Mississippi lawmakers voted today to replace the state flag and remove the Confederate symbol that’s currently on it. Governor Tate Reeves has already said he plans to sign the bill.
But whatever the new flag will look like, it will have to include the words “In God We Trust,” replacing racism with religion.
I posted about this possibility the other day, and the same criticisms hold true now. If the goal is to unite people in the state, then bringing everyone under the umbrella of Christianity, or even generic theism, makes no sense.
Nearly 20% of the state is non-Christian. 14% aren’t affiliated with organized religion at all.
It would make so much more sense to simply extend the current colors, or toss in a non-controversial state symbol like a bird or flower. Instead, they’ll be replacing the symbol of racism with a phrase that invokes the religion held by many slaveowners.
The new design for the Mississippi State Flag recommended by the commission shall be placed on the ballot in a statewide special election as provided for in Section 2 of this act. The new design for the Mississippi State Flag recommended by the commission shall not include the design of the Confederate Battle Flag, but shall include the words “In God We Trust.”
And of course the bill’s sponsor invoked God after it passed:
Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn, who is white, has pushed for five years to change the flag, saying that the Confederate symbol is offensive. The House passed the bill 91-23 Sunday afternoon, and the Senate passed it 37-14 later.
“How sweet it is to celebrate this on the Lord’s day,” Gunn said. “Many prayed to Him to bring us to this day. He has answered.”
Make no mistake: This is just a new way to inject God into government. It shouldn’t be happening. But Mississippi won’t be alone in adding the phrase to the flag. Georgia does the same thing:
At least the Commission working on the redesign can take one lesson from Georgia: The phrase may have to appear on the new flag, but there’s nothing in the bill that says anything about font size.
(Top image via Shutterstock)