While the rest of the country wrestles over the legitimacy of which statues and monuments should be removed or kept, conservative Christians in Mississippi have tossed their hat in the ring in favor of removing the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag.
The Mississippi Baptist Convention released a statement on June 23, saying that, “While some may see the current flag as a celebration of heritage, a significant portion of our state sees it as a relic of racism and a symbol of hatred,”and “The racial overtones of this flag’s appearance make this discussion a moral issue.”
Ligon Duncan, Presbyterian and chancellor of the Reformed Theological Seminary (and lifelong Southerner), agrees, saying of the flag: “It was adopted in a time when efforts were being made to exclude black people from voting in our state and when lynchings were frequent. And it became symbolic of our state’s opposition to equal civil rights for our fellow black citizens.”
These comments came after state legislators had reached out to religious leaders regarding the state flag. The (mostly white) Mississippi Baptist Convention is part of the larger Southern Baptist Convention denomination, and is the largest religious group in the state.