Religious Leaders Support The 1894 State Flag

A group of Conservative religious leaders says Mississippi's flag battle is not a racial battle, but a spiritual one. The ministers, who are all white, gathered at the state capitol today to show their support for the current flag and the heritage and values they say it represents.

Only 30 of the 55 ministers at today's rally are from Mississippi. The rest came from other Southern states like Tennessee, Alabama and South Carolina. The ministers hope on April 17th, voters will side with the current flag.

"It is a part of our history. It cannot be changed just because some of us want to change it. The rewriting of history is not an entitlement in this country or any other," said Rev. Steve Woods with the reformed Presbyterian church.

These clergy blame liberals for the upcoming April 17th flag vote where Mississippians will choose between our current flag or a new design. They believe the majority of Mississippians support the current flag.

Gary Roper, a former Baptist minister, told WLOX, "The south is the last strong hold of Christianity, old time, bible based Christianity. And the agenda of the liberals is to destroy old time Christianity and in order to do that, they've got to destroy us and the way they want to do that is take our banner away."

Several months ago other clergy, like the Bishops of the Catholic, Episcopal and United Methodist churches of Mississippi announced their support of changing the flag saying it would create better racial harmony. These leaders disagree. The flag supporters said they want to let the public know that all the ministers of this state have not become so politically correct that they can't stand up for what's right.

"If the heart is right people will get along together no matter what flag you fly. And that's the thing we should address, changing the flag will not solve any problems," said Roper.

These conservative Christians say the current flag is a symbol of Mississippi heritage they want to protect.