A new Mississippi state flag that contains the phrase “In God We Trust” is set to be voted on in November to replace the previous one that contains a Confederate emblem in the corner.
A state commission that was appointed to oversee the selection of a design for the new flag voted 8 to 1 in favor of “The New Magnolia” flag design to go up for a vote before the people of the state, according to The Clarion-Ledger.
The design was chosen over another design called “The Great River Flag.” The two were the finalists among over 3,000 proposals submitted to the state following lawmakers’ decision earlier this summer to replace the state flag featuring the Confederate battle banner.
The proposed flag will be placed on the ballot for voters to either approve or reject in November.
The new design contains large red vertical stripes on the left and right sides. The center is a swath of navy blue and thin yellow stripes.
A mature magnolia flower encircled with stars and the national motto “In God We Trust” is positioned in the middle of the banner.
The Mississippi Department of Archives and History explains that the magnolia blossom that anchors the flag represents the state and the “hospitality of its citizens.”
“The New Magnolia also represents Mississippi’s sense of hope and rebirth, as the Magnolia often blooms more than once and has a long blooming season,” an MDAH factsheet on the flag design explains.
The circle of stars “represents Mississippi as the twentieth state” and “is anchored by the gold five-point star, which stands alone.”
“This star represents our first peoples, the indigenous Native American tribes of the land that would become Mississippi,” the website reads. “The color blue in the main field of the flag echoes the blue of the American flag, representing vigilance, justice, perseverance, while the bands of red represent hardiness and valor.”
The new flag was designed by Rocky Vaughn.
According to Mississippi Today, the commission also voted to unanimously change the name of the flag design from “The New Magnolia” and market it to voters as the “In God We Trust” flag.
“Mississippi gets it. Their new state flag design contains the motto ‘In God We Trust,’” commented popular evangelist Franklin Graham on his Facebook page Thursday.
“While some try to take God out of as much as possible, it’s refreshing to see Mississippi taking this stand that will be seen for generations to come. It is only by God’s grace that we have been blessed as a nation and as a people.”
“Remember, ‘Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord’” Graham continued, referencing Psalm 33:12. “I hope Mississippians will show their support for this important message in the November election.”
In June, amid widespread removal of Confederate monuments and statues around the country in the wake of the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the Mississippi state legislature voted to change the existing flag that has been in use for more than 120 years.
The Mississippi Baptist Convention, which has more than half a million members and represents approximately 2,100 churches, was among those urging for a flag redesign.
“We should not be under any illusion that a vote in the Capitol is the end of what must be done — the job before us to bring the state together. And I intend to work night and day to do it,” Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, said as the legislature considered the issue earlier this year.
“We must find a way to come together, to heal our wounds, to forgive, to resolve that a page has been turned, to trust each other. With God’s help, we can.”
The Magnolia State was the final remaining state to have a flag that contained the Confederate emblem.
Many complained that the inclusion of the Confederate battle symbol on the flag glorified a part of the state’s past that is painful for African Americans.
Some religious leaders argued that removing the flag was an “important public symbol of our willingness as a state to seek repentance and racial reconciliation.”
Earlier this summer, the Satanic Temple threatened to sue if the state does put “In God We Trust” on its flag.