinion.

    • Nidalap

      “You can protest all day, but courts aren’t swayed by popular opinion.”
      Ha! Now THAT’S a good one! 🙂

      • Ambulance Chaser

        Are you alleging that judges look nervously out the window at people carrying signs, and start counting the number on each side to determine which way they’re going to rule?

        • Nidalap

          Not all, but some logically would.
          For judges are only human as well, swayed by those things which may sway any other human, wardrobe notwithstanding… 🙂

    • Chet

      Amen, and be assured God Almighty, the one with whom we all have to do, sooner or later, will never, ever be swayed away from His written Word… Us sinners can protest from now till dooms day over our favorite sin or view yet God changes not…

  • They sent a letter, and the oh so brave and courageous mayor and his hired legal expert crumbled in the face of its strong words. Just imagine what he would have done if he got two letters.

    • Ambulance Chaser

      What would you rather he do? Fight a battle he’s guaranteed to lose?

    • Jason Todd

      Cowards. I would’ve told the anti-Christian bigots to roll marbles down the freeway.

      • TwoRutRoad

        Is this the new Christian way of telling Constitution supporters to kill themselves?

        • Robert

          No If he wanted that he would have said a California freeway while wearing Trump make America great again hats .

  • james blue

    The only flags that should be on government flagpoles are US, State, county/city/school if they have one and in an act of diplomacy, the national flag of a foreign dignitary during an official visit.

    No religious or political flags, so no Christian, tea party or rainbow flags. They belong on private flagpoles on private land.

    • yael

      If the majority of the people are Christian, I have no problem with it.Our nation is historically Christian, and Christian symbols are part of our heritage. As long as our Constitution says “We the People”, then it needs to be “We the People” who decide for that town. The people spoke.They want the flag.Period.Tell the anti-Christian group to take a long walk down a short pier.

      • Tangent002

        The Constitution is specifically written to prevent a hegemony of the majority.

        • NCOriolesFan

          The why isn’t loser Hillary president?

          • Tangent002

            The electoral college.

          • james blue

            Doesn’t the fact that she isn’t make his point?

      • james blue

        So you’d be happy with towns that fly Islamic flags or Satanic flags?

        Have the people use their own flagpoles. If they cared so much about the flag they would.

  • HpO

    About that, what Rienzi Mayor Walter Williams said, while lamenting for the object of his idolatry, the so-called “Christian flag” – “We’re gonna fly that flag again and I’m hoping it’s not going to be long” – I say, Jesus Christ and His 1st apostles and disciples didn’t have a “Christian flag”! And neither should we fellow believers!

    Come to think of it:

    (1) “From where did this (Christian) flag come? … A kingdom is a government with a sovereign king over it. The kingdom of God has a King, Jesus Christ; He is the only One Who could have authorized the emblem of His kingdom. I am not so naive as to think that the Lord authorized this emblem 1800 years after the New Testament and the whole Bible had been completed. … The origin of the Christian flag did not come from the King, the Christ, the Lord. … Instead the Christian emblems which we ought to display are an unpretentious faithfulness to the Word of God and love toward one another with a self-sacrificing but not truth-compromising love.” (Empire Baptist Temple, retrieved February 7, 2017)

    (2) “flags in churches … point … to an idolatrous god of one nation. Churches must guard against any symbols, acts, or words in worship that lead us toward a religion of nationalism and away from the central message of Jesus and its power to redeem and unite a broken world.” (Leaven, 2005, Volume 13, Issue 4, Article 3)

    • Chris

      Well said.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Christian America for ever.

  • NCOriolesFan

    I place the so-called Christian flag alongside the US flag, it not a god nor should it be treated as such.

  • Robert

    Perhaps it’s time to change the constitution . That makes it clear that America favors Christian traditions with out denominational preferences or laws that one must become christian.

  • Chet

    Good on these people for daring to be a Daniel and taking a stand. It’s well past time Christians everywhere Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus Ye Soldiers Of The Cross…

  • I continue to be amazed that so many Americans do not understand the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment. The town has two choices. It could allow all religions and non-religions to run up their flags at the same place, or remove the flag.

    …more than 100 residents from the small town of 300 held a rally in support of the flag

    That means there are nearly 200 people in that town who may or may not be Christians. You may even have a few Muslims in the town. Do the Christians of the town not want their government representing all its citizens? A great many non Christians died for the rights our Constitution gives us. Are they less entitled than Christians? Would you allow a Muslim flag to fly beside a Christian flag?

    Basically, we are not a theocracy, but a secular nation under the Constitution. Have a bit of empathy for those who don’t think like you.