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Group requests removal of flag

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) recently asked the Unicoi County Board of Education to remove the Christian Flag from school board meetings.
According to FFRF, a non-profit educational charity that, according to their website, is the nation’s largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), the foundation sent a letter to the board after a concerned parent contacted the group.
“The Christian flag being displayed during public school board meetings unabashedly created the perception of government endorsement of Christianity,” FFRF Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert stated in the letter to the board. “The display of this Christian flag is a brazen affront to the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution.
“Courts have continually held that school districts may not display religious messages of iconography in public schools.
“A majority of federal courts have held displays of Latin crosses on public property to be unconstitutional endorsement of religion.”
The information provided by FFRF was featured on a news release issued on the foundation’s website.
“The presence of this Christian symbol sends a message not only that the school board inappropriately endorses Christianity, but that the non-Christian children and parents in the community are disfavored. That’s utterly shocking and unacceptable,” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said in the release.
According to the FFRF website, the group has over 23,000 members including nearly 300 in Tennessee.
Unicoi County Director of Schools John English told The Erwin Record that the school board had received the letter and that he has sent it to the board’s attorney.
English is awaiting on advisement from the attorney before responding to the request, he said.