Baptists and Walmart criticize rebel-themed Mississippi flag Tuesday, 23 June 2020 ()
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Confederate-themed Mississippi flag drew opposition Tuesday from two big forces in the culturally conservative state: Southern Baptists and Walmart.

Walmart said it will stop displaying the Mississippi flag while the state debates whether to change the design. The Mississippi Baptist Convention said lawmakers have a moral obligation to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag because many people are “hurt and shamed” by it.

“We believe it’s the right thing to do, and is consistent with Walmart’s position to not sell merchandise with the confederate flag from stores and online sites, as part of our commitment to provide a welcoming and inclusive experience for all of our customers in the communities we serve," company spokesperson Anne Hatfield said.

The announcements increase pressure for change in a state that is slow to embrace it. Protests against racial injustice across the U.S. are focusing new attention on Confederate symbols.

Mississippi has the last state flag that includes the Confederate battle emblem: a red field topped by a blue X with 13 white stars. The NCAA, the Southeastern Conference, prominent business organizations and other religious groups have already called for the state to adopt a more inclusive banner.

The conservative-leaning and majority-white Mississippi Baptist Convention has more than 500,000 members at more than 2,100 churches. Mississippi’s population is about 3 million, and 38% of residents are African American.

“While some may see the current flag as a celebration of heritage, a significant portion of our state sees it as a relic of racism and a symbol of hatred,” the Baptist group said in a statement. “The racial overtones of this flag’s appearance make this discussion...
Video credit: Reuters Studio - Published
News video: Walmart removes Mississippi flag from stores

Walmart removes Mississippi flag from stores 01:07

Walmart said it will not display in its stores the flag of the U.S. state of Mississippi, which includes a Confederate flag emblem, and is separately reviewing if items sold on its website in Canada breached its terms after online outrage over "All Lives Matter" products on the site. Fred Katayama...

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