JACKSON, Miss. (WLOX) - The Mississippi United Pentecostal Church group is calling on state leaders to put the issue of changing the state flag to a vote.
The organization joins other prominent religious organizations in the state that have spoken out against the current flag, such as the Mississippi Baptist Convention.
In an open letter dated June 24, the Mississippi United Pentecostal Church called on state leaders to give Mississippians the chance to vote on the issue instead of legislators doing so.
“The first five words of our state constitution are ‘We, the people of Mississippi.’ We strongly believe that ‘we, the people of Mississippi’ can come together to freely, openly and thoughtfully discuss whether we should adopt a new flag. Mississippi law provides the mechanism for a referendum process, and that is the fairest way for the people of Mississippi to decide this issue.”
Recognizing that the flag is hurtful to many, the group said it also understands that it represents heritage for many others.
“We respect the intense feelings associated with this issue,” said the letter. “For some, the current flag brings painful memories. For others, it is a representation of family, heritage and history. Because of this, we agree that the time is right for all Mississippians to engage in honest conversation about moving forward with a flag that can unite us all.”
“We do not believe, however, that the Legislature should decide this critical issue. Those who think it is time to change the flag have argued that the tide of public opinion has shifted since the 2001 referendum,” stated a letter from the organization. “If this is the case, we should trust the people of Mississippi to come to a transparent and honorable consensus about the flag.”
The Mississippi United Pentecostal Church International serves the entire state of Mississippi and is made up of Pentecostal churches from across the state.