More than 100 residents of a small town in Mississippi have gathered to protest the removal of a Christian flag that was flying over Veterans Memorial Park.
The flag’s removal came after the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter last week, threatening a potential half-million-dollar lawsuit if it was not taken down, WREG reported.
FFRF attorney Sam Grover explained in a letter that a Rienzi community member contacted the atheist organization regarding the flag. He explained that the government’s endorsement of a religious memorial is unconstitutional and urged the town to adopt a fully secular memorial.
Grover cited the case of King, North Carolina, which had to pay $500,000 in legal fees in 2015 after it was sued for displaying a Christian flag and a statue of a soldier kneeling before a cross on public grounds.
“In recognition of all veterans and military members, please remove the exclusively Christian flag from the Veterans Memorial Garden,” the FFRF wrote.
Rienzi Mayor Walter Williams said that pulling the flag down was a tough decision, but he believes they had no choice. “I never dreamed that something like this would have happened in a town this small, but it happened,” he said.
Kevin Nelms organized a rally to protest the flag’s removal. “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! You’re gonna take one down, we’re gonna put a hundred back up,” he said.
On Saturday, the demonstrators went on a 12-mile motorcycle ride from Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Corinth all the way to the Veterans Memorial Garden. Many of the bikers proudly flew the Christian flag on the back of their motorcycles.
When no one raised their hand when asked if anybody opposed the Christian flag being flown in the community, Williams vowed that it will be put back up.
“And I’m hoping and praying that this time next week, you’re going to see that flag flying here,” said the mayor.
Williams said that the town has already hired an attorney and the issue will be discussed at a town board meeting.