A New Hampshire city's Ten Commandments monument will be the site of two flag raisings, each meant to represent the religious diversity of the community.
The City of Somersworth will have two flag-raising ceremonies next Monday at the Decalogue located near City Hall; one featuring an atheist flag while another to include a "peace flag" sponsored by Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders.
Somersworth City Manager Robert Belmore emailed a statement by Mayor Dana Hilliard to The Christian Post on Wednesday afternoon regarding the two events.
"Separated by the historic 10 Commandments Monument, representatives of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths will raise the Peace flag symbolizing the fact that despite the differences among their beliefs, all of us share a common bond with humanity," stated Mayor Hilliard.
"After the flag raising, members of the Freedom from Religion Organization will raise theirs on the other pole. On that afternoon, in the smallest City in the State of New Hampshire, Hilltoppers will symbolize to the nation how we embrace each other, honor differences, and practice the foundational values upon which this nation was created."
Hilliard went on to note in his statement that he considered Somersworth "the most open and embracing community in the State" and that as a Roman Catholic himself, he looked forward to "celebrating our common bond with humanity."
Known as "Citizens Place," the location of the Ten Commandments became a source of debate in 2016 when the monument was damaged by an unknown party and an effort was proposed to restore it.
As a compromise, the Somersworth City Council erected two flag poles on either side of the monument, which could be used to fly banners celebrating a diverse array of events and ideas.
"Flags that have been or will be raised this year include the flag of Indonesia, Pride Flag, Police Memorial flag, EMS flag, the Children Festival flag, the flag of the United Kingdom, the POW/MIA flag and the Peace Dove flag for the holidays," reported Fosters.com. "The New England Patriots flag was raised there in the days before the Super Bowl."
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which has campaigned to have the Decalogue removed from the traffic island, is sponsoring the atheist flag raising.
In a statement released Tuesday, FFRF explained that their flag will be raised "to honor freethinkers and the ratification of the Bill of Rights, which took place on Dec. 15, 1791." It will be on display Dec. 4-21.