A controversy is brewing in King, North Carolina over the flying of a Christian flag at the city’s community veterans memorial. Amid protests and threats of litigation, the city council reached what they thought would be an acceptable compromise solution.
“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 proponents of the Christian flag, formed into the newly-christened “King Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Foundation”, are threatening a lawsuit should the wrong kind of flags be allowed to fly.
“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,” James said. “No one has asked for another flag to be put up there. But someone asked for our flag to be taken down.”
“The question we’re raising now is the possibility of having say, the Wiccan flag flown or the Satanic flag flown, which are recognized by the U.S. military — or a Muslim flag flown over a U.S. veterans memorial,” group leader Stephen James said.
First, if they are only going to fly approved VA emblems of faith, then they wouldn’t have to worry about a “Satanic flag”, but yes, Islam and Wicca both have emblems approved by the Veterans Administration. In fact Wiccan, Pagan, and Muslim military personnel have all died in the line of duty for the United States, something that doesn’t seem to matter all that much to the Christian flag proponents. It seems to be all or nothing for them.
“The complaint would be filed with the N.C. Office of Administrative Hearings only if a majority of people attending a public meeting at 6 p.m. Nov. 22 about the proposal objected to it, said Stephen James of King, an organizer of King Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Foundation. The group was started Monday night by about 25 people. “But we will have that option (filing the complaint) ready if we need it,” he said.”
Further, as pointed out by Americans United, local Christians are already scheming ways to make sure no faith other than Christianity gets a turn under the compromise agreement. A public meeting is scheduled on November 22nd to lay out the details of the compromise, but I can’t see this going anywhere except into the courts. If Americans United feels that the policy is too restrictive they’ll sue, and if the policy is too open the King Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Foundation will sue. That the mere possibility that Pagan (or Muslim) military personnel might be honored in King, North Carolina would trigger a lawsuit shames every veteran who fought or died for our country’s religious freedom. This is all about Christian triumphalism, and very little to do with the men and women we’re supposed to be honoring tomorrow on Veteran’s Day.