This week — the first of Arizona’s legislative session — Secular AZ received word that on the second floor lobby, there is a “Pine Tree” flag — a symbol of the Christian nationalist Appeal to Heaven (ATH) movement.
According to their website, the mission of ATH is to “to honor the Lord by networking elected officials 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.”
They also affirm that the “separation of church and state statement has been perverted, exaggerated and repeatedly used to drive men and women of faith out of public service.” In Arizona, as in many other states, this statement could not be further from the truth. Instead, Christian nationalist legislators have become Arizona’s loudest voices. Some are perpetrators of “The Big Lie.” Others were instigators of the January 6th insurrection, where the Pine Tree Flag was flown.
Displaying this flag in a government building is a clear, unconstitutional endorsement of evangelical Christianity. And it insults the third of Americans that aren’t affiliated with this religion — including fellow legislators.
Secular AZ’s legal team has sent a letter to House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-25) asking for the removal of the flag. We’ll post updates as they develop.
Donations to Secular AZ’s legal department will help ensure we can take appropriate measures if the flag is not immediately removed.