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Booneville Lawmaker Wants to Protect Religious Symbols on Public Property

The state seal with the message “In God We Trust” is displayed in the lobby of the Alcorn County Courthouse. (Photo by Josh Mitchell/Corinth Today)

By Josh Mitchell

Corinth Today News Editor

State Rep. William Tracy Arnold, R-Booneville, has sponsored a bill to prohibit the removal of religious structures of historical significance from public property.


Arnold said he wants to protect structures displaying religious messages in case there is an effort to remove them in the future.

Structures that represent biblical beliefs could be a future target, and he does not want to see the state’s spiritual heritage destroyed, he said.

Arnold noted that his bill would not just pertain to Christian symbols but other religious structures as well. He also understands that federal law would supersede state law in the event of a conflict.

The bill cannot discriminate against other religious beliefs, and it is important to protect religious freedoms, said Arnold.

However, he said the judicial system is based on the Ten Commandments. He is the pastor of The Vineyard Church in Booneville.

Arnold said he was contacted by someone on the East Coast who said there was an effort to remove a cross and Bibles from a chapel on a public college campus. That issue motivated him to take proactive action to protect religious structures of historical significance in Mississippi.

For instance, the state seal says, “In God We Trust,” and he would like to see that protected.

Arnold noted that this issue hit close to home last year when the town of Rienzi was threatened with legal action if it did not remove a Christian flag from a memorial on public property.

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