A Georgia city that made national headlines over its controversial decision to display a Christian flag on government property outside of city hall has reversed course and will now remove the flag in the coming days after getting a second opinion from an attorney.
But the removal won't come until after a Bible marathon that the flag is advertising concludes this upcoming Friday.
The city council, which previously voted in favor of the flag, overturned that decision with a 4-1 vote on April 28, deciding to exclusively fly the U.S. and state flags outside city hall, according to a statement on the City of Cochran's website.
"After reviewing further input from the community, detailed written legal opinions from our city attorney and a second legal opinion from a constitutional lawyer, impact on the city fiscal resources and the environment in which the original decision to exclusively fly the Christian flag was made, the city council voted 4 to 1 at a special called meeting on April 28, 2015 to rescind the motion to exclusively fly the Christian flag 24/7 from the flagpole at city hall and remove the flag effective May 8," the statement reads.
A Christian flag seen flying outside Cochran, Georgia, city hall (Facebook/Bible Reading Marathon)
As TheBlaze previously reported, the Cochran city council voted 5-1 in April to keep the flag — a white, blue and red design that was created in 1897 to commemorate the Christian faith — on a pole outside of city hall.
The most recent decision to remove the flag marks at least the second time that officials have taken it down over fears of a First Amendment violation; it was previously removed last month before being put back up again, WMAZ-TV reported.
“The city manager took the flag down because an attorney said we could have a problem,” councilman Gary Ates told the outlet last month after the initial controversy broke out, noting that some residents protested to see it returned. “The people of Cochran came to a city council meeting and said ‘let’s put the flag back up.”
Cochran city manager Richard Newbern previously told Raw Story that the council voted on April 14, to allow the Christian flag on the premises.
Rather than a random decision to post the flag, the city reportedly routinely puts it up in an effort to promote an annual ”Bible Reading Marathon,” which is sponsored by the International Bible Reading Association.
A Christian flag seen flying in Cochran, Georgia (Facebook/Bible Reading Marathon)
A Facebook page setup to advertise the annual “Bible Reading Marathon” shows images of the flag around town. One photo of the flag outside of city hall comes with a tagline that reads, “Lifting the banner of the cross at Cochan’s City Hall.”
While the council has voted to remove the flag as of May 8, it appears that the "Bible Reading Marathon" goes from May 1-7, meaning that the flag will potentially remain on public property until after the event concludes.