GULFPORT -- A George County man has begun a protest in front of the Harrison County courthouse in Gulfport to stand up for "Christ and Christian beliefs."
Willie Harris, 73, of the Movella community came to the courthouse about noon Thursday. He stood there quietly holding a Christian flag until the courthouse closed.
Harris was protesting the American Humanist Association's announcement it will file a lawsuit against the county over its refusal to remove the Nativity scene from inside the courthouse.
The Washington-based organization had sent a letter to county officials last week requesting the display be removed.
The Harrison County Board of Supervisors voted Monday to keep the display, which is erected by county employees each year.
"They've got a right to express their Christian views on Christmas, so I'm out here doing the same thing for them, trying to help them out," said Harris, a part-time fisherman.
"It's time Christians stood up for what they believe in. You got 1 percent of the people trying to make Christians do away with their religion.
"It's the same thing ISIS is doing. They don't like our religion. Atheists are the same way."
Harris drove to Rowan County, Ky., in September to support Circuit Clerk Kim Davis after she refused to sign same-sex marriage licenses.
That was the first time he participated in any such protest.
Harris said he was "just one of 2,000" in that protest. "We need some more here, maybe tomorrow some are will show up. I don't know hopefully they will."
Harris said public comment on his protest has been "100 percent for." He said supporters have brought him potato chips and a chair to sit in.
He said there is "one person against it, and I'm one for it." He wonders if he will "get the same recognition" as the humanists.
Regina Zilbermints, Sun Herald reporter, contributed to this story