Point/Counterpoint: Mississippi’s controversies in 2015

2. State flag controversy

After South Carolina officially removed the Confederate battle emblem from its state flag — a move propelled by the death of nine congregants on June 17 at a historic black church in Charleston — Mississippi became the last state to feature the emblem in its flag. The resulting national scrutiny was followed by discussion from the state’s top leaders on what the next step for the Hospitality State should be.

“We must always remember our past, but that does not mean we must let it define us. As a Christian, I believe our state’s flag has become a point of offense that needs to be removed. We need to begin having conversations about changing Mississippi’s flag.”

— state House Speaker Philip Gunn

“The same discussion South Carolinians are having now is one that Mississippians had 14 years ago when nearly two-thirds of our state voted to keep our current flag. If the citizens of our state want to revisit that decision, and I am sure at some point we may, it will best be decided by the people of Mississippi, not by outsiders or media elites or politicians in a back room.”

— Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves