Residents of a small town in Mississippi protested after a secular group threatened to sue them unless they took down a Christian flag from one of the town's public areas.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter on Jan. 20 to town officials in Rienzi, Mississippi, which has a population of only 300 people, informing them that they could face a potential $500,000 lawsuit if the flag wasn't taken down from the town's veteran's memorial.
"Federal courts of appeals regularly hold that memorials featuring religious emblems or messages are illegal," FFRF Staff Attorney Sam Grover wrote to Rienzi Mayor Walter Williams.
"It's a myth there are no atheists in foxholes," said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor in a press release. "A government memorial must be inclusive of all veterans, not just honor Christian ones."
But WREG reported that more than 100 Rienzi residents disagreed with that notion and demanded that their Christian flag fly at the veteran's memorial.
"I never dreamed that something like this would have happened in a town this small, but it happened," Mayor Williams said.
"There just comes a point in time when you've got to be politically incorrect and take a stand," said protest organizer Kevin Nelms.
"We're not gonna let other people, or a foundation, or anybody else up in Wisconsin tell us that we can't fly our flag!" Nelms added, referring to the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation. "You're gonna take one down, we're gonna put a hundred back up."
Williams said town officials are reviewing their legal options at this time.