The city of Glencoe, Ala., has been in a struggle — a spiritual one — many of its residents believe. The constant decline of Christianity from public life, they say, has been deteriorating this country’s morals and values. The latest example of this, according to Glencoe residents, is the fact that the city was all but forced to take down the Christian flag that had been flying at City Hal since the 1990s. The mayor, Charlie Gilchrist (above), reluctantly agreed to do so after receiving a complaint from a Wisconsin-based non-profit, Freedom From Religion Foundation. “It is unconstitutional for a government entity to fly a flag with a patently religious symbol and meaning on its grounds . . .” the complaint letter stated.
But Gilchrist, 70, found a way around it. After the New Year, the flag will again fly near City Hall — on a small piece of property adjacent to City Hall that belongs to First Baptist of Glencoe.
And he’s not the only one who believes the Christian banner should fly. Since the flag initially came down from city hall, several businesses raised it on their premises. Like David Cooper, operator of J&J Welding, just down the street from City Hall. He welded a cross to go on top of the 40-foot flagpole just outside the front of the sheet metal building. “This is private property, so we can fly one if we want to,” the 27-year-old said. “They said the City couldn’t fly one, so we put one up.” Jeff Word, owner of Big Chief Drive In, one of the more popular (and noticeable) businesses along the stretch of Chastain Boulevard that cuts through downtown Glencoe. He put a flag up a couple days after the mayor removed the one at City Hall. “If one lady can be instrumental in taking prayer out of schools … And if one person, like in Roe v. Wade, can make abortion legal, why can’t one person make a stand for Christ and Christian principles?” he said.
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Downtown, Glencoe, Ala. Population, 5,000.
Jeff Word (above), owner of Big Chief Drive In (below).David Cooper, operator of J&J Welding
Glencoe Post OfficeA cotton field just outside Glencoe.