Gospel sing-along in Tennessee faces Confederate controversy after photos surface online

Religion News Service | 7/22/2019 | Staff
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(USA Today) — A popular gospel sing-along in Tennessee is receiving push back after a Confederate flag was displayed at the event’s 50th anniversary celebration.

It is yet another example of the symbols of the Confederacy spurring consternation and debate over how the South chooses to reckon with its history of slavery and racism.

Madison - Laird - Author - Bible - Lesson

Madison Laird, the author of a Bible lesson series, said he is upset that photos and video of a man carrying the divisive Civil War-era battle flag in a recent parade were posted in the Diana Singing Facebook group by someone who attended the event.

Laird said he is heartbroken that the Diana Singing board of directors was slow to take down the images despite his requests.

Flag - Minds - People - Principles - Laird

“I think what the flag represents in the minds of most people is abhorrent to Christian principles,” said Laird, who lives in San Jose, Calif., but grew up in Nashville.

He has attended the semi-annual Churches of Christ a cappella event for a decade, but because of this incident Laird said he will likely never go back and is planning to strike Diana Singing from the acknowledgements of future print runs of his three Bible Workbook volumes.

Photo - Issue - Man - Scooter - Flag

A photo at issue shows a man riding a motorized scooter with a flag pole flying the Confederate banner.

Jack Parks, a member of Diana Singing’s board of directors, said the Confederate flag is not associated with the singing. He said the man in the photo is riding in a small impromptu parade of decorated golf carts and ATVs that circled around a fire in the campground. It took place the night before the June 14-15 sing got underway.

Intent - Parks - Thursday - Interview - Nashville

“There was really no harmful intent to it,” Parks said Thursday in an interview with The Nashville Tennessean.

Those who participated in and watched the unplanned parade had arrived early to help...
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