The Unicoi County Board of Education in Tennessee on Thursday voted unanimously to remove a Christian flag that was part of the background at its board meetings for more than 20 years, thanks to a November letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a state/church watchdog.
"The room was silent Thursday night as people watched Director of Schools John English present the flag to the Unicoi County Ministerial Association," wrote Jordan Moore for WJHL.com.
"This is a solid victory for state-church separation," said FFRF Legal Fellow Ryan Jayne. "Often school districts will decide to follow the law after FFRF tells them what the law says. There is no question that a school board conducting business in front of a Christian flag sends the message that Christianity is the District's preferred religion."
"As a governmental agency, we're just not allowed to endorse a particular religion," explained Director of Schools John English. The Christian flag, which was displayed with the U.S. flag and the state of Tennessee flag, will be moved to a public display area at the YMCA in Unicoi County.
FFRF has more than 23,000 members, including nearly 300 in Tennessee.