The Thomas More Law Center, the organization taking on New Rochelle over the removal of a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag from the former armory calls itself “the Christian response to the ACLU.”
The center, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., the center says on its website that it “defends and promotes America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, including the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life.”
The New Rochelle United Veterans Memorial and Patriotic Association has retained the center, which does not charge for its services, in the matter.
The veterans hoisted the bright yellow Gadsden flag with its coiled snake under the slogan, on March 21. They had asked the city’s permission to replace an aging American flag, which they did, but had not told the city they would be raising the second banner.
City Manager Charles Strome III told the veterans it would be taken down a week late rafter polling council members.
The issue is the lead story on the Thomas More Law Center’s website, saying that the city “confiscated” the flag. Peter Parente, president of the New Rochelle veterans organization, said veterans were refused when they asked for the flag from city employees removing it. But the city later said they were free to pick up the flag at the Department of Public Works.
City Council members who asked that it be taken down said that, while they recognize the flag’s role in the nation’s history, the banner is also used prominently by the right-wing Tea Party. Parente and other supporters of keeping the flag – including the Thomas More Law Center – say that it is a historical banner, not a political statement.
Parente touched on the history in a statement.
“The Gadsden Flag was the first flag of our Nation…the Navy and Marines fought the American Revolution under that flag, and we will stand under it and fight again if we must.”
A look at the Tea Party website shows that the group has adopted the flag and its imagery in several ways. In one current campaign, the party encourages people to fax Washington a “special Tea Party Flag” that is an adaptation of the Gadsden banner in which the coiled snake is the “e” in “Tea.”
The Thomas More Law Center “defends and promotes America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, including the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life.”
The top photo shows the Gadsden flag when it flew at the former armory in New Rochelle, from the SAVE the Armory Facebook page.
The second photo is from the Tea Party website.