Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christian Flags for the Courtroom

So I return from my vacation to see that something strange is happening in Alcorn County. I know, I shouldn't be surprised to see church/state entanglements but I thought I'd have at least a little reprieve between Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Wow, I was wrong.

According to the Daily Corinthian, the Woodmen of the World Lodge 64 is donating new flags to the Alcorn County Courthouse. This organization provides a lot of flags to various businesses and non-profits so that within itself is not much of a surprise. The problem comes with the kind of flag being donated:

A group of local leaders including Police Chief David Lancaster, Justice Court Judge Steve Little and Sheriff Charles Rinehart accepted a state, national and Christian flag from Corinth's Woodmen of the World Lodge 64. The flags will be on display in the Alcorn Justice Center's Courtroom. (emphasis mine)

What? These officials accepted a Christian flag and plan to display it in the county courtroom? Say it ain't so! In what universe does anyone think that it's ok to have a religious flag on display in an American courtroom? What kind of message is this sending?

Well, the message I get is that Christian values will be upheld in that court and, therefore, Christians can expect special consideration. That's unconstitutional. The Christian flag has no place in that courtroom.

So first, we need to verify that the Christian flag is indeed being stationed in the courtroom as the article says. Unfortunately, I couldn't link to the article so I'm having to read it straight out of the Dec. 27 paper for you. Also, unfortunately, I'm not a resident of Alcorn County so I lack the ability or standing to take any action.

But some of you do and if this issue is important enough to you, I hope you'll consider checking it out. If you can verify that the Christian flag is indeed in that courtroom, you can make a phone call or write a letter. You can contact the Freedom from Religion Foundation and have them send a letter.

Why should you care? Why should we waste our time on these little things? Because they aren't trivial. They send a clear message of preference for Christianity. The longer these things go unchallenged, the more the people (and the courts) can fall back on the argument from tradition.

It's great to support state and national efforts to keep church and state separate. But sometimes the most important work we can do is to keep things straight at home. The more these small communities have to deal with this stuff and learn, the less of this crap will filter to the upper levels.

It's really important that we address this wherever we find it. Who from among us will make a stand?

*Edit to add photos from the actual newspaper since I couldn't find a link to it online: