Gov. Tate Reeves on signing bill to replace state flag with Confederate battle emblem
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves tells ‘The Daily Briefing’ he’s focused on ensuring Mississippians are ‘proud to move the state into the future.’
The Satanic Temple reportedly plans to sue Mississippi if the state adds the words “In God We Trust” to its new flag.
The group wrote in a letter to Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch that if the state “is going to place a religious phrase on its flag, it should include reference to Satan," The Hill reported.
It said it regards "In God We Trust" as an “exclusionary religious phrase.”
The organization commended Gov. Tate Reeves for signing legislation in late June to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the flag but added that removing “one divisive symbol of exclusion only to replace it with a divisive phrase of exclusion does not eliminate exclusion, but rather moves it from one group to a collection of others.”
Under the legislation Reeves signed June 30, the new state flag’s design cannot have any Confederate imagery and must include the phrase “In God We Trust.”
Mississippi lawmakers fast-tracked the legislation to change the flag amid racial equality protests that have sparked across the U.S. in the wake of the May 25 death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.
Voters in Mississippi will be asked to decide on the new state flag design on the November ballot.
The recently retired Mississippi state flag flies outside the Statehouse in Jackson, June 25, 2020. (Associated Press)
"We can imagine that there would be some Mississippians who would be a bit put off by the words ‘In Satan We Trust’ on the state flag,” the Satanic Temple wrote in its letter. “If you can imagine that, then you might imagine how atheists, Satanists, and other people of nontheistic faiths could feel excluded by the addition of ‘In God We Trust’ to the state flag."
“In God We Trust” first appeared on U.S. money in 1864 and became the national motto in 1956.
The group said it realizes the Supreme Court previously ruled that having the motto on U.S. currency doesn't violate the First Amendment but believes this case is "distinguishable," according to The Hill.
The Satanic Temple, created in 2013, has been involved in other First Amendment lawsuits.
The group says on its website it does not actually worship Satan but believes in compassion, science and common sense.
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