In one of those “Good News, Bad News” stories, the Mississippi state legislature has finally decide to remove the confederate insignia from their state flag, which had been adopted way back in 1894. That is the good news, even if it comes a 126 years later than it should have.
So what is the bad news? The replacement, yet to be decided, must include the phrase “In God We Trust”. This johnny-come-lately phrase, which was adopted in 1956, has no place on the flag. The flag of Pennsylvania has the words “Virtue, Liberty and Independence”, Rhode Island has “Hope”, and Nebraska has “Equality Before the Law”, all of which are positive and encouraging thoughts. Eleven states have no words on their flag, while a have handful just have the state name.
The motto has been protected from Establishment Clause scrutiny, given the very odd 1984 Supreme Court’s ruling in Lynch v. Donnelly that claimed acts of “ceremonial deism” are “protected from Establishment Clause scrutiny chiefly because they have lost through rote repetition any significant religious content [LYNCH v. DONNELLY, 465 U.S. 668 (1984)].
So here we have Mississippi removing the Confederate emblem 126 years after the Civil War, only to adopt a flag that with meaningless religious content.
It is time to stop dividing the state along ideological lines. With national statistics showing that 22.8% of the U.S. population is now religiously unaffiliated, including a sizable number of atheists, agnositics, humanists, and others who follow no religious dogma. Mississippi residents the new flag should honor both believers and non-believers alike.
For more details see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreligion_in_the_United_States