The South Shall Rise Again, And So Shall My Lunch
[su_right_ad]Regular readers already know that creeping theocracy is my usual editorial beat (so to speak) and so often it quietly comes to us disguised in the somber white robes of religious freedom, if you know what I mean and I think you do. Like when the theocrats want to legally discriminate against gay people by proposing We Don’t Serve Your Kind laws.
And then other times Y’all Qaeda hires a marching brass band complete with cheerleaders, drill team, and flag twirlers to march down the main street.
[The Magnolia State Heritage Campaign’s] Arthur Randallson explained to American Family Association news network OneNewsNow, “We have taken a little bit of time to prepare an initiative that covers promoting Christianity, which is recognized as the principal religion of Mississippi from the founding of the state in 1817 to the present, and affirmed in the state constitution prayer acknowledging the Holy Bible.”
So let’s look at what the Magnolia State Heritage Campaign is gathering petition signers to sell to a skeptical public. Initiative 46 has 12 parts, but we’ll only focus on a few of them.
(I.) The State of Mississippi hereby acknowledges the fact of her identity as a principally Christian and quintessentially Southern state, in terms of the majority of her population, character, culture, history, and heritage, from 1817 to the present; accordingly, the Holy Bible is acknowledged as a foremost source of her founding principles, inspiration, and virtues; and, accordingly, prayer is acknowledged as a respected, meaningful, and valuable custom of her citizens. The acknowledgments hereby secured shall not be construed to transgress either the national or the state Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
There is no way to proclaim—even in Mississippian English—any official state religion without running head-long into the U.S. Constitution and provoking another lawsuit. But in the mean while, let’s consider that this proclaims that only Christians are the true residents of the state. Everyone else is a second-class citizen. Sorry atheists, jews, hindus and anyone else: you don’t count in Mississippi.
But the Mississipians proudly say that they won’t interfere with the First Amendment. Hey, trust them! They’re Christians!
And speaking of Mississippian English:
(II.) English shall be the official language of the State of Mississippi. All governmental or public non-emergency or non-judicial services, functions, or communications in Mississippi shall be rendered in the English language only, except for specific foreign language instruction in public schools, and except for the option of Latin or French for jurisprudence, medicine, heraldry, and other traditional uses.
So I guess those native Americans who were here first are SOL. Anyone new to the country who legally immigrated is also SOL, and to listen to Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas speak, well, I guess he should just stay home, because I’m sure the noise that comes out of his mouth hole is not English. But I digress.
(III.) The state flag of Mississippi shall be the state flag adopted in 1894, which has been in continuous use since 1894, and which was confirmed by statewide vote in 2001. The state flag of Mississippi shall be displayed in front of all public buildings, including but not limited to all state, county, and municipal buildings and any school receiving state funding. Wherever the national flag is displayed on public land or in public buildings, a state flag of equal size shall also be displayed. In Mississippi public schools and other public institutions, whenever the pledge of allegiance to the national flag is recited, the state flag salute shall be recited immediately thereafter. The state flag salute shall be: “I salute the flag of Mississippi and the sovereign state for which it stands with pride in her history and achievements and with confidence in her future under the guidance of Almighty God.”
[su_r_sky_ad]In case you were wondering, the proposed state flag of Mississippi features the Confederate flag in the upper left quadrant. If you go to the Magnolia State Heritage Campaign Facebook page, you can see the proposed flag everywhere. Gee, I wonder why they have introduced a Pledge that includes sovereign state? Under God is somewhat problematic, too.
(IV.) Mississippi’s official and sole state nickname shall be “The Magnolia State”. Mississippi’s official and sole state motto shall be “Virtute et Armis”; said state motto shall appear below the eagle on the state’s coat-of-arms. Mississippi’s official and sole state song shall be “Dixie”. Whenever the national anthem is played in a public venue or at a public event in Mississippi, either “Dixie” or “Go, Mississippi” shall be played immediately thereafter.
Now I think that they are trolling us. Dixie will be the state song, and will be played—by law!—whenever the national anthem is played? Isn’t Dixie the song that Sen. Jesse Helms sang to African American Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun trying to make her cry? Why, yes, I believe it was. It was not his musical stylings that brought an angry tear, either. It was the song itself and what it stands for.
(VI.) The official and sole mascot of the University of Mississippi shall be “Colonel Reb”, whose appearance shall be an accurate reflection of Colonel Reb’s definitive appearance on the cover of the 1947 University of Mississippi yearbook (the 1947 Ole Miss). University of Mississippi teams shall be the “Rebels”. The official and sole alternate title of the University of Mississippi shall be “Ole Miss”; no other alternate titles, abbreviations, or bynames of the University of Mississippi shall be used in any official capacity. The University of Mississippi traditions of playing “Dixie” and of displaying hand-held flags of any size, with or without flag sticks, at athletic events or in athletic venues shall not be infringed. The annual Ole Miss homecoming titles shall be “Colonel Reb” and “Miss Ole Miss”. One year after the Heritage Initiative’s passage, a life-sized, classical, and heroic statue of University Greys soldier Jeremiah Gage shall be erected on the edge of University Circle, positioned centrally in front of the Lyceum; said statue shall stand on a base five feet high with a metal plaque affixed listing the name, rank, and hometown of each University Greys soldier; the funding thereof shall be from non-public sources.
At first this struck me as odd, but football is probably a close second as the state’s religion. Nevertheless, by law, the mascot will return to being Colonel Reb (having been changed out for a less-offensive black bear named “Rebel” in 2010), the teams will be The Rebels, Dixie will be played, art installed… gee, what are they getting at?
Now what makes article VI so amusing is that the Campaign also include articles VII, VIII, and IX for other, lesser schools, essentially saying that they get to keep their current mascots, etc., which have never been controversial,, unless you don’t like bulldogs or golden eagles. I guess this is so they can say that they mentioned all the schools and didn’t just single out decreeing all the Confederacy symbolism at one. Let’s continue:
(X.) The month of April shall be “Confederate Heritage Month” in the State of Mississippi, annually proclaimed by the Governor and declared by the Secretary of State. Annually throughout the month of April, all primary and secondary public schools in the state shall acknowledge “Confederate Heritage Month” and include within the curriculum appropriate information about Mississippi’s Confederate history, heritage, achievements, and prominent people, including Mississippi’s African American and Native American veterans. The last Monday in April shall be “Confederate Memorial Day”, an annual state holiday; all state, county, and municipal non-emergency departments and buildings, including but not limited to public schools, universities, courts, and offices, shall be closed in observance thereof. Non-emergency public employees within any department or building closed on Confederate Memorial Day shall have a non-compensated holiday on this day, unless the State Legislature voluntarily allocates compensation to said public employees for this holiday. The right to acknowledge, observe, and celebrate “Dixie Week” throughout the seven days preceding Confederate Memorial Day shall not be infringed.
Confederate Heritage Month, Dixie Week and Confederat Memorial Day, you know, to honor the traitors who raised arms against the United States. Seems reasonable, though I think most moral people would probably try to forget that part of their past where they fought for slavery. And let’s not forget THAT flag:
(XI.) In honor of the Mississippians who served under this military flag, the Confederate Battle Flag, measuring at minimum four feet by four feet, shall be permanently displayed on a flag-pole directly behind and above the monument to Confederate women on the state capitol’s exterior grounds. The right to place and display flags at veterans’ graves shall not be infringed. Within Mississippi, all publicly owned, publicly held, or publicly managed Confederate or Confederate-themed items, including but not limited to monuments, statues, works of art, relics, markers, signs, names, titles, structures, roads, parks, graves, and cemeteries shall be preserved and maintained by the state government, which may delegate applicable duties to the respective counties or municipalities for this purpose; for all cases in which said items were renamed, the more historical name shall take precedence and be reestablished in full.
Interesting that they would be willing to raise taxes to pay for flying the Confederate flag, by law, at the state capitol, and optionally fly it anywhere else.
Now, it would be laughable on the face of it, but the Magnolia State Heritage Campaign only needs to get 110,000 signatures to place this on the November 2016 ballot, which happens to be a presidential election year. They can probably gather that many signatures at homecoming at Ol’ Miss, with Dixie blasting in the background.[su_csky_ad]