Faith, education leaders speak up on calls for state flag change

Faith, education leaders speak up on calls for state flag change

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi’s state flag is once again under the microscope and the source of a newly fueled debate.

Just before they left for the day, several Senate Democrats filed a resolution Thursday that would be a starting point for getting lawmakers to consider changing the flag.

For more to happen, the suspension resolution would have to be referred to the rules committee. If it passed out of that committee, it would take a 2/3 vote to proceed.

The voices outside those Capitol walls calling for the flag to be changed are getting louder and putting more pressure on the state’s leaders.

Some of these voices were from leaders from different faith backgrounds lining the steps of St. Peter’s.

“Jesus said love God and love your neighbor," explained Rev. Jason Coker, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Mississippi. “And I think we can do this if it’s an act of love to neighbor.”

“By not changing the flag, we’re saying to the world, nothing has changed,” said Bishop Ronnie Crudup, Diocese Bishop, Fellowship of International Churches.

“This symbol perpetuates an image to the rest of our nation that we not only tolerate backwards thinking but exalt it,” added Rachel Glazer who is a member of Jewish community.

Their focus isn’t about what it’s changed to but rather getting the current one down.

“I would hate for us to lose sight of what our goal is by getting caught up in the minutia of how we create the next generation,” Bishop Brian Seage of the Episcopal Church of Mississippi.

Another group voicing their call for change is the Mississippi Association of Educators. First posting a letter to social media late Wednesday.

A note from MAE president Erica Jones | Deadline day legislative update and a call to action

Posted by Mississippi Association of Educators on Wednesday, June 10, 2020

“We’re tasked with keeping our students safe and protecting them and providing them with an environment in which they want to learn," described MAE President Erica Jones. "Entering into a school building each day where the current state flag is flying does not help us to support that.”

Governor Reeves continues to stand by his position that it should be put to a vote by the people if the flag is ever changed. But the group of faith leaders who are part of Working Together Mississippi say, this can’t wait.

“Just show some leadership and not acquiesce your leadership by sending this to a referendum,” added Crudup.

Neither of those groups are calling for a specific flag replacement. Lawmakers say they’ve received a flood of emails from folks both for keeping and changing the flag.

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