Justin Gage | TyrantWatch
Full Disclosure: The writer of this article is a former resident (20+ years) of Itawamba County with family still residing there. The publisher of the article is a current resident who has several relatives residing in Itawamba County as well. We’ve tried to stay relatively neutral on the matter, hoping for a resolution that represents the interests of the citizens of Itawamba County. However, the religious and legal ramifications of the Itawamba County Board of Supervisor’s (and other officials) recent actions cannot be ignored any longer. Please remember, our mission remains simply to inform, not conform.
On Monday, the Itawamba County Board of Supervisors decided- not voted in a public setting as required by Mississippi State Code- to now remove the Ten Commandments display from the Itawamba County courthouse. On the same day, a new display depicting our national motto, “In God We Trust”, had replaced it. By doing so, the Board may very well have relinquished all legal claim that the courthouse display fell under previous Supreme Court precedent Van Orden v. Perry, in which the Supreme Court ruled IN FAVOR of religious liberty and a religious AND secular display of the Ten Commandments. Any opponent of religious liberty could now successfully argue that this case now falls directly under Supreme Court precedent that prohibits the exact maneuvering the board has proposed, that precedent being McCreary County (KY) v. ACLU. On social media websites, Board supporters have maintained that the county intends to move the Ten Commandments display to a new display recognizing several historical documents. Again, this would fall in direct violation of the Supreme Court ruling McCreary County v. ACLU. All this information, as well as very respected corroborating legal opinion, is widely and easily accessible on virtually any related Internet website or search engine.
In reference to the Board’s decision to not hold a public forum and vote on the issue after being made aware of public opinion, Board supporters may argue that the issue was technically resolved at the previous Board meeting. But, how can that be true when one Board member commented on a supporter’s (and family member) Facebook page that “We have not voted to take this down”? That comment came on Tuesday, February 2nd, the day AFTER the last board meeting.
Sure, there are costs associated with standing up for the religious liberty of Itawamba County. There have been much greater costs paid by citizens of Itawamba County and these United States to defend these liberties. Many made the ultimate sacrifice, their life. In light of all this: why? Why would the Itawamba County Board of Supervisors decide behind closed doors to not fight for Religious Liberty? Dollars are relative. My relationship with God is not.
Although the Board has compromised much of citizens’ legal basis for leaving the Ten Commandments depiction as it was originally displayed, the citizens do have options to consider if they so choose. Ideally, through lobbying and education, the citizens should be able to convince their elected leaders to reverse course and consider the desires of the citizens whom elected them to represent their interests. Unfortunately, due to recent decisions, actions and comments from the Board that seems all but impossible. Another way for any Itawamba County citizen to voice his/her concern is to contact the Office’s of the Mississippi Attorney General or the Mississippi Secretary of State. Ask them to formally launch an inquiry into the legalities of the decision, as well as the legalities of the process in which the decision was determined (in contradiction to the interests of Itawamba County citizens and without a public vote).
An absolute last resort could include the recall of every supervisor from Itawamba County, as allowed in the Mississippi Recall Act. To directly quote the Mississippi State Legislature website, recall can be warranted when “The official has, while holding office, conducted himself or herself in a manner which relates to and adversely affects the administration of his or her office and adversely affects the RIGHTS AND INTERESTS OF THE PUBLIC”. If they will not represent the rights and interests of the public, recall them and elect leaders who will. Although, due to the prevalence of misconduct by elected officials in Mississippi and nationally, a citizen should be cautious in their trusting of elected officials and candidates. Previously mentioned misconduct includes famed FBI investigation “Operation Pretense”, which netted 55 Mississippi county supervisors (including officials from Pontotoc and Monroe counties) as well as other state and local officials. Those officials were convicted of charges such as bid-rigging, bribery, extortion, accepting kick-backs, etc.
It is our hope that this matter not come to such a harsh solution, but We the People will not be ignored any longer. We the People will not stand by while the freedom, religious or otherwise, of our family is being threatened. We the People will not be threatened by the FFRF in Wisconsin or by our elected officials.
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for All.”