A small Mississippi town is standing behind its mayor after he removed the Christian flag from a veteran’s memorial under threat of a lawsuit.

The town of Rienzi erected a veteran’s memorial adjacent to its town hall last year, but Mayor Walter Williams had no idea of the trouble his town was in for, when it hoisted a Christian flag up one of three flag poles at the monument.

He then received a letter from the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation, an atheist organization that threatens public displays of Christian faith across the country.

Concerned with the cost of a lawsuit, many towns, counties, and school boards comply with the organization’s overt threats, and Williams followed that same course of action after FFRF threatened a half-million dollar lawsuit against Rienzi, a town of 400.

“It wasn’t because I wanted to,” the mayor told a local TV news station. “But it was because I didn’t want to go no further of putting the town in jeopardy over me making a decision.”

FFRF is not just threatening little Mississippi towns. The group’s website boasts that it targeted a South Carolina public school for allowing a Christian author to read from his book; demanded that an Indiana school district forbid distribution of a flyer advertising a girls’ ministry; and demanded that a student gospel choir at an Illinois school district function without participation from school faculty.

When the targets of an FFRF lawsuit back down, the group often states that it is “heartened” or “elated” by the decision.

The community has since rallied behind Mayor Williams, and hundreds gathered Feb. 4 at Veterans Memorial Park to protest the atheist group and defend the flag display.

“We are a Christian nation. Do you all understand that? We are a Christian nation,” protest organizer Kevin Nelms said at the rally. “This is a Christian flag. You take one down. We’re going to put several back up. I promise you that.”

Riezni has hired an attorney and is discussing what legal steps to pursue, said the mayor.


Copyright American Family News. Reprinted with permission.

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