N.C. city council reaches a compromise on Christian flag
A city council in North Carolina reached a compromise recently over the display of a Christian flag alongside several others in a Veteran’s Memorial that was set up in the town’s Central Park.
The King City Council decided last Monday that the Christian flag may eventually be displayed again, alongside flags of other religious symbols that are recognized by the U.S. military, Winston-Salem Journal reported.
However supporters of the Christian flag were not satisfied with the compromise decision and said the flag should be immediately returned to its original spot where it had been since the Veteran’s Memorial was built in 2004. (See http://theundergroundsite.com/index.php/2010/09/christian-flag-taken-down-from-veteran%E2%80%99s-memorial-13748).
The flag was taken down when the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to file a suit against the city. However, the Alliance Defense Fund called the incident “typical” of the ACLU’s pattern of seeking out religious symbols in public places and having them removed—even though the majority of the citizens of King are for the Christian banner, One News Now reported.
Joe Infranco, ADF senior counsel told One News Now, “This time the furor was over a Christian flag that was part of a Veterans Memorial, and it was a much beloved symbol with the residents of the town. They did not view this as an establishment of Christianity. But of course the ACLU, always willing to be offended by any kind of religious expression, threatened them and said that some people could take it that way.”
The King City Council removed the flag under the advice of their city lawyers. However, local residents and war veterans responded by putting the flag back up and standing guard to make sure nobody removes it, One News Now said. (For background see http://theundergroundsite.com/index.php/2010/09/war-veterans-are-guarding-a-christian-flag-in-their-memorial-13837).
Thousands of town residents took to the street in support of the Christian flag. In one demonstration, 5,000 of the town’s 6,000 residents attended. The Christian flag is also being hung outside many businesses and homes, One News Now reported.
Infranco said he hoped for a forum where the flag would fly as the choice of the town’s citizens. He told One News Now, “It will no longer be a government speech. If it’s not government speech, then there’s no longer a First Amendment problem,” One News Now said.
Katy Parker of North Carolina’s ACLU told Winston-Salem Journal, “We think the city, by taking down the flag, complied with the Constitution. We applaud them for that. On the other side of that, we support the right to protest of those who may disagree.”
Under Monday’s vote the city officials are expected to spend two months formulating a policy to fly the flag. They will work in coordination with city attorney Walter W. Pitt Jr. and the ADF, the latter of which is working pro-bono, Winston-Salem Journal reported.