To the Hollister City Council,
This open letter is sent in response to the Hollister City Council’s passing of Resolution 2021-82, “A resolution of the City Council of the city of Hollister establishing a policy on flag display” on May 3, 2021. This action was taken by the Council subsequent to its passing of Resolution 2021-71 on April 19, 2021, authorizing the purchase of a second city-controlled flagpole, deemed the ‘Unity Pole,’ outside City Hall, and based on the Council’s desire to establish a policy for flying flags on this pole.
This letter is for the express purpose of communicating to you our joint support for flying the Christian flag over Hollister City Hall, once requirements have been met according to the approved request process. The Council’s ‘Policy on Flag Display,’ adopted in conjunction with Resolution 2021-82, encourages the flying of flags which “represent a National, State, or City interest,” “promotes unity and community,” and “represents a positive interest or value worthy of public recognition.” We encourage the Council’s openness to the flying of this flag based on the widespread and enduring positive influence of Christian principles in this nation, the State of California and the City of Hollister.
The Christian flag displays the same colors as the U.S. flag: red, white and blue. The white in the flag represents peace and purity; the blue, the unclouded sky and the symbol of fidelity and truth; and the red, the emblem of Christian sacrifice.
Christian principles serve as the bedrock of much the good expressed in the nature and accomplishments of this country.
The writers of the Declaration of Independence were strongly influenced by Christian thought and documents when they wrote that “all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” and that the American people were entitled to a “separate and equal Station” on the world stage by “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.” They considered these truths to be ‘self-evident because of the supremacy of Nature’s God over the workings of man’s governments.
United States Joint Senate and House Resolution 97-280 begins with the words, “Whereas that renewing our knowledge of and faith in God through Holy Scriptures can strengthen us as a nation and a people…” and “The Bible… has made a unique contribution in shaping the United States as a distinctive and blessed nation… Biblical teaching inspired concepts of civil government that are contained in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.”
What are some ways in which Christianity has positively impacted the United States and the City of Hollister?
Christianity has been on the forefront of education and medical care across the 245 years of our country’s history. Harvard, Yale, Princeton and nearly all of the major universities in America were started for the purpose of Christian learning. That is a positive and unifying factor. Major medical hospitals and research facilities have been founded by Christians. The Catholic Church alone accounts for 14.5% of medical facilities in America. Organizations like the Red Cross and
Samaritans’ Purse are often the first on the scene of natural or man-made disasters. That is a positive and unifying factor.
Christians have played a major role in drawing attention to the modern-day slavery practices of human and sex trafficking, then have stepped in to rescue victims and help prosecute their traffickers. That is a positive and unifying factor.
Christians have been leaders in providing homes for orphans in America, even outside the foster care system. That is a positive and unifying factor.
Christians have been at the forefront of providing for pregnant women, new mothers and their children. That is a positive and unifying factor.
Hollister Christians feed the homeless, provide transportation for the elderly, volunteer in hospitals and schools, provide professional mentoring, and tutor school students. The flag representing these residents is a positive and unifying factor.
Christians serve our community in all of these ways because of the central Christian tenet that all people are created in the image of God and are worthy of dignity and respect. That is a unifying principle for all of our people.
Some Hollister demographics: There are approximately 100 churches in the immediate Hollister area. Approximately 65% of Hollister residents identify as Christian; that equates to more than 27,000 people. A flag representing this number of residents is a distinctly unifying factor.
Some have claimed that there is a Constitutional prohibition of religious activity in any government function. This is without foundation.
Every one of our U.S. coins and bills proclaim, “In God We Trust.”
The pledge to the American flag states that our nation is “under God.”
The U.S. Senate and House of Representative and the CA Senate and Assembly all have Chaplains which regularly pray for and advise the elected officials.
The U.S. Supreme Court begins every session with the famous prayer, “God save the United States and this Honorable Court.”
There is no reference in either the United States or California Constitutions discouraging religious influence on government functions. In fact, all of the 55 signers of the U.S. Constitution except Benjamin Franklin were members of Christian denominations; and Franklin regularly attended Christian services.
In the context of Thomas Jefferson’s oft quoted ‘wall of separation between Church and State,’ in 1802 (15 years after the signing of the Constitution), Jefferson was assuring a group of Baptist parishioners and pastors that the First Amendment adequately protected them from government interference with their churches. After quoting the intention of the American people in the Amendment, Jefferson said, “thus building a wall of separation between Church and State;” the ‘thus’ indicating the wall would adequately keep the state out of the churches’ business, not the other way around.
Multiple Presidents and Supreme Court Justices have publicly acknowledged the religious nature of the American people, and their goodness which extends from that nature.
Given the broad and positive influence of Christian people on this nation and this city, as pastors of Hollister we sign and submit this letter requesting that the City Council of Hollister take full responsibility in approving the flying of the Christian flag over City Hall, following the submission of such request in accordance with its recently established Policy and Procedure.
Members of the Hollister clergy,