By Lindsey Seagraves
On a Thursday morning in a town fearing its religious freedom, one local business took a stand that has gained the City of Glencoe positive national recognition.
Big Chief owners Jeff and Regina Word were among other saddened Glencoe residents learning the news of the City of Glencoe’s removal of the Christian flag in front of city hall following a complaint letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation based out of Wisconsin.
The FFRF sent the letter to Glencoe in March protesting the blue and white flag that flew alongside the United States and State of Alabama flags. Glencoe Mayor Charles Gilchrist ultimately removed the flag after the city attorney warned a lawsuit might be more than the city could afford.
While the FFRF may have won the battle against the city, Word said he was taking a stand for mom and pop businesses.
“I originally thought I was not going to do it,” he explained. “Then after talking with Regina, I said, ‘Well Big Chief is such a landmark that if we don’t do something then the opportunity and right I have now is going to be taken away at some point and time.”
The next morning, Word flew the Christian flag on Big Chief’s landmark sign along with a letter board proclaiming, “I may not always act like it, but this business is Christian owned.”
Word said he’s received overwhelming feedback from Glencoe residents as well as county residents.
“It’s been mostly positive,” Word said. “We’ve had some [out of state] calls from people saying they’re going to protest, but they never showed up.”
Word said it was important to him to stand up for the Christian flag because, “Just one person took out prayer in schools; another made abortion legal,” he said. “I thought, maybe just one person can make a positive change.”
Word’s wife Regina said she felt the FFRF had done more good than harm.
“I know what I have as a Christian,” she said. “But when it’s challenged, it makes you realize [flying the Christian flag] should have been something we were doing anyway.”
Glencoe residents agree with Word, taking their own stand since the flag’s removal, like those flying the Christian flag at their homes. Hundreds of residents gathered for a rally behind the Christian flag on July 18 in front of city hall holding signs and proudly waving Christian flags.
When asked what he would tell other business owners thinking about flying the flag, Word said he would respect anyone who flew a religious flag, regardless of their religion.
“Don’t lose your right,” he said.