Those wishing to impose their religion on others through the state have a new rallying point — a Revolutionary War banner with a religious message.

A flag with a pine tree and the legend “Appeal to Heaven” — flown by cruisers under the command of George Washington — has now become the emblem of a movement aimed at putting “conservative, Biblical” principles into public life. That Sen. Jason Rapert is pushing for the hoisting of the flag in public spaces tells you plenty about its current appropriation by religionists hoping to institute their religious outlooks in law.

One of the latest battlegrounds is in Warren, Ark. The photo is from the Eagle-Democrat newspaper in Warren last year when proponents of the flag got it hoisted outside the county courthouse.

This year, the Freedom From Religion Foundation complained to Bradley County Judge Keith Neely about use of a public facility for the flag. It has written:


The “Appeal to Heaven” flag is now associated with the recent Appeal to Heaven movement, whose adherents “honor the Lord by supporting candidates for public office who are believers in Jesus Christ, who regularly attend and display a commitment to an evangelical, Gospel-centered church, and who will commit to live and govern based on biblical . . . principles.”

Neely took the flag down. (Editor’s note: Public flagpoles are best kept to city, state and U.S. flags. May all who wish erect Gospel-centered messages on their homes, businesses and churches.)

Right-wing websites are blasting the decision, with one piece penned by none other than Sarah Palin. preacher named Dutch Sheets  is apparently the leader of the movement.

Rapert is raising a ruckus, naturally, on Twitter. Plenty of history here on the historic roots of the flag.

As with Rapert’s Ten Commandments monument: When they say it isn’t about religion, it’s about religion. 

Writes Palin:

This attack on the ATH flag might seem irrelevant in light of all the important things happening right now, but it’s symbolic and symptomatic of the precarious position we’re in when it comes to religious liberty, our entire Bill of Rights, and our need to openly acknowledge the ultimate source of our country’s blessings. May we never doubt that a Providential Hand will always guide us to a better future as long as we are humble enough to seek that help.