U.S. senators on Confederate monuments at U.S. Capitol and Mississippi’s state flag

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – In the wake of recent protests over police brutality and racism, some Confederate monuments across the country have been removed and relocated.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.) sent a letter to the leaders of the Joint Committee on the Library on Wednesday, June 10, requesting that they take action to remove 11 statues of Confederate soldiers and officials from the U.S. Capitol.

12 News reached out to U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) about whether he’s in favor of removing Mississippi’s statues in the U.S. Capitol building.

Wicker said, “It would be a mistake for Congress to remove statues placed in the U.S. Capitol by Mississippi or any state. In my view, such an overreach would be counterproductive to the healthy conversations on race happening across the country. Under federal law, state governments are solely responsible for selecting and replacing the statues that represent their states.”

There’s also been a push to change Mississippi’s state flag, which bears the Confederate battle emblem. Wicker is standing by his statement that he made in 2015.

After reflection and prayer, I now believe our state flag should be put in a museum and replaced by one that is more unifying to all Mississippians. As the descendant of several brave Americans who fought for the Confederacy, I have not viewed Mississippi’s current state flag as offensive. However, it is clearer and clearer to me that many of my fellow citizens feel differently and that our state flag increasingly portrays a false impression of our state to others.

In I Corinthians 8, the Apostle Paul said he had no personal objection to eating meat sacrificed to idols. But he went on to say that “if food is a cause of trouble to my brother, or makes my brother offend, I will give up eating meat.” The lesson from this passage leads me to conclude that the flag should be removed since it causes offense to so many of my brothers and sisters, creating dissension rather than unity.

This is an issue to be decided by the legislature and other state government officials and not dictated by Washington. If I can be part of a process to achieve consensus within our state, I would welcome the opportunity to participate.

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

12 News also reached out to U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) about the Confederate statues at the U.S. Capitol and the Mississippi state flag. She released the following statement:

I appreciate the views of all Mississippians, and hope to continue Mississippi’s forward momentum.  Should the people of Mississippi and their elected leaders decide to begin the process of finding a more unifying banner that better represents all Mississippians and the progress we have made as a state, I would support that effort.

There are clear rules and procedures set for the designation, receipt, and placement of statues in the United States Capitol.  Any state, including Mississippi, can avail itself to that process if it wants to exchange statues.  How to best depict the history of our nation is always up for debate, but it is not the role of Congress to dictate to states which statues should be placed in the Capitol.

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss.

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