Senate Must Defeat Flag Desecration Amendment, Says Americans United

Watchdog Group Criticizes Election-Year Vote As Effort To Inflame 'Culture Wars'

The U.S. Senate should vote down a proposed constitutional amendment to ban desecration of the American flag, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

“This is election-year politics at its worst,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Senate leaders are pushing this amendment merely to inflame passions and create another ‘culture war’ issue in advance of the November elections.”

Added Lynn, “It’s deplorable to see the Senate playing politics with the freedoms guaranteed us in the Bill of Rights.”

Debate on the amendment, S.J. Res. 12,  is scheduled to begin today, and a vote is expected later this week.

In a letter to senators last month, Lynn asserted that altering the Bill of Rights is a radical and dangerous step. He asserted that our First Amendment protects even offensive forms of speech and said the country’s core freedoms are strong enough to withstand a handful of flag burners.

Lynn also said if this amendment passes, it could open the door to other unwise changes to the First Amendment. He noted that an activist leading the charge for the flag desecration amendment has admitted that the proposal will be just the first of several changes to the Bill of Rights.

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 school prayer, religious displays and the Pledge of Allegiance. Concluded Brady, “If we can recapture our flag, we will have begun a march to recapture our Constitution.”

Noted Lynn, “Flag ‘desecration’ is a curious term. The flag is an important civic symbol of our nation but not a sacred one. This amendment attempts to elevate the flag to the status of a religious symbol, which is all the more reason to reject it.”

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.