A sheriff’s office in Georgia must immediately take down a Christian flag flying outside its building, the Freedom From Religion Foundation insists.
A concerned Bleckley County resident has informed FFRF that the Bleckley County Sheriff’s Office regularly flies a Christian flag next to its building. It is inappropriate and unconstitutional to display this flag, FFRF informs the sheriff’s office.
The Christian flag contains a Latin cross, the pre-eminent symbol for Christianity. The flag was designed by Protestants in the early 20th century. It has been said that the white in the flag represents the biblical conceptions of purity, the blue in the flag represents the baptism in water, and the red color of the cross is symbolic of the sacrifice Jesus Christ made when he was crucified.
And the religious significance of the Latin cross is unambiguous and indisputable, FFRF contends.
“An overwhelming majority of federal courts agree that the Latin cross universally represents the Christian religion, and only the Christian religion,” FFRF Legal Fellow Chris Line writes to Bleckley County Sheriff Kris Coody. “A majority of federal courts has held displays of Latin crosses on public property to be an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.”
No secular purpose, no matter how sincere, will detract from the overall message that the flag stands for Christianity and the overall display promotes Christianity, the letter adds. The display of these patently religious symbols on county property confers government endorsement on Christianity, a blatant violation of the Establishment Clause. The flag conveys the message to the nearly 30 percent of the U.S. population who are not Christians that they are not “favored members of the political community,” to quote the U.S. Supreme Court. The cross hence has an exclusionary effect, making non-Christian and nonbelieving residents of Bleckley County political outsiders.
FFRF is asking the Bleckley County Sheriff’s Office to promptly remove the Christian flag from the sheriff’s office.
“Such a blatant ratification of one religion by those sworn to serve and protect is extremely troubling,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “This isn’t permissible in our secular constitutional setup.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with over 31,000 members and several chapters across the country, including more than 500 members and a chapter in Georgia. Its purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.