For months now, controversy has been raging in the town of King, North Carolina ever since a local veteran objected to the fact that a Christian flag was being flown at a veteran’s memorial in the city’s Central Park.
City officials eventually received letters from both the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina and the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and decided to remove the flag until they could work out a policy that was constitutional with the help of the Alliance Defense Fund.
And the decision to remove the flag in the interim set off protests:
Many of the marchers’ T-shirts simply read, “Put our flag back.” Waving U.S. and Christian flags, and singing “Amazing Grace,” more than 5,000 people marched and rallied in the city of King yesterday morning to tell its city council to return the Christian flag to the Veteran’s Memorial in Central Park.
“The council didn’t get the opinions of the town of King and Stokes County,” said Pamela Swain Deszern, of Rural Hall, formerly of King. “This community stands together to support the Christian flag. It stands for God, peace, love, purity and the blood of Jesus.”
Working with the ADF, city officials finally came up with a policy last week that they felt was a fair and constitutional compromise:
An attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund said that the city’s plan for returning the Christian flag to the Veteran’s Memorial is a fair compromise.
The King City Council approved a policy Monday night that eventually would allow a Christian flag to fly again at a memorial at the city’s Central Park as a part of a limited public display of religious flags recognized by the U.S. military.
Members of the Army Chaplain Corps wear four symbols on their uniforms — the Christian cross, the Jewish tablets and Star of David, the Buddhist dharma-chakra and the Muslim crescent, said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a spokesman for the U.S. Army.
There are also 41 religious symbols that can be placed on grave markers at Arlington National Cemetery.
The city’s new policy will lay out which flags and symbols would be displayed at the memorial.
But, of course, the idea of allowing any non-Christian flag to fly is simply unacceptable:
A group formed to return the Christian flag to the King Veteran’s Memorial may file a complaint against the city to protest a policy that would allow additional flags to be displayed at the site.
Many of the foundation’s members are concerned that the city may allow religious flags such as the Muslim Crescent and Star flag, the satanic flag and Wiccan flag, all of which are recognized by the U.S. military, to be flown at the memorial, James said.
“There is room for expansion for this memorial,” [said Stephen James of King, an organizer of King Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Foundation.] “No one has asked for another flag to be put up there. But someone asked for our flag to be taken down.”
Under the compromise proposal, flags would fly one at a time on a rotating basis … and so, as Americans United reports, Christian activists are working on a plan to completely monopolize the process for years to come:
This plan was revealed on the Facebook page, Christian Flag-King. The page serves to “educate, inform and update the King community and supporters to restore and keep the Christian flag flying at the Veteran’s Memorial in Central Park.” It has more than 4,000 members.
On Nov. 4, Christian Flag-King reposted a comment from Pastor Kevin Broyhill, who explained how the city can keep its sectarian bias in place. He wrote:
“The city will set the stipulations of who can fly a flag in honor of their loved one who has served in the Armed Forces. That is where the word ‘limited’ comes in. It restricts who can participate which will eliminate outsiders from taking over the pole. The idea is for Christians to fill up the reservation list and tie up the pole for years to come. This will ensure that the Christian Flag keeps flying. Calvary [Baptist Church] will buy several Christian Flags for people to use so that everyone doesn’t have to buy their own flag. We’ll even put it up for you!”