Flag Desecration Amendment Advances In Senate

A constitutional amendment allowing Congress to outlaw desecration of the American flag is again being considered on Capitol Hill.

In early May, a Senate Judiciary subcommittee voted 6-3 to advance S.J.Res. 12, the so-called Flag Desecration Amend­ment. The measure would allow Congress to ban “the physical desecration” of the national emblem.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has opposed the amendment, arguing that approval would pave the way for additional constitutional changes undercutting the First Amendment.

In a May 1 letter to senators, AU’s Executive Director Barry W. Lynn said that passage of the amendment “would create a dangerous precedent for future alterations of the Bill of Rights.”

Activists leading the charge for the flag amendment have admitted that the proposal will be just the first of several constitutional changes. In a letter to the conservative Washington Times newspaper last year, Patrick H. Brady, chairman of the Citizens Flag Alliance, cited other amendments that may follow dealing with prayer, religious displays and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Concluded Brady, “If we can recapture the flag, we will have begun a march to recapture our Constitution.”

Political observers say the flag desecration amendment is one of several measures that Republican leaders are promoting to energize conservative voters.