Christian activist faces fines and prison after removing the Confederate flag

Jason Lander is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Jason Lander is licensed under CC BY 2.0
The story of David and Goliath inspired Brittany Newsome to take down the Confederate flag at a South Carolina government building.

Brittany Newsome, a 30-year-old Christian civil rights activist, removed the Confederate flag from a pole at the Statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina on June 27.

The flag is viewed by many as a symbol of was to uphold slavery and a battle to oppose civil rights advances. Now Newsome faces misdemeanor charges along with a possible fine up to $5,000, and up to three years in prison.

Newsome’s action came ten days after a deranged, racist gunman killed nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The mass shooting sparked a “crisis of faith” in her. Earlier, she was influenced by the shootings of young black men in Florida and Missouri.

“This is like 9/11 to me. I see people just going about their daily lives. I can’t do that. I can’t function,” she said on July 11 at the Wild Goose Festival in Hot Springs, North Carolina, according to Religion News Service. She was invited to the festival as a guest speaker.

In her remarks, Newsome viewed the victims’ families’ quick forgiveness of the killer as a “rare display of Christ-like behaviour.” However, forgiving too easily has helped to perpetuate racist systems, she said and stressed that she preferred action.

“Jesus is one of the biggest agitators that ever lived. The only time Jesus was in the temple was when he’s flipping stuff over and stirring things up,” she said.

Newsome said that she reread the biblical story of David and Goliath when she was preparing for her mission. Her faith and her sister’s prayers helped her overcome her fear climbing up and down the 30-feet flagpole. Newsome worked together with a group of activists from Charlotte, North Carolina. They had already made plans to take to flag down.

“If we really want to work for a peaceful society, we have to agitate. Until the people in power have to deal with you, they won’t,” she said.


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