Town Takes on ACLU over Christian Flag
There’s something special that happens when people come together for a cause. We have seen it with the Tea Party movement for well over a year. Rather than being discouraged by Washington arrogance and feeling that there is nothing that could be done, people rallied together and started to change the face of American politics. On a smaller scale, the people of King, North Carolina felt the sting of government when their City Council under pressure from the ACLU voted to remove a Christian flag from a veterans memorial. But that was not the end of the story… it was only the beginning.
The issue arose when ONE PERSON contacted the ACLU and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State in August to complain about the flag which has flown over the town’s Veterans Memorial at Central Park for years.
City Attorney Walter Pitt said the city received a letter from the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State on August 11 and a letter from the ACLU on August 16 threatening lawsuits if the flag was not taken down. The decision to remove the flag stems from estimates that it could cost the city as much as $300,000 to fight a possible lawsuit from the ACLU.
“The City received inquiries from the ACLU and the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State suggesting that the Christian flag flying over the Veterans Memorial at Central Park violates the Establishment Clause of the 1st amendment to the U.S. Constitution. At the advice of the City Attorney, the City Council voted to take down the Christian flag at last night’s City Council meeting citing the enormous cost associated with fighting a potential law suit on the issue,” said City Manager John Cater.
Here’s the story from mid-September:
According to the local Fox station, the person known as “Steve” who says he filed the complaints said, “I initiated the complaint with the City Manager concerning the ‘Christian Flag’ flown at the Veterans Memorial which is on city property and paid for with tax payer’s money. This was done to bring attention to the fact that regardless the form government, it had no right to impose any type of religious belief upon its population.”
Side Note: Last time I checked, there were no police officers going around the town imposing a religion on anyone.
So, under pressure and financial burden of the lawsuit, the City Council voted to take down the flag. End of story? Not even close.
First, a catering business located across the street from the memorial erected a 35-foot flag pole to fly the Christian flag.
“We just thought it would be a good way to show people what we think about the whole thing. I know its not city hall, but its as close as we could get,” said Mike Marshall, owner of Divine Catering.
Marshall said he hates that it took the city removing the flag to remind the company they should have been flying the flag this whole time.
Then, the sales of Christian flags started to take off in King, a town of about 6,000 residents. According to the Winston-Salem Journal, “The controversy surrounding the removal of a Christian flag from the town’s Veteran’s Memorial is helping Gullion’s Christian Supply Center — so many people have bought Christian flags that the store has ordered 300 more to satisfy demand.”
A local veterans group then erected a temporary flag at the site of the memorial and are standing guard over it as a measure of respect and to protest the original flag’s removal.
On Monday, many town residents participated in Christian Flag Day:
According to a flyer being distributed in King, residents are encouraged to fly their flag on Monday. “We are asking citizens, business owners and churches to demonstrated support for the Christian Flag to fly atop the Veterans Memorial at Central Park in King, NC by flying a Christian flag on this day,” the flyer reads.
Some residents are saying that the community’s bond has been strengthened amid the controversy. “If there’s a message to go out, it’s ‘Thank you’ to this individual who brought this community together,” one man at the rally told FOX8.
At a public hearing held Monday night, King residents asked the City Council to put the flag back in place and to fight the ACLU.
“Look at all the hundreds of people that got upset that the flag was taken down. I think we count for something,” said Pastor David Keaton, a King resident.
Supporters asked city leaders to put the Christian flag back up at the memorial and said they will provide the needed support.
The controversy has united this town, but it is still a huge battle. Too often we see the same thing happening across the country. Whether it is removing a manger scene from public view during Christmas (Hello! Christmas is a Christian holiday!) to removing prayer from sporting events to trying to strike “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, there is a bombardment of attacks against Christian symbols and actions. Aren’t we supposed to be tolerant? What ever happened to that?
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