Mississippi faces potential lawsuit from Satanic Temple for ‘In God we Trust’ addition to new state flag

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(Photo by Josh Reynolds for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Despite bending to the left by voting to nix the state’s longtime flag because of the mini Confederate flag featured on it, Mississippi legislators aren’t out of the woods yet.

On June 29th, a day after the Mississippi Legislature passed a bill calling for the state’s flag to be retired and a replacement drawn up containing the U.S.’s national motto, “In God We Trust,” the so-called Satanic Temple pounced like demons.

In a letter addressed to Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, the devil-worshipers’ attorney wrote that while they appreciated the state’s “very positive step of removing the Confederate battle flag from the Mississippi state flag,” they were not OK with its replacement containing a tribute to their arch-nemesis, God.

While the Satanic Temple supports the removal of the Confederate flag, removing one divisive symbol of exclusion only to replace it with a divisive phrase of exclusion does not eliminate exclusion, but rather moves it from one group to a collection of others,” they kvetched.

To convey this point, the devil worshipers then requested that a reference to Satan be included instead on the flag. And as justification for why, they drew attention to the so-called “Seven Tenets of the Satanic Temple.”

View the full letter and the seven tenets below:

“As you can see, none of the tenets should be controversial with respect to representing all Mississippians. On the other hand, we can imagine that there would be some Mississippians who would be a bit put off by the words ‘In Satan we Trust’ on the state flag,” they continued.

“If you can imagine that, then you might imagine how atheists, Satanists, and other people of nontheistic faiths could feel excluded by the addition of ‘In God we Trust’ to the state flag. We trust that you will take our request under advisement.”

Was that a fair point?

Some think so.

The letter concluded by warning that even though past Supreme Court precedent in the case O’Hair v Blumenthal bodes badly for them, they intend to file suit if Mississippi refuses to abide by their demands.

“However, should the state of Mississippi insist on placing this exclusionary religious phrase on its flag, we do intend to file suit and seek injunctive relief against this act. We are aware of the O’Hair v Blumenthal, 588 F.2d 1144 (5th Cir. 1979) decision. However, we believe that the facts in that case and the particular act we would seek to enjoin are distinguishable. We will move forward with that understanding,” they wrote.

History suggests they’ll be unsuccessful. Over the years, numerous courts, including the Supreme Court, have rejected arguments that “In God We Trust” shouldn’t and cannot be included on items such as currency and flags.

One of the more recent rulings occurred last year, when the Supreme Court rejected a request from a known far-left activist, Michael Newdow, who’d demanded the motto be removed from all U.S. currency.

“Michael Newdow, the same activist attorney who tried to remove ‘under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance, lost his case, arguing Congress’ mandate to inscribe “In God We Trust” on currency was a government endorsement of religion and a violation of the First Amendment,” the New York Post reported at the time.

“Newdow argued in his petition to the Supreme Court that because his clients are all atheist individuals or atheist groups, the government violated their ‘sincere religious belief’ that there is no God and turned them into ‘political outsiders’ by placing the phrase ‘In God We Trust’ on their money.”

The Supreme Court not only rejected his petition but did so without comment.

This past April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled against an appeal from an immigrant calling for the words “so help me God” to be removed from America’s Naturalization Oath.

“This is unfair, demeaning and improper. Plaintiff is unwilling to start her new life as an American citizen in some second-class status solely because she chooses to follow her religious precepts,” the immigrant’s attorney had reportedly argued.

“Under the principles of equal protection, she demands the right to experience the elation, the pride, the sense of camaraderie, and the sense of belonging, which comes from joining her fellow new citizens as an equal participant in the naturalization oath ceremony.”

The courts disagreed, just as they’re likely to do again if and when the Satanic Temple files suit.


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